Sunday, January 06, 2008

Nativity Scenes

On this Feast of the Epiphany, the 12 Days of Christmas come to an end. On this note, I would like to end the festive postings of this season by highlighting some Nativity Scenes.

First up, something close to home, the Crèche at casa Andrew. These are archival photos of where it is stored outside the season, in an old bookcase with my grandparent's books.


It's a beautifully produced and wonderfully detailed porcelain set. Comes with the 3 Magi, a donkey, a cow, a shepherd and an angel, besides the Holy Family.


I would particularly like to highlight the realism of the cow and donkey. Wow... =)




What follows are images of the Christmas Crib at my parish. Mark, Angela and myself got together to do the arrangements within the constraints set by the asst. parish priest who decided the location.


The Christ Child is particularly beautiful.


The Nativity Scene was set up at the base of our Sanctuary, towards the right, where is is more approachable compared to the higher location of the crib last year.

Last year, above.



After his return to Italy from a voyage to Egypt and Acre in 1220, St. Francis of Assisi introduced three-dimensional nativity scenes. Some accounts state he used statues or costumed people, but Thomas of Celano, the biographer of Francis tells how he only used a straw-filled manger (feeding trough) set between a real ox and donkey. According to Thomas, it was beautiful in its simplicity with the manger acting as the altar for the Christmas Mass. Francis's first biographer, Brother Tommaso da Celano, says that Francis was merely emulating what he had seen elsewhere in previous years when, in 1223, he asked his friend Giovanni Velita, a nobleman from the nearby town of Greccio, to construct a nativity scene in a cave near the town of Greccio, for a Christmas Eve mass at which Francis preached.



The Vatican apparently has a number of cribs set up. Here's the main one, out in the square in front of the Obelisk.

It's larger than life.

His Holiness is seen here, praying before the Crib.

There are several other cribs as well.

Within the Vatican basilica, above.

Above, somewhere in the square. In the Paul VI Hall, below and another one. The Pope always seems to be spending time in contemplation and prayer before the manger.

For more images of cribs in the Churches of Penang, click here.

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