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Bill Thayer

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An Island of Quiet on the Caelian Hill

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The best art in the church is not the modern painting over the altar, but probably the architectural ornament, which looks 18c to me, although I have no actual information on it. Here at any rate is a better view of two of the Corinthian capitals:

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The blue and red cross on the altar table is the heraldic badge of the Trinitarian Order, worn on their habit since the 12c; if you looked carefully, you noticed it in the mosaic on the homepage. To expand slightly on an attractive symbolic explanation current a few centuries later, as given on the order's website:

• White signifies the Father, the ground of all being.

• Blue is for the Son, horizontal in his contact with earth: laid in the manger and in the tomb.

• Red is for the Holy Spirit, the vertical force of heaven, that descended on the Virgin before Jesus's birth, and on the apostles after his death.

The badge appears again, as a complete coat of arms, on the ceiling of the church. The closed imperial crown must surely refer to God's dominion; the chains and the shackles are those of the slaves the order was founded to free.

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Page updated: 9 Jun 03