Images of St. Paul

In working on Trinitytide: The Teaching Season I realized that readings from St. Paul’s work occupy 80+% of all the Epistle/For the Epistle readings for Trinity Season.  My inventory of historical images had only 4 or 5 representations of St. Paul and I had often fallen back to Andrei Rublev’s tempera and silver on panel unfinished icon, which dates to the 1st decade of the 15th C.   The search for more images took me through a lot of terrible art but, in the end, I found about 15 additional images of the prolific Evangelist to the Gentiles and who is often substituted for Matthias in imagery of the Twelve. especially in the Eastern Church tradition.

dreamstime_l_43347360-Paul-PCA
St.Paul, 11th C. mosaic at Chora Church (Church of the Holy Savior), Istanbul, Turkey, now a museum.  Image copyright Andrey Andronov|Dreamstime.com).  Perspective correction applied.

Not wanting to give away too much, I have included here only one of the new impressions.  As Trinity season progresses, and I release more episodes in the Trinitytide series, all 15 of the new images will appear in slides.

In the example at left the 11th C. artist captured three historical understandings about images of St. Paul:  receding hair line, full bear, intense facial expression.   He hold a book, representing either the Gospels or, more likely, the Pauline Epistles.  Since this is a Byzantine image and not one from the Western Church tradition, he does not hold an object which symbolizes the manner of his martyrdom.  In nearly all Western Church icon, painting, mosaic or statue  St. Paul holds a sword or a broken sword.  I applied perspective correction to the original image to make it more closely resemble the frontal view of the same mosaic by another photographer.  Apologies to the Dreamstime photographer.  As always, I am impressed by the way the Byzantine mosaic-maker managed to give the sense of flowing robes with lapis blue and the suggestion of indirect light.  Based on the colors and the pose, I wonder whether this mosaic was the inspiration for Rublev’s unfinished work.  Perhaps, but perhaps not, since other sources date the mosaic to a later century, before the Moslem conquest of Constantinople.

Next week I will upload Episode Four in the series, which covers the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Sundays after Trinity, plus three more of the eleven Trinitarian hymns in the AIC Bookstore publication, The St. Chrysostom Hymnal.  To learn more about the Hymnal, visit my Amazon Author Central page.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.

May the Lord bless you in all that you do in His Name!  Amen!  Glory be to God for all things!  Amen!

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Anglican Internet Church

Fr. Shibley retired from pulpit ministry at Epiphany A.D. 2014. Since then he devotes his spare time to this online ministry producing videos, podcasts and books explaining traditional Christian theology and liturgy in layman's language with a minimum of technical or theological terms, and making them available either free or at reasonable cost.

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