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Posts tagged ‘Church history’

21. Statue of the holy burial

By Savannah Pine (@savannah_pine)

El Paso has two of the oldest Spanish missions in Texas. Both were founded in 1682 by Spanish Franciscans and converted Pueblos who fled Santa Fe for El Paso during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.[1] One of the missions, la Misión de San Antonio de Ysleta del Sur, is still in use today and the building, its objects, and its congregants, Tigua Pueblos, connect the past and the present.

One of these objects is el santo entierro Cristo en el sepulchro, the holy burial Christ in the tomb. The statue of Jesus is draped in purple, with nail holes in its hands and feet, and is meant to represent Christ lying in his tomb. Dating from 1722, it is the oldest statue in the Ysleta Mission. It was brought to El Paso from Mexico, ferried across the Rio Grande.[2] El santo entierro has been used for centuries, up to the present day, in the church’s Good Friday services.[3] The congregants process with the statue, starting in the main church, then through the neighbouring streets, before returning to the church itself. Each year when the congregants process with el santo entierro, they connect themselves, and the present, to all of the other people who have commemorated Christ’s death by using the exact same statue for nearly 300 years.

References:

  1. El Paso Mission Trail Association, ‘El Paso Mission Trail: Tourist Guide.’
  2. http://ysletamission.org/2017/06/29/the-saints
  3. Photos from the 2018 service – http://ysletamission.org/2018/03/31/good-friday-2018-photos/

Featured Image: El santo entierro Cristo en el sepulchro, author’s own.

Image in text: La Misión de San Antonio de Ysleta del Sur, author’s own.

24. The Stanwick Church Crucifixion

By Eleanor Warren (@elmwarren)

I was shown this sculpture by the local key-holder on a visit to Stanwick Church in 2014.[1] It was a surprise and a joy to see this sculpted stone, which was not on display but languishing in a cupboard in the church vestry.

The stone is the head of an early medieval cross, depicting an image of the crucifixion on one face, and interlaced foliage on the other. Christ’s arms end in three-fingered hands with the thumbs held apart, and a line across the left arm suggests he is robed. The centre of the cross is marked by a boss. Figural representations are the rarest surviving category of pre-Conquest sculpture, but the iconography is similar to a small group of other cross heads from Yorkshire and displays an Irish-Scandinavian influence. It is likely to date from the late ninth or early tenth century. The crude carving shows a low level of skill and a lack of iconographic knowledge from the sculptor, and this, alongside the number of surviving cross fragments found in Yorkshire, suggests that sculptures in this region were produced for secular patrons with varying degrees of wealth and education.[2]

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Healing History? The Reformation 500 years on

By Fred Smith | @Fred_E_Smith

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther (supposedly) nailed 95 criticisms of the Catholic Church to the door of a Wittenburg church. His actions, alongside those of many other ‘reformers’, helped catalyse events which would ultimately splinter Catholic Christendom into a myriad of diverse, often antagonistic, sects. Fast-forward 499 years, and there are signs that the wounds of the Reformation may, finally, be healing. Read more

From ‘liquid flesh’ to chocolate – a brief history of Easter Eggs

by Elly Barnett – @eleanorrbarnett

Elly is an MPhil student in Early Modern History. Her current research focusses on the links between food and the English Reformation.

For most of us, the long Easter weekend was filled with family, drink, and an excessive amount of chocolate. Of course, Easter Sunday is the principal Christian feast in the liturgical calendar, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Recent historians of the medieval and early modern period have recognised that religious identity is linked to the physical self rather than just the intellectual mind, involving taste, smell and touch.[1] With that last piece of chocolate egg remaining, then, I offer some thoughts on the history of Easter eggs in England and their importance to the religious experience of medieval and early-modern Christians. Read more

Academic conferences – why do we go?

by Joan Redmond

A few weekends ago, I found myself in sunny Bristol, sitting in the back seat of a very gruff taxi-driver’s cab on my way to Trinity College. Why, you ask? I was bound for the Ecclesiastical History Society Postgraduate Colloquium, an annual event that brings together postgraduates working on all aspects of church history.

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