Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Over the Easter season, Praxiteles could not help but notice the many curiosties and eccentricities currently passed off in the fashionable “liturgical” salons as “depictions of the Crucifixion”. On more than one occasion, it was explained to Praxiteles that these latest compositions representa a re-connection with the tradition of Irish representations of the Crucifixion which, in turn, we are expected to believe derives from a genuinely home made “spirituality” found no where else on the face of the globe – and, presumably, a qualifier for the EEC’s equivilant of a protected DOC “spiritual” product. While this will pass off easily with the gullibe and with those commercially interested in the Irish spirituality industry, a more critical examination of the evidence is required so that we can see what we are dealing with. Thus, Praxiteles has been busy assembling some representation of the Crucifixion which are undoubtedly the product of early Irish Christianity and the results are really quite striking both in terms of images of the Crucifixion and the wide range of sources inspiring those images which take us well beyond the shores of the island. For just as the inspiration for much of Cormac chapel is to be found in Germany or in England, so too the inspiration for many of the sources of our earliest representations of the Crucifixion derive from Europe and Byzantium.

The first example we produce is taken fom the St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Codex Sangallensis 51 which is a Parchment of 268 pp. measuring 29.5 x 22.5 cm and produced in Ireland about 750. It is regarded as one of the earliest extant Irish depictions of the Crucifixion. The Crucifixion image is to be found on foglio 266 of Codex 51.

It is an Evangeliarium containing the texts of the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John divided into the abstracts which would have been used for Mass on particular dyas.. It is illustrated illustrated with 12 decorated pages. It was written in insular Semiuncial and illuminated by Irish monks in Ireland around the mid 8th century.

The link to the digitilized image can be found here:

It is interesting to note that the text of the Gospel contained in the Codex Sang. 51 is a mixed text which is drawn from the Vetus Itala and from the Vulgate. The former, a translation of the Greek Septuaginta, is the oldest Latin version to come down to us and is dated to around 157 AD, the latter is St. Jerome’s revision of the text according to the Alexandrine Septuaginta which he was commissioned to do by Pope St Damasus and which dates from circa 383-388. Fromthis fact, we can make the inference, with some security, that the monks who transcribed the text had access both to the Vetus Itala and to the Vulgate of St. Jerome.

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