Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Art - Saint John Chrysostom and the Empress Eudoxia

"Seldom in the history of painting is one's field of vision restricted to the back of the protagonist. But here the artist wants us to engage with the primary subject of the painting, Saint John Chrysostom, in the act of doing what he did best, preaching.

Chysostom means "golden tongued."  The saint was considered to be the greatest preacher of the early Church...However, as the patriarch of Constantinople he was also drawn into the politics of the imperial court of Byzantium, and this forced him to preach on the loose morals of the powerful aristocrats whom he felt neglected their duties to the poor...One of the greatest objects of his disdain was the ambitious Empress Eudoxia...

Here in this painting by Jean-Paul Laurens, the empress stands regally and haughtily in the tribune of the Hagia Sophia while the patriarch levels a blistering sermon against her...

In a visually stunning and yet simple composition, the artist shows the power of the church clashing with that of the State.  And even though the office of patriarch was revered and influential, it could not always withstand the undertow of intrigue that perpetually plagued the Byzantine court.  John was exiled, not just once but twice.  It was on the second banishment that his frail body, weakened as it was by his harsh ascetic practices, finally collapsed.  He died uttering his last phrase:  "Glory be to God in all things."" (Excerpt by Father Michael Morris, O.P., from Magnificat Magazine October 2010)

For devotional items related to the Catholic Faith please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures 
Saint John Chrysostom and the Empress Eudoxia by Jean-Paul Laurens (Magnificat Magazine, October 2010)

No comments:

Post a Comment