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The Virgin Blachernitissa of Barghoun (Lebanon). Image of the Altar or the Priest Exposing the Host

Abstract : The thirteenth-century Blachernitissa of Barghoun, symbolizing the Incarnation and the Church, has often been interpreted as a privileged mediator and, by extension, as Ecclesia interceding in behalf of the people. The image could have both devotional and cultural dimensions, or even liturgical implications, as well as other functions. The standing Virgin with the medallion of the Child on her maphorion making a gesture of prayer seems to have a liturgical meaning. The exegetical, liturgical, and hymnographic traditions give Mary a liturgical dimension, in which she is seen as representing the celebrating priest, the altar, or sacred objects. Dominating the high altar, the Virgin's praying gesture could evoke the gesture of the officiating priest presenting the great mystery. Moreover, the medallion of the Child seems to evoke the host. In numerous examples, deacon-angels incense the medallion just as they do the Eucharistic Species placed on the altar or held between the Virgin's hands in a gesture similar to that of the priest exposing the sacred Species. In these examples, the figure of the Virgin appears as an image of the altar or of the priest exposing the host during the consecration. At Barghoun, the gestures and postures of the angels approaching the Virgin recall those of the Communion, as prescribed by the Fathers. The angels seem to be preparing to take the Child-host as deacons of the Virgin altar-priest.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 6, 2020 - 1:43:43 PM
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Rafca Youssef Nasr. The Virgin Blachernitissa of Barghoun (Lebanon). Image of the Altar or the Priest Exposing the Host. Convivium, Brepols, Masarykova univerzita, Université de Lausanne, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 2018, Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean, 5 (2), pp.98-113. ⟨10.1484/J.CONVI.4.2019008⟩. ⟨halshs-02890513⟩



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