Rise of the Phoenix: A Unique Sicilian Easter Vestment Set

A lot of the vestments we feature here, and a lot of vestments out there in general, contain similar themes where figurative or symbolic imagery are concerned and it is for that reason that I thought I would share with our readers this interesting chasuble coming from 18th century Sicily which features a mythological bird called a phoenix. 

The phoenix was at one time more commonly seen in Christian art, especially earlier Christian art. In fact of the very few actual physical remnants we still have from the apsidal mosaic of the old, Constantinian basilica of St. Peter's, we find that a phoenix formed a part of that mosaic:

The reason for the use of this mythological symbol in a Christian context is that the key mythological characteristic of the phoenix was that it was immortal; when it died, it would be reborn, rising from the ashes once again. This made it a very apropos image to refer to Christ and His own Resurrection as well as being a broader reference to eternal life.  Between this particular imagery then, the fact that liturgical colour of this set is white, plus the presence of bright, colourful, fruits and floral motifs, not to mention references to peacock feathers (yet another symbol of immortality) it is quite likely that this set was intended for particular use at Easter time.  

A beautiful and unique set.

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