Loading...
St. Andrew Chapel and Archiepiscopal museum2019-04-11T16:45:16+00:00

Presentation

Leaving the lovely garden of Orthodox Baptistery do not forget to turn right and walk the monumental staircase that you will notice immediately next to the book shop.
You don’t imagine what awaits you: a precious matryoshka of beauty.
The Beauty in the Beautiful! What are you waiting to get on?

A matryoshka of beauty

A visit to the UNESCO monuments of Ravenna will not be complete without having visited the small Chapel of St. Andrew, hidden jewel inside the Archiepiscopal Museum. The sacellum is the only example of an early Christian archbishop’s chapel arrived intact up to us, the only building of Orthodox worship built during Theodorician Arianism.
The Archiepiscopal Museum is on two floors and contains works dating back to different historical and artistic moments of the town, from the ancient to modern times. The Chapel of St. Andrew is on the first floor of the museum.

A bit of history

The mosaics of the chapel date back to the time of Bishop Peter II (494-519) in the Theodorician period, at the time of the coexistence in Ravenna of the two religious faiths: the Arian one and the Orthodox (catholic) one. The sacellum became part of the museum when, in the first decades of the XVIII century the bishop Maffeo Nicolò Farsetti (1727-1741), after he demolished and rebuilt the Basilica of St. Ursus, decided to gather in a special place the mosaics, the tombstones, the epigraphs and capitals coming from the Basilica.
Today, among the many valuable pieces of the museum, we find the ivory throne of Maximian, the ambo coming from the church of Saints John and Paul, a late-ancient headless statue in porphyry dressed up with chlamys (probably representing an Emperor of uncertain identification), an Easter calendar in marble of the VI century, the silver cross of Bishop Agnellus (VI century), the mosaics from the apse of Basilica of St. Ursus, a chasuble from the X century and some altarpieces from the modern era.

The church fights and triumphs

The compartment of the real oratory is preceded by a rectangular vestibule covered by a barrel vault and decorated with an arbour (mosaic and tempera painting) and populated with various species of birds, some of which of exotic taste, other belonging to the fauna of the nearby valleys and pine forests: doves, partridges, ducks, parrots, small peacocks, etc.
As in San Vitale, here too the mosaics are characterized by the perfect “gliding” between the philological and naturalistic documentary dimension (in a word: scientific) and the most visionary oniric and fantastic one, that proposes and reinterprets, by transfiguring them, the formula and colors of a far and dreamed East, precious and hieratic.
The inscription “Aut lux hic nata est Aut capta hic libera regnat”( or the light was born here or here free reigns) probably alludes to the Neoplatonic and meanwhile orthodox light (in contrast to Arianism) masterfully revoked by the brightness of mosaic tesserae.
On the entrance door to the vestibule stands a perfectly frontal Christ as a warrior, caught in the act of treading on the lion and the snake (the Evil, represented by Arianism), dressed with purple chlamys and an armour. The Savior holds a long cross on his right shoulder, while with his left hand he holds the Word, where we can read “Ego sum via, veritas et vita”. It is therefore, in the complex, an allusion to the “ecclesia militans”, probably in reference to Arian heresy that denied the consubstantiality between Father and Son.
Entering the actual chapel we are instead faced with a different iconographic program, mostly focused on the concept of Ecclesia Triumphans: in fact, the monogram of Christ is presented at the top of the cross vault and is supported by four Angels – winged victories.
Among them we recognize the symbols of the four evangelists, each of them carrying a gemmated codex. The cross vault is supported by four arches in whose intradosses appear the clypeate images of the Martyrs and Apostles, at the center stands out the young beardless Christ. Also these clypeate images of Saints underline the Catholic orthodoxy of the sacellum, as the Arians did not worship the saints.
In the complex all the decorative program of the chapel is extended to glorification of Christ the Savior and the affirmation of the consubstantiality between Father and Son in opposition to Arian heresy.

A visit to the UNESCO monuments of Ravenna will not be complete without having visited the small Chapel of St. Andrew, hidden jewel inside the Archiepiscopal Museum. The sacellum is the only example of an early Christian archbishop’s chapel arrived intact up to us, the only building of Orthodox worship built during Theodorician Arianism.
The Archiepiscopal Museum is on two floors and contains works dating back to different historical and artistic moments of the town, from the ancient to modern times. The Chapel of St. Andrew is on the first floor of the museum.

The mosaics of the chapel date back to the time of Bishop Peter II (494-519) in the Theodorician period, at the time of the coexistence in Ravenna of the two religious faiths: the Arian one and the Orthodox (catholic) one. The sacellum became part of the museum when, in the first decades of the XVIII century the bishop Maffeo Nicolò Farsetti (1727-1741), after he demolished and rebuilt the Basilica of St. Ursus, decided to gather in a special place the mosaics, the tombstones, the epigraphs and capitals coming from the Basilica.
Today, among the many valuable pieces of the museum, we find the ivory throne of Maximian, the ambo coming from the church of Saints John and Paul, a late-ancient headless statue in porphyry dressed up with chlamys (probably representing an Emperor of uncertain identification), an Easter calendar in marble of the VI century, the silver cross of Bishop Agnellus (VI century), the mosaics from the apse of Basilica of St. Ursus, a chasuble from the X century and some altarpieces from the modern era.

The compartment of the real oratory is preceded by a rectangular vestibule covered by a barrel vault and decorated with an arbour (mosaic and tempera painting) and populated with various species of birds, some of which of exotic taste, other belonging to the fauna of the nearby valleys and pine forests: doves, partridges, ducks, parrots, small peacocks, etc.
As in San Vitale, here too the mosaics are characterized by the perfect “gliding” between the philological and naturalistic documentary dimension (in a word: scientific) and the most visionary oniric and fantastic one, that proposes and reinterprets, by transfiguring them, the formula and colors of a far and dreamed East, precious and hieratic.
The inscription “Aut lux hic nata est Aut capta hic libera regnat”( or the light was born here or here free reigns) probably alludes to the Neoplatonic and meanwhile orthodox light (in contrast to Arianism) masterfully revoked by the brightness of mosaic tesserae.
On the entrance door to the vestibule stands a perfectly frontal Christ as a warrior, caught in the act of treading on the lion and the snake (the Evil, represented by Arianism), dressed with purple chlamys and an armour. The Savior holds a long cross on his right shoulder, while with his left hand he holds the Word, where we can read “Ego sum via, veritas et vita”. It is therefore, in the complex, an allusion to the “ecclesia militans”, probably in reference to Arian heresy that denied the consubstantiality between Father and Son.
Entering the actual chapel we are instead faced with a different iconographic program, mostly focused on the concept of Ecclesia Triumphans: in fact, the monogram of Christ is presented at the top of the cross vault and is supported by four Angels – winged victories.
Among them we recognize the symbols of the four evangelists, each of them carrying a gemmated codex. The cross vault is supported by four arches in whose intradosses appear the clypeate images of the Martyrs and Apostles, at the center stands out the young beardless Christ. Also these clypeate images of Saints underline the Catholic orthodoxy of the sacellum, as the Arians did not worship the saints.
In the complex all the decorative program of the chapel is extended to glorification of Christ the Savior and the affirmation of the consubstantiality between Father and Son in opposition to Arian heresy.

Gallery

Ravenna to be discovered among religion, history and culture

Visit all the monuments

error: Content is protected !!