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Museum of Chora :: Virgin Mary's visit to Bethlehem

Virgin Mary's visit to Bethlehem

Let us start our tour by studying the mosaics on the wall at the furthest left of the outer narthex, that is to say, from the left section of the Kariye Museum. In the section denoted as A in our plan, the mosaics number 1 takes as its subject-matter the Virgin's visit to Bethlehem and Joseph's dream. In this panel of mosaics, three scenes are depicted. On the panel, the person seen sleeping under a small tree is Joseph, Mary's husband. Near him, an angel is breaking him the good news of the approaching birth of Jesus. A little further away from this scene, two women are seen talking to each other: One being Mary, and the other Elizabeth, the wife of Zacchariah. With Joseph walking towards the right, Mary is depicted on horseback, on their journey towards Bethlehem. In the Bible, the birth of Jesus is narrated as follows: Mary and Joseph are engaged, but before they get married, Mary is pregnant. Joseph is very much upset, as he does not know this divine secret. So, begins to consider the breaking up the engagement. While tormenting himself by thinking this unfortunate affair over, he falls asleep and sees an angel in his dream. The angel advises Joseph not to leave his future bride, and that the child is conceived from God Almighty, and soon a boy is to be born, and that he should name this child Jesus. The scene seen at the left of the mosaics depicts this event. When Joseph wakes up, he accept the facts made known to him by the angel, and decides to name the child to be born, Jesus. They continue their journey towards Bethlehem and Jesus is born there


Above text and pictures are from the book titled "Chora Byzantium's Shining Piece of Art".

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