minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

Archive for the tag “globus cruciger”

Christ the King

Christ on the Throne with Evangelical Symbols surrounding.

The Solemnity of Christ the King ends the Liturgical Year. Starting with the first Sunday in Advent which will begin next week, the liturgical year takes us from point A to B in the story of Salvation and the Gospel. It begins and ends with it’s focus on Jesus Christ as we await his incarnation, celebrate his appearing as a child at Christmas, the events of his life, walk with him to Calvary during Lent and the events of Easter week. The year comes full circle and like the disclosure of Revelation, the church celebrates Christ enthroned as king of the universe.

This continual path that the church walks every year keeps us circling around Christ who is the center of our faith. Every holiday, every Saint, every Mass, eventually points us to the One who is at the heart of everything and this very fitting final Sunday in the liturgical year leaves us at a crescendo of sorts. I can see the throne and the glory. I can envision angels and choirs. I can see the universe itself as a footstool for the King of Glory. And this is all about to come to a quick end as we leap forward to advent. The choirs will stop, the crashing of universal echoes from creation will end. The blinding light of the stars will dim as the night of winter begins and we wait his coming again. Adveniat Regnum Tuum.

This only makes the story more profound; for in this sudden clash of glory and silence, light and dark, sovereignty and infancy; the story of awesome and unconditional love demonstrated is most clearly. It is the King of the Universe who will become a child to save us all.

The Ball and the Cross/Stephen of Hungary

St. Shephen King of Hungary by Ladislav Nemeth

O.K., so maybe you know my affinity for G.K. Chesterton, and picked up on the title of one of my favorite books by the “Apostle of Common Sence”. The Ball and the Cross is a fiction that plays out a debate. The story starts as a bit of classic fantasy just like you would expect from the 1920’s, but then shifts to the main characters which are a Roman Catholic and an atheist, who having vowed to kill each other in a dual, end up hashing through the arguments, debates and perspectives until they develop a mutual respect for each other and become friends. The clash of the ancient faith and enlightenment skepticism are often offset by other world-views and philosophies which the main characters encounter in their attempts to begin their dual.

St. Stephen of Hungary

The naming of the book has to do with an old christian symbol knows as the Globus Cruciger, which translates as cross bearing orb, or in Chestertonian, a ball and a cross.

It was while looking into the history of St. Stephen of Hungary that in noticed the Confessor King was holding one of these objects, in an icon as well as a statue. The globus cruciger is often seen in the hands of leaders from the middle ages and on. It represents the world, (the globe) and the authority of Christ (the cross). As early as the 5th century this symbol can be found in religious art or writing, and later on would top off church buildings. It is also noteworthy that the world is a globe and not some flat slab or disc; another proof to debunk the flat earth myth.

St. Stephens feast day is August 16th, in the current roman calender, and he lived from 1001- 1038 AD. He is one of several Confessor Kings, or Kings that confessed Christ and are considered Saints, and like some of the other Confessor Kings, he was a warrior as well as a contemplative.  A sort of King Arthur to Hungary, he would bring the country out of the turmoil of rebellion from pagan princes and turned Hungary into a christian nation.

Some may find it strange the idea of a confessor king. Too often the cry of church and state is applied to the medieval church which really misses the point. In fact too often the church and state did not see eye to eye. Emperors were excommunicated and  popes were imprisoned. The tension which existed between the Church and State flies in the face of claims of modern critics who use such church/state stereotypes to push their own idiology/state agendas today. There was a balance then between the civil government and the church, and while the two often did find the time to work together, they also protected their own authorities from control by the other. Much of this would change after the reformation, though to some extent existed in the Eastern Roman Empire, as kings, and Caesars would also take on the responsibilities not only of the empire or state but also of the church, and it is here that the blending of church and state become apparent. Even in cases where the church and state overlapped, it should be understood within the time; after all christianity was the common belief and world view of the middle ages.

Stephen, like the other confessor kings were men who walked in both worlds. Like the ball and the cross, they are symbols on a personal level of the world and the cross, of people who are living in the world but not of it but caught up into a unity of ideas. Like any person of faith be they pauper or king, Stephen walks in two worlds, he is a king who lived his faith, he holds authority over his domain, and yet found his own world the domain of the King of Kings.

Post Navigation