“Step by step, from inside the cathedral, Fr. Innocenzo will unveil the 'spirit' of the images and therefore of the sacred narration, following the outline of the articles of the Creed,” wrote Sandro Magister in his April 18 post for the Italian magazine l'Espresso.
Magister is one of the creators of the program, called “The Creed in the Mosaics of Monreale.” It's first episode will air April 21 on TV 2000, the channel of the Italian bishops' conference.
Each 30-minute episode will air on Sundays, be streamed on the channel's website and will later be posted on Youtube.
An initiative for the Year of Faith, “The Creed in the Mosaics of Monreale” presents the twelve articles of faith as they are found in Catholic Creed, or profession of faith.
The series is presented by Father Innocenzo Gargano, a monk of the Camaldolese order and scholar of scripture and the Church fathers, and by Sara Magister, an art historian.
The Monreale Cathedral was begun near the end of the 12th century in a Romanesque style and is covered in Byzantine-style mosaics.
“The believers who over the past nine centuries had the opportunity to turn their gaze upward and admire the mosaics of the cathedral of Monreale were for the most part illiterate, but not for this reason fatally destined to remain in ignorance,” said the director of TV 2000, Dino Boffo.
“The nourishment of the faith came through the charm of the beautiful, of the majestic. 'One day we will look upon that beautiful face of the Risen One,' Pope Francis said to the cardinals who had just elected him.”
“And so, one foretaste of that unfathomable beauty is precisely in the vault of the apse of Monreale, where the mosaics that decorate the walls of the cathedral converge.”
The Monreale Cathedral is where Romano Guardini spent Holy Week in 1929, and he was struck by how the mosaics formed the faith of the city's inhabitants.
Guardini was a leader of the Liturgical Movement, an early 20th century effort which sought to help the faithful appreciate the beauty and mystery of the liturgy and to help the liturgy inform faith and the spiritual life.
He wrote that the Monreale Cathedral is “grandiose,” of “ineffable beauty,” and said “I am full of gratitude for its existence.”
“What should I say about the splendor of this place? At first, the visitor’s glance sees a basilica of harmonious proportions. Then it perceives a movement within its structure, which is enriched with something new, a desire for transcendence that moves through it to the point of passing beyond it; but all of this culminates in that splendid luminosity.”
He continued, saying that the cathedral's beauty inspired the prayerful participation in the liturgy which he so strongly advocated.
“The crowd sat and watched. The women were wearing veils… Almost no one was reading. All were living in the gaze, all engaged in contemplation. Then it it became clear to me what the foundation of real liturgical piety is: the capacity to find the 'sacred' within the image and its dynamism.”
The Italian bishops' conference have produced a twelve-part television series presenting the Creed from Sicily's Monreale cathedral, a 12th century church covered in rich mosaics which explain the faith.
Beauty, Catholic faith, Sacred Art