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 Jeremias (Jeremiah).
Jeremias (‘God exalts’) is considered as one of the major prophets. His prophecies were about the destruction of Jerusalem and the invasion of the Babylonians. His works were rewritten by his disciple Baruch.
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.
Jeremias, his name means “God raises him “, is considered one of the major prophets in the Old Testament. The prophet was born in Anatoth, near Jerusalem, in the seventh century B.C. His Book, without a chronological structure, was written down by his faithful disciple: Baruch. The statue of Baruch is also at the square in front of the sanctuary in Congonhas. The prophecies of Jeremiah were anything but happy: he predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, and the invasion by Babylonian troops. The complaint of the destruction of Jeremias’ beloved Jerusalem is described in Lamentations. His ominous prophecies did not leave the audience indifferent: King Jehoiakim ordered to burn his Jeremias’s works. Baruch, the loyal disciple, rewrote this work entirely.
The gloomy predictions by Jeremiah came true. Babylonians invaded and occupied the capital. The arrival of Egyptian troops drew the invaders back, but only for a brief period. The invaders returned and destroyed the city. Entirely according the prophecies of Jeremiah. The Babylonians allowed the prophet to choose his destiny, and he decided to stay. When the situation became dangerous, Jeremiah and his followers fled to Egypt. Baruch died shortly afterwards; it is assumed by certain sources that Jeremiah had become over ninety years of age. Other sources report that he was killed by enraged Israelites, because he was blamed for their misery, because of his prophecies. Other sources claim, however, that Jeremiah joined the Babylonians and died in their country.
On the shield that Jeremias is holding, one can read the following motto:
( “E o desastre da Judéia e a ruína de Jerusalém: rogo (ao meu povo) que queira voltar ao Senhor, Jeremias, cap.35”.)
(… And the disaster of Judea and the ruins of Jerusalem. I pray (to my people) that they will return to God)
The image of Jeremiah shows a middle-aged man with an impressive mustache; the ends of which coincide with the short beard, which has two curly ends that are maintained in the Byzantine way. Jeremiah is wearing a short tunic, with his left leg bare. His cape is draped over his right shoulder. The prophet holds a quill in his left hand. Jeremiah wears an immense turban on his head. Anatomically, the image shows some minor deviations. The statue is made of two pieces of soap stone; the weld is visible just below the knee. As with most other statues, the face must have been sculpted by master Aleijadinho himself.
|Jeremiah, the movie
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom.