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Christo Gloria in Ecclesia

mitsui_christo_gloria

Drawing by Daniel Mitsui
Editor’s note: It is just as we go to press that we have learned of the death of Cardinal George. Although we selected this cover image several weeks ago, it seems an especially fitting tribute to him to publish it on the cover of the Adoremus Bulletin in this issue.

From the artist: This is an ink drawing on a 63/4” × 63/4” piece of calfskin vellum. I drew it using calligraphers’ inks applied with dip pens and brushes.

The original was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Chicago as a gift for Francis Cardinal George on the occasion of his golden jubilee of ordination to the priesthood. It is a visual elaboration of his episcopal motto, Christo Gloria in Ecclesia (To Christ be the Glory in the Church).

I wrote the motto in red ink in the border surrounding the drawing. The Biblical verse by which it was inspired, Hebrews 13:20, follows in black ink, as does Hebrews 13:21 written in smaller letters. Saint John Chrysostom’s commentary on these verses associates them with the Resurrection, so I used this as the central image of my drawing. I based the composition on a panel in a late 14th-century altarpiece from the Church of St. Giles in Wittingau. Other details were inspired by panels painted by Hans Memling and Hans Multscher.

Christ steps from the open tomb with His right foot and raises His right hand in blessing; the right hand of Christ, in medieval art, represents divine mercy. As in most medieval depictions of the Resurrection, two chronologically distinct events (Christ’s rising from the tomb and the stone’s removal) are shown together; this was traditionally done to emphasize the stone’s signification of the Old Testament.

I included three Old Testament prefigurements that appear alongside the Resurrection in the Speculum Humane Salvationis, a popular typological encyclopedia of the late Middle Ages. Following a widespread traditional belief, I drew Jonah emerging from the whale bald and naked. The whale’s appearance I based on early woodcuts of sea monsters. The upper left miniature illustrates the stone that the builders rejected being made the cornerstone. The lower right miniature depicts Samson carrying off the gates of Gaza.

In the lower left side of the drawing I drew the personal arms of Francis Cardinal George. Nearby are the arms of the diocese of Yakima and the archdioceses of Portland and Chicago. I also included the personal arms of Bishop Raymond Peter Hillinger, who ordained George a priest; and Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, who ordained him a bishop. The decoration surrounding these elements is composed of passion vines. These vines have flowers whose parts resemble the Crown of Thorns, the Holy Nails, and the Five Wounds.