2. Iconography of Initiation
2.1. The Rite of Baptism
2.1.1. Iconography of The Baptism of Christ (Matthew 3:13–17; Mark 1:10–11; Luke 3:21–22)
no water [was] to be found in that spot… the saint turned aside to the nearest rock, where he knelt and prayed a little while. When he stood up, he blessed the face of the rock, and at once water bubbled out from it…
God, you who made Adam from the mud of the land, and when that man sinned in paradise, you did not consider that a sin of death, but you saw fit to restore him in sanctity through your own blood, and you will restore glorious Jerusalem.
(deus, qui adam de limo terrae fecisti, et ille in paradiso peccauit, et illum peccatum mortis non reputasti, sed per per sanguinem unigeniti tui recuperare digneris et in sancta, hirusalem glorientem reducis).Warren 1881, p. 207; trans.: Author
2.1.2. Iconography of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 8:1–11)
the dove, which carried the branch of the olive tree after the flood through the open window into the ark, that when the Lord was baptized in the Jordan the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove upon him.
It thus enabled the scene to be understood as a typological baptismal rebirth that included those in the ark: the faithful (Norberg 1982, pp. 914–17 Book XI, Letter 28).(Potest in columba, quae aperta post diluvium fenestra ramum olivae intulit in arcam, etiam hoc praefiguratum intelligi, quod, baptizato Domino in Jordane, aperti sunt coeli, et descendit Spiritibus sanctus in specie columbae super eum).
For the bough of an olive tree, found outside and brought into the ark in the mouth of the dove, is the type of those who receive baptism indeed outside of the Church, but are fruitful with an abundance of charity and morally upright with pious devotion as if with the greenness of leaves.
Perhaps in fashioning the ark as a contemporary ship those responsible for the depictions on the crosses were indicating that the recent (Viking) invaders of the island presented an opportunity to undertake conversion and baptism. If the olive branch was, as Tertullian put it at a very early date, ‘a token which is held out even among the heathen as a harbinger of peace’ (mundi pacem caelestis irae praeco columba terries adnuntiavit dimissa ex arca et cum olea reversa; Oehler 1853, pp. 627–8; trans. Souter 1919, p. 56), then the inclusion of the dove—a symbol of the Holy Spirit present also at the Baptism—with the olive branch approaching the Viking-type ark/ship is a powerful statement of intent.(Ramus enim olivae foris inventus et ore columbae in arcam illatus typum gerit eorum qui extra Ecclesiam quidem baptisma percipiunt, sed pinguedine charitatis fructuosi, et pia intentione velut foliorum sunt viriditate integri).
2.2. The Rite of Ordination
Iconography of The Three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace (Daniel 3:19–28)
Conflicts of Interest
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