This year, Third “Giornata delle Catacombe” will be completely available online due to the sanitary emergency caused by Covid-19.
In the year of reflection on ‘Laudato si’ – Pope Francis’ Encyclical published 5 years after the Magisterium’s first document about environmental issues – during this Third “Giornata delle Catacombe”, the day dedicated to the Paleochristian burials, we will see nature as you can find it depicted in the ancient Christian cemeteries, frescos and marble relieves. The bucolic scenes, the depictions of flowers, plants and animals, both isolated and included within biblical or symbolic representations, stand for the garden of origins, the Eden and, at the same time the Paradise, the kingdom of the Blessed where the original beauty of creation is re-created and proposed as the final end of the journey of life supported by faith in Christ.
When gazing upon the images of creation and of the natural world – sometimes essential and lightly sketched, other times vivid and rich in curios details – one would immediately cry out “what a paradise!”, regardless of the overall context of darkness and death. Indeed, the beautiful depictions of nature bring to mind not only the inspiring and fascinating wonders of the natural world, but also the final destination of human existence, longed for and desired by all believers and the entire humanity.
The ancient Christians, referring to the Bible, used to imagine life beyond death set in a paradise where there was harmony between all the creatures, called to participate in a new life announced and promised by Christ and inaugurated with his Resurrection.
Contemplating these suggestive images does not only mean imagining, dreaming of a beautiful and harmonious end, but it also translates into wanting and building it in the present, taking care of the “common home”, of the land where we live and of all the creatures that are in it. The paradisiacal images of the catacombs ask us, then, to guard and take care of the paradise in which we live, given us by the Creator.
Keep following us in our website and in our social channel (FB: catacombeitalia and IG: catacombeitalia) and in Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology’s official website (catacombeditalia.va): shortly, we will publish the event’s agenda and all the appointments of the day will be available on this page!