Passions of Christ (III): ‘The Imprisonment’
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.
Passions of Christ: ‘The Imprisonment.
‘The Imprisonment’ is the third of six Passos, the Passion of Christ. ‘The Imprisonment’ demonstrates eight statues: Jesus, Peter, Judas, Malco (one of Pilatus’ servants), and four Roman soldiers. Jesus already seemed to have accepted His fate, but Peter cut off one of Malco’s ears. Jesus healed that ear.
The prophets (with clickable links):
from left to right (names in Portuguese):
Amos – Joel – Ezequiel – Isaías – Jonas – Abdias – Daniel – Jeremias – Naum – Habacuc – Oséias – Baruc
The ‘Passos’ are composed of no less than sixty-six statures, which are divided over six small chapels that are flanking the steep alley to Santuário de Bom Jesus do Matosinhos. These statues were created between 1799 and 1806. Initially, they were stored, until the chapels were finished, in 1875. The groups of statues in the six chapels demonstrate the Passion of Christ: Last Supper, Olive Garden, Imprisonment. Castigation, Carrying the Cross, and Crucifixion.
The passion ‘Imprisonment‘ in two parts.
This passion scene consists of eight persons: Peter, Judas, Jesus, four Roman soldiers, and Malco, Pilatus’ servant. Peter fought against Jesus’ capture and cut off one of Malco’s ears with his sword. Jesus ended the fight, and touched Malco. The wounded ear healed spontaneously.
Above the entrance, one can read on the plaque:
Tis cum ( gladis et) lignis. Co/
‘Como se eu fosse um ladrão com (espadas e) varapaus viestes prender-me’
(You arrest me, while you carry swords and spears, as if I am a criminal)
Jesus seemed ho have accepted
His fate, while His disciples tried
to keep Him out of the hands of
the Roman soldiers.
The scene shows both drama and peace. Jesus’ peace and acceptation of His fate, Malco and Peter both agitated, while the four Roman soldiers stay behind, ready for eventual intervention.
Obviously enough, Roman sandals were replaced – by Aleijadinho – by boots, and the Roman soldiers wear shorts under their originally Roman tunics.
A lot of attention was paid to the expression in the soldier’s faces: expressions of aggression and rage.
Agitated Roman soldiers
Jesus holding Malco’s ear Detailed Roman first
Jesus’ tunic Agitated expression
Congonhas may be easily reached by bus from Belo Horizonte. A single ticket costs about 20 reais (8 euros, 2010). The city is situated at the Estrada Real, a historic route that leads from Minas Gerais (Diamantina and Ouro Preto) to Rio de Janeiro (Paraty or Rio de Janeiro). Near the bus stop is the tourist information center, where you can see a little overview of the church and the statues, and were you can make an appointment for a local guide who leads you through the historic center of the city. The church is easily reached by bus. It is also possible to walk this distance; it will take a bit less than an hour. Remember that the church resides on a hill, and therefore must be climbed. At the foot of the church is a regular market, worth a visit too.
|Congonhas, city of the Prophets
|Historic images of Congonhas
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom