Foederis Arca

Ark of the Covenant

Mary's portrait is partially contained in the representation of the Ark of the Covenant. It is surrounded by religious Jewish symbols. Mary's image bears elegant features, the gestures of her hands seem to point to her womb, the true Ark of the Covenant. The inscription in the margin reads, "Arise Lord, come to your resting place, you and your majestic ark" (Psalm 132:8).

The Marian interpretation of the Ark of the Covenant is known since the Council of Ephesus (see: Proclus of Constantinople, 446). Several analogies can be established between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant: the Ark was the throne of God, Mary is the true "Christophora;" the Ark contained the tables of the law, Mary's womb bore the one who is the law of the new covenant; the Ark was precious and beautiful, made in gold, Mary's soul is adorned with the beauty of her virtues; the Ark was a warranty for victory, Mary has been victorious in the battles of God (Pius XII); the Ark found a place in the inner "sanctum" of the Temple, Mary was assumed into heaven.

"What God has made clean, you are not to call unclean (profane)" (Acts 10:15)


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