Madonna illumina l'altare di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Assisi
"Madonna illuminates the altar of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Assisi"...
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is the church dedicated to Mary which was built over a Roman temple to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. Parts of the Roman temple which dates from the time of Augustus (63 BC-AD 14) still remain. As Christianity became official in the Roman Empire, the Temple became abandoned. Benedictine monks restored the temple and eventually, the Italian Renaissance inspired a new found appreciation for classical art and architecture. In 1539, Pope Paolo III ordered the Temple of Minerva to be completely restored and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, queen of true wisdom. The temple then took the name of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. The six imposing Corinthian columns and the entire Roman façade are still intact after 2,000 years along with the towering Campanile. As the center of ancient Assisi, and still prominent today… this former Temple and now sacred church seems to be at the heart of existence of Assisi. Additionally, the famous artist Giotto painted frescos of the life of Saint Francis which adorn the walls of the Saint’s Basilica including images of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Ironically, Giotto’s placing of St. Francis in the local scenery was the first of its kind, thus the beginning of the Renaissance. In 1791 it was consecrated on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady. And, after the Apparition of Our Lady as the Immaculate Conception seen by St. Bernadette which took place in Lourdes, France…this statue of the Virgin Mary was erected in the hollowed earth behind the altar. As I hiked the steep grade upward to the top of Assisi, a respite seemed to arise from the ancient Roman era and took me back in time. The imposing columns gave way from the ancient exterior progressing inside discovering the serene and peaceful Virgin Mary, Queen of True Wisdom.
- Dino Carbetta
- Image Size
- 3839x5828 / 149.1MB
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