Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Anastasis Fresco

We had our Easter Week seminary-eucharist today, Wednesday being our normal all-seminary eucharistic gathering day. The image on the bulletin cover, which Katherine Grieb also commented upon in her sermon, was the celebrated 14th century Byzantine fresco from Saint-Saviour-in-Chora, Istanbul, entitled Anastasis / Resurrection.

The image is extremely rich, but here are few of the observations that I have begun to pick up about it. There is a strong sense of the defeat of death and sin, symbolized in part by the broken doors of Hades under Christ's feet and by all the locks and keys of Hades that lie scattered across the bottom of the image. Interestingly, though, Adam and Eve seem unaware of their new freedom, and need to be actively pulled by Christ out of their tombs. They do not grab hold of him at all, but have Christ pulling them by their wrists up and into his presence. This is a very moving emphasis on Christ's dynamic initiative in our salvation. The prerogative and action are all on Jesus' side. Jesus is pulling them, yanking them, upward, out of the enslavement of sin and death, into life, even into the divine life of the Trinity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dr Cook! When Adele & I were on the St George's Turkey pilgrimage in 2008 - the frescos were amazing. We took (it seemed like) thousands of pictures. This image reminded me of that wonderful trip that ended in Istanbul. What a city! Easter Peace - Chuck

Fri Apr 16, 10:04:00 AM GMT-5  

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