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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

SAINT MAURICE AND THE THEBAN LEGION


I first heard of Saint Maurice from J.A. Rogers. The stunning picture you see here accompanied the story of St. Maurice of Auganaum. The idea of a Black patron saint of Germany was intriguing, indeed. J.A. Rogers also spoke of the numerous Black Madonnas of Europe. Again, this was a revelation, as who would have thought that white people could worship Black saints and even a Black Madonna and child.

Well, Runoko Rashidi has just returned from visiting some of the sacred sites of Europe dedicated to the Black saints and Martyrs of Christianity and he's brought a picture with him that has stirred a renewed interest in St. Maurice, in particular. This picture shows St. Maurice without a nose. Now, clearly he's Black in skin color and features. The antiquity of the statue is without doubt, but like the statues of the pharoahs of Egypt, the nose is missing.

As is the case with the many shrines and depictions of Africans in Europe today, there's typically been a series of convoluted explanations to explain away such anomalies. It's been said of many of the Black Madonnas that smoke produced by thousands of candles burnt over the years has blackened specific parts of the statues without blackening other parts. For instance, the face, and hands will be black, while Mary's headdress and clothing is pure white and sparkling. I'd be interested in hearing someone actually try to explain how that happens, just for kicks.

I haven't heard Runoko's story of the missing nose of St. Maurice, but I'm sure it's a doozy. The only story I've heard so far that sounds true to form, when it comes to the missing nose of a statue, is the one about Napoleon and the missing nose of the Great Sphinx. It's been said that he blew it off with a cannon, because he went all the way to the home of the ancients, the founders of the philosophical base which is Western civilization and found someone immortalized their that looked like one of his chief rivals and that of a rebel chief in the French colonies. I'm speaking of Thomas Alexander Dumas, the French General and Toussaint L'Overture, the Haitian Revolutionary. It was too much for him.

Look for Part II tomorrow

1 comment:

Christopher said...

I am a white man and I believe that St. Maurice indeed was a black African leader of the Theban Legion. In Roman times racism was not prevalent as it is in current Western times. He is an ispiriation to Christianity as a black leader.