Artwork and Credits
Top: This fresco is called Anástasis in Greek, and the Harrowing of Hell in English, from Chora Church in Istanbul, Turkey. Jesus presents himself to all who died before him, pulling Adam and Eve from their graves. This event is referenced in 1 Peter 3:18 - 20; 4:6 and Ephesians 4:9, demonstrating that Jesus pursued in love all those who died before him, because he is victorious over sin and death on our behalf. The resurrection of Jesus was portrayed in this way starting around the 6th century. An early Christian song proclaims: “Christ is raised from the dead, by death conquering death” (Troparion of Pascha). Photo credit: Gunnar Bach Pedersen | Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.
Middle: Traditional Ethiopian cross. Christian faith reached Ethiopia possibly through a court official narrated in Acts 8, building upon the Judaic faith already present there, which came with the Queen of Sheba, according to tradition. Circa 330 AD, Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt, ordained Frumentius to be Aba Salama, the first Abuna of the Ethiopian Church. Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum | CC.3.0, Wikimedia Commons.
Bottom: This copper and silver candlestick holder was made by Dawud ibn Salama al-Mawsili in Syria in 1248/9 under the Muslim Ayyubid dynasty. Although the decorative style is typical of Islamic art, there are scenes from the life of Jesus: the Baptism, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Wedding at Cana. It was featured in a collection of beautiful Asian Christian art. It may have been a gift from a Syrian Christian to the Muslim Ayyubid sultan. The candlestick holder reminds us of the Christian vocation of bearing light to others, even when the larger culture is not Christian, especially by bringing cultural forms of beauty into dialogue with Jesus. Photo credit: Fabos | Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.