angel: flight and fight of faith

Of Jacob’s meeting with the angel, the Bible says only, “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” There is no hint here that the stranger was anything but fully human in appearance. But Christian artists were determined to show that the heavenly adversary was physically as well as spiritually , different from Jacob; so they furnished him with a pair of majestic wings, as in the thirteenth-century mosaic from the Basilica of Monreale in Sicily.

---Another Instalment in the Series of 12th Century New Roman Mosaics of the Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova di Monreale in Sicily.12th century » 01 Anonymous. St Jacob Wrestling with the Angel. Duomo di Monreale. Monreale (Sicily) (IT)---Read More:

Equally regal is the figure of Saint Michael the Archangel on the Byzantine icon below. It was brought to Venice by crusaders who pillaged Constantinople in 1204.

---As the western Roman Empire fell to the unceasing advances of barbarian hordes from beyond the Rhine and the Danube, Byzantium kept on the lights of Christendom and learning, retaining for us the laws, the highly developed medical practices, and the classical heritage of ancient Greece and Rome. They held off and delayed the advance of the Ottoman’s long enough to allow medieval Europe to emerge from the so-called dark ages as strong nation states that were able to stem the advance of Suleiman the Magnificent at Vienna in 1529. Most of all we can thank them for their art, which is so deeply spiritual and speaks to us, even now, now across the centuries.--- Read More:

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