Art and Faith, Too

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Oratorio di San Pellegrino. Bominaco (Italy). 8th century




Much unmitigated rubbish has been written on the “early church“, both by ecumaniacs and by starry-eyed Anglo-Saxon Orthodox converts. I would observe that there were always serious differences between the Church headed by the Bishop of Rome and Patriarch of the West and the other contemporary Local Churches. Indeed, they were as often out of communion as they were in communion (1054, in fact, was an attempt at reconciliation gone horridly wrong). That being said, there was a common artistic inheritance that stood until the so-called Renaissance. It was a real legacy from Classical antiquity, not the self-conscious imitation that arose in the courts of the Medici princes and the Borgia popes. THAT was the date of the definitive break between the Church and the Roman confession. The vase is smashed… even if it were to be glued back together again, somehow, it would not be the same. That’s the reality that we live with… mistrust all who believe that we can “recapture” the “early church”… we can’t, it’s gone, and that’s all that there is to say on the matter. Nonetheless, goodwill across the border is possible, and we should reach for that. It’s something attainable, after all…


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