Ravenna, Italy: Basilica of San Vitale: Detail of Abel and Melchizedek

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Sheppard, Beth M.
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5/22/2017
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Italy , Ravenna , Basilica San Vitale , Presbytery , Lunettes , Byzantine Art , Mosaics , Abel in Art , Melchizedek in Art , Seal of Melchizedek in Art
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Detail of a mosaic in the right lunette of the Presbytery, Basilica San Vitale (Basilica of St. Vitale; Church of Saint Vitale) in Ravenna, Italy. This art depicts the sacrifices of Abel (on the left, offering a lamb) and Melchizedek (on the right, offering bread). According to https://www.templestudy.com/2008/09/09/the-seal-of-melchizedek-part-2/: "Behind Abel is an Adamic-type sanctuary, and behind Melchizedek is the temple of Jerusalem. The hand of God again is seen coming down through the clouds to accept the offering." The altar cloth has an 8-pointed star which contains two interlocking squares and concentric circles. This is known as the "seal of Melchizedek." According to https://www.pilgrimtothepast.com/post/they-gave-at-the-office-sacrifice-gifts-and-public-relations-in-ravenna-mosaics: "The ulterior motive of pairing up Abel and Melchizidek in San Vitale is to refute the Arian heresy--Abel and Melchizedek's actions are combined to symbolize the human and divine aspects of Christ. The Arians subordinated Christ in the Trinity, and didn't acknowledge his human aspect. The Basilica of San Vitale probably administered many sermons getting this orthodox, imperially-supported message across."
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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