Judith is blessed

07 Dec

Matthäus Guenther, “Judith shows the head of Holofernes to the Jewish people,” 1702-1707, Wilten Church, Innsbruck, Austria

The ceiling of the Wilton Basilica in Innsbruck is dedicated to St.Mary as intercessor for humanity and to Judith, her precursor.   St. Mary resides illuminated in the heavens, while Judith displays Holofernes’ head on the wall of Bethulia.   Both adored by throngs of people for their beneficence.

There are surely many stories woven into this huge fresco.   On the left, there is the tent of Holofernes with his decapitated body and the army running the other way.   In the lower left corner is that happy child again, clapping his hands.   Meanwhile on the right side, someone from heaven is smiting a dragon.   I would say St. George since he is the patron saint of Tyrol.  Oh, and do not forget God sitting in the upper right corner.

I did attempt to translate the inscriptions, but my Latin is horrible and my eyesight is worse when it comes to reading from this image.   If anyone wants to try a translation, it would be much appreciated.   I got as far as “I am the Lord did not allow … Crush the head of your …”

If this were Wheel of Fortune, I would guess “… you to be conquered” and ” … enemy.”

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Book of Judith, Chapter 13

17 Then all the people were wonderfully astonished, and bowed themselves and worshipped God, and said with one accord, Blessed be thou, O our God, which hast this day brought to nought the enemies of thy people.
18 Then said Ozias unto her, O daughter, blessed art thou of the most high God above all the women upon the earth; and blessed be the Lord God, which hath created the heavens and the earth, which hath directed thee to the cutting off of the head of the chief of our enemies.
19 For this thy confidence shall not depart from the heart of men, which remember the power of God for ever.
20 And God turn these things to thee for a perpetual praise, to visit thee in good things because thou hast not spared thy life for the affliction of our nation, but hast revenged our ruin, walking a straight way before our God. And all the people said; So be it, so be it.

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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Glory


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