Weigel Chapter 3

Below are Joanne's reflections on the third chapter of George Weigel's book Letters To a Young Catholic:

St Catherine’s Monastery
- A twin peaked mountain known as Jebel Musa, located at the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula was identified as Mt Sinai (~ 400 A.D).
- Following that discovery, hermitages were found on the northern slope of Jebel Musa.
- Justinian (Byzantine emperor) built a monastery on the northern slope and dedicated it to Mary and the commemoration of Christ’s transfiguration.
- The complex was renamed when the relics of St. Catherine of Alexandria were transported there
- St. Catherine’s is still a Christian community and contains great manuscripts that include the Codex Sinaiticus (earliest extant copy of the Greek Bible), and Codex Syriacus (fourth century translation of the Gospels in Syriac), as well as its famous icon Christos Pantokrator – Christ the All-Sovereign, Christ the Universal King.

St. Catherine's monastery

Christos Pantokrator
- Image of Christ with a golden halo clutching a jeweled Bible. This icon embodies the theme that “in Jesus Christ we meet both the truth of the merciful Father and the truth about our humanity.” p. 40

- Weigel states that icons, unlike paitings, are “written (not “painted”) by an iconographer, for whom his work is both a vocation (not merely a job) and a form of prayer.” p. 36
- Icons are not just for viewing; Christos Pantokrator was written so that “we meet Jesus Christ, the Lord.” p. 36
- Widespread destruction of icons (iconoclasms) occurred when some Christian thinkers strongly opposed the idea of painting and image of God. They believed that the image of God should be in the “rational soul”.
- “Christianity is a matter of truths enfleshed: God become man, and man deified” p. 39. One expresses feelings to the people and events depicted in the icon and not the icon itself.

The Holy Sepulcher
- The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is located where Jesus was crucified. Weigel states that it looks like a jumble of shrines.
- The Armenian Apostolic Church, Greek Orthodox Church, and Catholic Church, cooperate in the administration and church maintenance. But, sometimes “they argue for decades about which of them gets to fix the roof” p. 33.
- None of the squabbles matter when we realize that God searched for us and his Son saved us in the flesh.
- “He is the true measure of who we are. In his Holy Face, we meet the truth about ourselves, in the flesh” p. 50.

The aedicula on the tomb of Christ

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