Saint Philomena

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Architecture, Cathedral, Fine Art, Gravelbourg, Historical Site
St. Philomena: the daughter of light and the enlightener of a dark and corrupt age.  I photographed a few of the paintings depicting her life, located above the nave windows of Our Lady of the Assumption Co-Cathedral in Gravelbourg, SK.   Two of the last three paintings reside by the east and west balconies and the third and last portrait is displayed in the baptismal area of the church.

Originally the cathedral was named the church of St. Philomena. However, in 1965 it was changed to Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral because St. Philomena was denounced as a saint when her corpse could not be found in the catacombs.

St. Philomena’s story according to wikipedia:  “According to Sister Maria Luisa di Gesù, Saint Philomena told her she was the daughter of a king in Greece who, with his wife, had converted to Christianity. At the age of about 13 she took a vow of consecrated virginity. When the Emperor Diocletian threatened to make war on her father, her father went with his family to Rome to ask for peace. The Emperor fell in love with the young Philomena and, when she refused to be his wife, subjected her to a series of torments: scourging, from whose effects two angels cured her; drowning with an anchor attached to her (two angels cut the rope and raised her to the river bank); being shot with arrows, (on the first occasion her wounds were healed; on the second, the arrows turned aside; and on the third, they returned and killed six of the archers, after which, several of the others became Christians). Finally the Emperor had her decapitated. The story goes that the decapitation occurred on a Friday at three in the afternoon, as with the death of Jesus. The two anchors, three arrows, the palm and the ivy leaf on the tiles found in the tomb were interpreted as symbols of her martyrdom.”

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Entranced by rural and urban decay. I am drawn to these forlorn sites because they emote conflicting sentiments of beauty and disintegration.

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