Friday, March 25, 2011

The delightful church of Bourg des Saintes

The Church of Bourg des Saintes
In Bourg des Saintes, Iles des Saintes, just off Rue du Marigot, stands a delightful little church, with a modest steeple that still hovers like a beacon over the town and doors wide open. Inside rules an atmosphere of Caribbean ease. There seems to be an emphasis on the humanity of Christ in this church, and more specifically on the humanity of His earthly parents and the humanity of their little family.

Salt of the earth; light of the world
The main altar of the church of Bourg des Saintes

The face of the main altar is as modest as the rest of the church, and features a crucifixion and the words “Salt of the Earth; Light of the World.” To the right of Jesus on the cross is painted what seems an angel. Elsewhere in the church stands a statue of that same person:

Saint George / Saint Michael in the church of Bourg des Saintes

An image of someone killing a dragon is often depicting either St George or St Michael. George is often shown piercing the dragon with a lance. He also usually carries the Georgian symbol of a red cross on a white field, or at least some obvious combination of these colors. And he’s most often seated on a white horse. Michael doesn’t need a horse because being an archangel, he has wings to get around by. We don’t know how it got the better of the dragon; all we know is that he fought him. There are three Michaelean battles recorded in the Bible; two of which are with satan. Once Michael expels him from heaven (Revelation 12:7-12) and once he argues with him over the body of Moses (Jude:9). But in both accounts he doesn’t kill him or run a lance down the dragon’s throat. The statue of the dragon-slayer in the church of Bourg des Saintes has the lance, colors and theriocidic mission of George, but lacks the horse of George and has the wings of Michael. I’m not sure if this weird hybrid is a cultural phenomenon to be treasured or a complete screw up of some ignorant sculptor, but I’ll keep my eye open for more of these saint Georchels.

Statue of a lovely lady - I wonder who she is...

A lovely eyeing lady holds a crucifix. No idea who she is. She holding on to three red flowers; three white lilies are a symbol of purity and thus Mary, but Mary is mostly dressed in blue and she wouldn’t be holding a crucifix. I sure hope this isn’t supposed to be Mary and the sculptor who created Saint Georchel was running a two-for-the-price-of-one special. This lady is outfitted as a nun but I don’t know which kind. I’m obviously not less ignorant than any sculptor.

Mary teaching Jesus from a scroll

Mother teaching a royally robed pre-adolescent from a scroll. It’s a very small scroll. Maybe a shopping list, but certainly not Isaiah or something like that. It’s highly unlikely that Mary ever came close enough to any kind of scroll that she could touch it, and certainly not to a scroll that Jesus would famously learn from. It looks like our sculptor was running a three-for-one special.

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd, presumably. The sheep also functions as holder for the cable of the sound system.

A delightful statue of Joseph, depicted as carpenter, holding on to the infant Christ.

The church of Bourg des Saintes, viewing down the isle to the entrance.

The steeple of the church of Bourg des Saintes looming over the town.

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