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Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard
Psalm: 79
Iconography: Christ , in the heavenly sphere is flanked by two birds. With his right hand he pours from a container into a small vessel held up by a tonsured monk. The monk has a small bird on his head and holds a book with the words You will feed us with the bread of tears: and give us for drink tears in measure. The monk suffers remorse because You have made us an objection to our neighbours. There are trees on either side of the monk. You transported the vineyard out of egypt.. you planted its roots and it filled the land . The vine is beset by four beasts and a dragon. The boar out of the wood has destroyed it: and a single wild beast has eaten it. The dragon is trapped below ground: Things set on fire and dug down: shall perish at the rebuke of your expression.The illustration is concerned with remorse. Exactly the right amount of tears of repentence are being poured into a measure. The sparrow on the monk's head is a symbol of the penitent sinner. The Diadema Monachorum of Smaragdus explains the other details which are not mentioned in the psalm (PL, cii, 611-14 capp. xv-xvii). The Trees are a reminder of Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden. The five beast heads represent the five senses and their temptations. The birds beside Christ are turtle doves which Moses ordained as a sin-offering (Leviticus, 5:7). Smaragdus explained that these two birds were offered for sins of commission and sins of omission. These sins are dissolved by the grace of tears. (AP, 233-4)
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Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard


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