Pilgrims who visited the Holy Land between the IV and VII century

SOPHRONIUS OF JERUSALEM (ca. 600 A.D.)
The Nativity in the Lateran Reliquarium (6th century A.D.)

The Birth of Jesus is depicted on the painted cover of the Lateran Reliquarium in full accordance with Byzantine iconographic tradition. In this representation a good deal of biblical passages are implicitly referred to by the artist. The Virgin Mary has just delivered her Child (Luke 2:7) and now rests on a large mattress. The babe, laying in the manger is wrapped in swaddling cloths (Luke 2:7). An ox and an ass are shown here behind the Infant (Is 1:3) while the messianic star shines at the top of the grotto (Num 24:17; Matt 2:9). St. Joseph is sitting nearby in a vigilant sleep, probably having the second of his two famous dreams (Matt. 1:24; Matt. 2:13).

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Project, design, research and realization carried out by Eugenio Alliata ofm,
assistant professor of Christian Archaeology at SBF-Jerusalem.
Updated Thu, Dec 9, 1999 at 04:59 by John Abela ofm - Space by courtesy of Christus Rex
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