Congonhas is a small historical city at 75 km south of Belo Horizonte, along the ‘Estrada Real’ to Rio de Janeiro. The city is well known for the statues of Brazilian artist Aleijadinho.
The prophets by Aleijadinho: prophet Baruc (Baruch).
Baruc (Baruch, ‘the blessed’) was a pupil of the great prophet Jeremiah. He and Jeremiah were witnesses of the Babylonian dominance of Jerusalem. They escaped to Egypt, where Baruch died. Baruch copied Jeremiah’s prophecies, when they were burned.
The prophets (with clickable links),from left to right (names in Portuguese):
Statues of twelve prophets carved from soap stone are located in frond of Santuário do Bom Jesus Matosinhos. Aleijadinho had sculpted them between 1795 and 1805.
Baruch, ‘the Blessed’, was a pupil of the famous prophet Jeremiah, who also takes part of the group of the twelve prophets. Baruch wrote the prophecies of his master on a parchment, but it was ordered by King Jehoiakim to be burned, as a result of his anger about the forecast evil that awaited the king and his people. The dedicated and imperturbable Baruch rewrote the prophecies. He and Jeremiah witnessed the Babylonian occupation of Jerusalem, and not much later both had to escape to Egypt. Baruch died not long after his arrival in Egypt. Since the Baruch often had to recite the prophecies of Jeremiah, these prophecies are attributed to him. Therefore, Baruch has his own Bible chapters, between Lamentations and the Book of Ezekiel.
Baruch = Zoroaster?
There are sources that identify Prophet Baruch with the legendary Zoroaster, although these claims are questioned by other scholars. Others claim that the name Zoroaster refers to more than one prophet. Zoroaster was the founder of the Persian (state) religion.
Other legends exist about the tomb of Baruch. An Arab king gave orders to open the tomb, but anyone who had touched it, died instantly. The king did not give up and demanded that the Jews should open the tomb. After three days of fasting, the Jews were able to open the tomb of Baruch. The body was still intact as he had died only one day before. Then he king had ordered to move the tomb. The horses and camels failed to move on, after a short distance. The king appeared to be impressed and converted himself to Judaism. He ordered the construction of a sanctuary at the site of the tomb.
On the shield that Amos is holding, one can read the following motto:
Christi Im Carne/
(“Eu Predigo a vinda de Cristo na carne e os últimos tempos do mundo, e previno os piedosos, Baruc. Cap.1”).
(I foresee the incarnate advent of Christ and the end of the world, and I warn the faithfuls)
Baruch is depicted as a beardless young man. He wears a short tunic and a short jacket. One hand is holding the edge of the solid mantle; the other hand is holding the shield. The statue shows some anatomical defects, and is considered one of the weakest in this group of prophets. However, the face bears expressions as that of Jeremiah, visibly the result from the masterly hands of Aleijadinho.
|Apocrypha & Pseudepigrapha: First Baruch
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom