Pulpit with Ecclesia and Synagoga

Church of San Moisč, Venice

On the left with the cross is Ecclesia, the Church. Her crown is done in three rows, somewhat like a papal tiara. At her right hand is a laver, the footed ceremonial washbowl of Exodus 30:18-19. This is what St. Paul references in Ephesians 5:26, which has Christ "cleansing" his bride "in the laver of water of the word of life."

The baptismal connotations in the laver are seconded by the descent of the dove from the center of the composition, referencing the dove that appeared at the baptism of Christ. Turning away from Synagoga, this symbol of the Holy Spirit sheds his light beams on Ecclesia alone.

Beneath the dove the symbols of three evangelists take possession of the earth (left to right, the eagle of St. John, the lion of St. Mark, and the ox of St. Luke).

Synagoga wears Aaron's breastplate and "holy crown" (Exodus 28). Her left hand holds the tablets of the Law. In the right hand is either a short sword or more likely a broken lance like one mentioned by Duchet-Suchaux (89-90). Unlike Ecclesia, her eyes are cast down and nearly closed.

Similar images often present Synagoga with less dignity. The difference here may be because Moses is the church's patron, or it may be because a pulpit is used to expound both the Old and New Testaments.

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Photographed at the church by Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.