The Heart of the Black Madonna

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Ongoing War in Syria

An 11th Century Mural in a Syriac Monastery in Syria


If you are like me, you either ignore or watch in horror the unfolding events in Syria. 

When we consider the themes that surround the Black Madonna, one is that if any artist is associated with creating these works of art, they are attributed to St Luke the Evangelist. He is considered the artist that created the Black Madonna's of Częstochowa in Poland





                    and Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain



St. Luke the Evangelist when represented in art is usually portrayed with a Bull, with a book and painting the virgin.





St Luke the Evangelist was a native of Antioch which was then in the ancient kingdom of Syria. Antioch is now in modern Turkey. It is unclear if Luke actually met Christ Jesus when he was on earth, but we know that Luke accompanied Paul on several of his mission journeys, and that Luke did witness the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus.

Icon of the Mother of God at the Our Lady of Saidnaya Monastery in Syria, 
8th Century originally from Jerusalem.

There are many ways to look at the symbolism of The Evangelist Luke and the Black Madonna. I discuss this at length in my book The Black Madonna: Journey of the Human Heart http://igg.me/p/434709/x/3595911 This morning I read an inspiring post from The Cristian Community website. One of the Priests of the Pennsylvania Congregation near Philadelphia is originally from Syria. Rev Nora Minassian wrote a passionate essay on the strife in Syria. She writes

Life amazingly still goes on in Syria. Those who are living there do not say much about what really goes on. Yet, they go on living their lives. When there is food, they eat. When there is connection, they connect. When there is water, they drink. What keeps them going? What gives them strength to live? Not the sides, nor the walls, not the governments, nor the media, not the rebels, nor the money nor the lack of it. It is what goes beyond the sides and the walls and the bombs. It is the activity of asking, speaking and listening to each other. It is the courage in them to have a dialog with each other. For what is a dialog? It is going through the Logos, through the Word, experiencing the Word and allowing the Word to reveal itself. By revealing itself, it also reveals what lives in us, the enemy in us and the friend in us. Through Dialog, we are seeking the truth. Dialog opens the possibility to seek the truth. How would it be if everyone puts down the gun and starts having a dialog with each other? How would it be if those who are making decisions talk with each other? Dialog opens the door to move from being a foe to becoming a friend. Dialog has the power to turn war into peace

You can find the entire article here

 http://www.thechristiancommunity.org/blog/living-in-the-midst-of-a-battleground-the-war-in-syria/

St. Luke was from ancient Syria, he experienced the living etheric risen Christ both in his own experience and from St. Paul's experience in Damascus. Luke's Gospel is seen in many lights, one that I think has the most significance in terms of our Christian journey is that this Gospel is considered to be one long journey to Jerusalem. The journey of Christ towards Jerusalem in many ways is a guide for us as humans. The journey of Life, of the Human Heart is one of trials, of betrayal, of Crucifixion and Death, but ultimately of Resurrection. The scarred and stern faces of the Black Madonna's I feel are a reflection of this journey to Jerusalem. A recognition of personal pain and suffering, but an agony with purpose. We agonize in pain and confusion, but ultimately we journey towards a union with the Divine.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer unimaginable torments within this war inside of Syria. Let us pray for their strength, that they can feel our love and support for their suffering, and if need be, let us welcome them as refugees within our communities. But most of all, let us pray that through this agony, the Light that binds us all to one another can show through, as Rev Minassian so eloquently states: 

It is the courage in them to have a dialog with each other. For what is a dialog? It is going through the Logos, through the Word, experiencing the Word and allowing the Word to reveal itself. By revealing itself, it also reveals what lives in us, the enemy in us and the friend in us. Through Dialog, we are seeking the truth. Dialog opens the possibility to seek the truth.