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This fresco in Chora Church in Istanbul, Turkey depicts Jesus presenting himself to Adam and Eve and others who died before him, pulling them from their graves.  This event is referenced in 1 Peter 3:18 - 20; 4:6 and Ephesians 4:9.  In English, the fresco is called the Harrowing of Hell.  In Greek, it is called the Resurrection.  This fresco reminds us that Jesus pursued in love all those who died before him, because he is victorious over sin and death on our behalf. The resurrection of Jesus was portrayed in this way starting around the 6th century. An early Christian song proclaims: “Christ is raised from the dead, by death conquering death” (Troparion of Pascha).  Photo credit: Gunnar Bach Pedersen, Wikimedia Commons; cropped.

This is a traditional Ethiopian cross. Christian faith reached Ethiopia probably through a court official narrated in Acts 8, building upon the Judaic faith already present there - which came with the Queen of Sheba, according to tradition. Circa 330 AD, Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt, ordained Frumentius to be Aba Salama, the first Abuna of the Ethiopian Church.

This is the south dome in Chora Church, a Greek Byzantine church, now a museum. It represents the genealogy of Jesus surrounding a mosaic of Christ Pantocrator. Photo credit: Creative Commons.

This copper and silver candlestick holder was made by Dawud ibn Salama al-Mawsili in Syria in 1248/9 under the Muslim Ayyubid dynasty.  Although the decorative style is typical of Islamic art, there are scenes from the life of Jesus: the Baptism, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Wedding at Cana. It was featured in a collection of beautiful Asian Christian art.  It may have been a gift from a Syrian Christian to the Muslim Ayyubid sultan.  The candlestick holder reminds us of the Christian vocation of bearing light to others, even when the larger culture is not Christian, by bringing cultural forms of beauty into dialogue with Jesus.  See Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore video.  Photo credit:  Fabos, Wikimedia Commons.

This is a mosaic of Jesus from the basilica Santi Cosma e Damiano in Rome, which was converted from pagan to Christian use in 527 AD.  Jesus was probably dark-haired and dark-skinned, as reflected here. 

This is the interior of the oldest Syrian Orthodox monastery, Mor Gabriel, in southeastern Turkey.  It was founded in 397 AD, and continues amidst gardens and orchards.  Photo credit:  Ugur Ozden, all rights reserved, used with permission.


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