Jesus Cures the Bent-over Woman

12th-13th century
Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

The inscription in the mosaic summarizes Luke 13:11-14: IESUS MULIEREM ANNIS DECEM ET OCTO CURVAM ERIGIT ET ARCHISINAGOGUM [IN]DIGNANTEM INCREPAT, "Jesus makes erect the woman who had been bent over for 18 years, and he rebukes the indignant ruler of the synagogue." The indignant ruler had protested that one should not do cures on the Sabbath. Jesus' rebukes him with the words "Ye hypocrites, doth not every one of you, on the sabbath day, loose his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead them to water? And ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" (13:15-16).

This is one of the less often illustrated miracles. Jesus has been teaching "in their synagogues," so we may take the building in the background as a synagogue from which Jesus and his disciples have just been exiting. Peter is the one next to Jesus, the only disciple who like Jesus is holding a scroll. His left foot touches the right foot of Jesus. Also identifiable among the disciples is Andrew, the one in the far back with his characteristic wild hair.

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Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.