The Last Communion of St. Lucy

16th century
Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy

In the uppermost register the angel on the left points to the Trinity, pictured in an iconographical type that was becoming standard in the 16th century, with the Son at the right hand of the Father and the Holy Spirit casting light on them both. The angel on the right holds forth the laurel crown of martyrdom that Lucy is earning below.

In the background Paschasius, the judge who had ordered Lucy's execution, has been arrested for embezzlement and is being taken away to Rome. (The events pictured occured in Syracuse in Sicily.)

In the foreground Lucy kneels to receives communion on the tongue, a medieval practice that continued until the 20th century. Lifting the back of the priest's chasuble, as is done when the host is elevated in the Mass, is a man in a sleeved garment that could be a deacon's dalmatic, though it is unusual to picture a deacon with gray hair.

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