After my responsibilities as Mom and friend were fulfilled this morning, I headed over to the Chapel to paint. I’ve been nursing a horrible cold the past week and am feeling fragile, but in the back of my mind I am needing to make progress in several aspects of my life. So much is required of me in regards to assessment of student work right now…I need to paint for my commercial markets and I want the Chapel completed before Pentecost.
Today I added the Chi-Rho to one of the circular elements on the upper left wall and laid down the first wash to the entire area. I will be applying scriptural text to this area on my next visit and applying gold washes to the Chi-Rho. This was the final area to remain unpainted on the wall, although I have many layers that I want to pull over the work.
A wedding was celebrated at noon in the church and I had Father’s permission to remain as the ‘artist in residence’ in the Chapel…so I quietly listened to the entire wedding ceremony and had more than a few tears throughout the service and Sacrament. It was a beautiful experience. I painted into the various horizons with washes and continued to build on layers of grapes and wheat, both.
While I wanted to work longer, there was a second wedding scheduled for two o’clock this afternoon and I wished to hold the first wedding experience in my heart and come home for a rest. I am thinking much about my first-born and her fast-approaching wedding! I am so filled with love for her!
The Chi Rho is one of the earliest cruciform symbols used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters of the word "Christ" in Greek, chi = ch and rho = r. Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ. The earliest evidence of the Chi Rho symbol is Constantine’s use of it on the labarum, the imperial standard, in the early 4th century CE. Lactantius, a 4th century Christian apologist, reports that on the eve of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 CE, Constantine had a vision of God in which he was commanded to mark his men’s shields with the Chi Rho symbol. After Constantine’s success at the Milvian bridge, the Chi Rho became the official imperial insignia. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence demonstrating that the Chi Rho was emblazoned on the helmet and shield of Constantine as well as those of all of his soldiers. Coins and medallions minted during Constantine’s reign also bore the Chi Rho. By the year 350 CE, the Chi Rho began to be used on Christian sarcophagi and frescoes. [A.E.M.]