Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, also known as the Decollation of Saint John the Baptist or the Beheading of the Forerunner, is a holy day observed by various Christian churches that follow liturgical traditions. The day commemorates the martyrdom by beheading of Saint John the Baptist on the orders of Herod Antipas through the vengeful request of his step-daughter Salome and her mother.
On August 29, 2012, during a televised public audience at the summer palace of Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI mentioned the dedication of a crypt in Sebaste, Samaria, where the head of the Baptist had been venerated since the middle of the fourth century. In addition, the Pontiff also noted that the religious feast particularly commemorates the transfer of this relic now enshrined in the Basilica of San Silvestro in Capite in Rome." Wikipedia
St. John the Baptist in Art. An Orthodox Icon.
I "discovered" an impressive assortment of Russian icons, once the property of the Queen Marie of Romania, now reverentially situated within the confines of an obscure and a bit quirky but grand museum situated along the Columbia River Valley Trail and in what seems like the middle of nowhere USA.
The queen, discerning that her reign in Romania and it's traditional royal monarchy was at an end, had the foresight to dispense of many personal treasures. An impressive selection of Romanian royal artifacts were transported to Maryhill, and like I noted before, to the middle of nowhere...
Somewhere in this personal story of an earthly Queen dispossessed, we can find a comparison with St John the Baptist, however his role was infinitely greater than hers.
Queen Marie's symbol it seems, was the crown of thorns and thorn vines. You see it carved all over her bedroom furniture and decoration. How did she live out her royal call? Was it to suffer? Was she a loyal and striving Christian leader or superficial? Others have addressed these questions, no doubt. I do know that St. John the Baptist was faithful to the end.
It was remarkable to read how one of Queen Marie's daughters eventually entered an Orthodox Monastery to lead an admirable life of prayer and penance.
Featured today is an icon from the Maryhill Museum, Gift of Queen Marie:
The Maryhill Museum
A quick search online should get you to Maryhill.
The Maryhill Museum keeps a truly eclectic and one-of-a-kind collection of artworks, memorabilia, fashion novelties and ancient artifacts; too numerous and assorted to list here.
The Beauty of Creation
Like Sam Hill, the first owner and later, museum founder, I was awestruck by the serenity and peacefulness of this location which overlooks the Columbia River Valley wilderness for miles without end.
Given the large collection of chess sets on exhibit, one can easily imagine that chess might have been a favorite way to spend an afternoon on the once private estate. Today, the public can do the same.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
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Christine M. (CM) Jentz.
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“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (St. André Bessette)