Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Survivior of English Iconoclasm: The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Guardian features a story about an English alabaster statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, carved in perhaps 1350 in the Midlands of England:

Somehow the statue escaped the wholesale wrecking of religious artefacts in churches and cathedrals during the Protestant Reformation of the mid-1500s to travel across the Channel. De Beer and his colleagues speculated that it might have been bought by a wealthy foreigner long before the threat of destruction to religious icons that came with the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. Alternatively it could have been smuggled out later, as the danger to religious works became clear.

Much of its early life was spent in seclusion at a monastery in St-Truiden, Belgium. There it avoided the violence of the French Revolution, when many religious icons were also destroyed.

If the dating is correct, King Edward III was on the throne when this precious statue was created. England was still recovering from the Black Death and still fighting for territories in France in the One Hundred Years War.

You will, of course, have to go to the website to see the pictures of the statue! Thanks to a facebook friend for sharing this story.

O blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England thy "Dowry" and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.

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