Florence 2022 Florence, Italy MSMU Travels

Religious Reflections on #TourismTuesdays

Hello! This week I had a really fun time at different places including visiting the Duomo Museum Baptistry, Santa Croce Church, St. Francis of Assisi’s Monastery, and the Dante Museum. This post will primarily focus on some religious reflections from my visit to the Duomo’s Baptistry.

As you can see from the picture of the dome of the Duomo Baptistry, the image of Christ at the last judgment served as a reminder to all new converts of the gravity of their decision. Moreover, the images on the dome also retell the ancient story of Noah’s Ark. This reminded the new convert of the biblical parallel between salvation through baptism and Noah being rescued by God on the Ark. As St. Peter writes,

“Because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

English Standard Version, 1 Peter 3:20-21

However, this parallel in the Baptistry’s dome is not only to serve as a reminder of hope. For, again in his second epistle, St. Peter explains the Baptismal parallel to Noah but ends that same chapter with a severe warning,

“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

English Standard Version, 2 Peter 2:20

This warning coincides well with the depiction in the Baptistry dome of many friars and nuns in hell on the last judgment day (blue = friars in hell, red = Noah’s Ark).

Another interesting thing I saw in the Duomo museum was Michelango’s Florentine “Pieta.” The statue depicts Jesus surrounded by the likes of Nicodemus, the Blessed Virgin, and St. Mary Magdalene. From the Biblical texts, we see how Nicodemus, although helping out Joseph of Arimathea, had a timid approach to Christ’s message:

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

King James Version, John 3:1-2

Note, although Nicodemus clearly believed our Lord, he was timid in that he comes at night, presumably to dissuade unwanted attention. It is interesting to note the similarities between Michelangelo and Nicodemus: both were high up in the social hierarchy and appear to be conflicted in their religious views (Michelangelo was condemned by Pope Paul IV for the heresy of Spiritualism—that God can be found by a personal relationship, unaided by the church). Overall, I find the comparison Michelangelo makes with himself and Nicodemus fitting.

Thank you for reading! Come back next week for another post on #TourismTuesday!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *