A Mid-Eighteenth Century Neopolitan Ostensorium

The Terra Sancta Museum in the Holy Land is filled with precious treasures beyond measure donated from Europe and the world beyond. While the worldly eye will look at these objects purely in terms of their monetary value, a spiritual and liturgical eye does not see this; it rather sees beauty. In point of fact, the whole reason precious stones and metals were and are valued was precisely because of the beauty they imparted. Within a secular context this is imparted to the person, but within an ecclesiastical context they are imparted to divine worship, an object and offering of beauty to God and His worship. 

One of the items which recently caught my attention from the museum was this ostensorium (or monstrance) which was donated by benefactors of the Kingdom of Naples in 1747.  The monstrance in question is beautiful in both its form and colour; at one and the same time it is both ornate and yet somehow also simple.


A closer look at some of the details of this beautiful para-liturgical object, meant to house the Blessed Sacrament for the adoration of the faithful; an item both beautiful in its own right and worthy of the Sacrament and yet, ironically, secondary to what it houses. 



Photos: Guillaume BenoƮt/TSM

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