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Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

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Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity
             
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Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

Silver filigree vigil lamp in front of "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem" icon in Church of Nativity

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DESCRIPTION

Icon silver filigree vigil lamp consisting of 11 elements in silver filigree decorated with with 6 rubies, 53 garnets and 35 M.O.P.s . The lamp is suspended on 3 chains with filigree apples.

The church of the Nativity.

Situated in the center of the town of Bethlehem, The Church of the Nativity was built over the site where Jesus Christ was born in a manger. The only major surviving church in the Holy Lands from early Christian times, The Church of the Nativity was built around the 4th century A.D. Shortly after the Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity, his mother Helena built the magnificent church, adorning it with mosaics, frescoes and marble.

The church of the Nativity is one of the oldest church buildings of the world. Still more important is the fact that since Justinian in the early sixth century services have been held there without a break. The first durable church structure was built to the order of the emperor Constantin early in the 4th century after christianity had been established as a religion in the roman empire.
Model of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
Model of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

This was the result of a request by bishop Macarius of Jerusalem at the first Ecumenical council in Nicea in 325. in 326 Constantin’s mother Helena travelled to the Holy Land visiting places which had been of importance in the life of Jesus. She was shown a cave outside Bethlehem which according to early traditions amongst christian communities was held to be the birth place of Jesus. St. Luke’s gospel says that Jesus was laid in a manger, as there was no room in the inn. Matthew’s gospel mentions a house where Joseph and Mary were staying at the arrival of the three Magi from the East. Justinus the martyr mentions that the manger was in a cave. Many shepherds in the area kept their animals in caves overnight. Also there was a tradition in Palestine to build houses on top of caves.

The All Holy Theotokos Bethlehemitissa with silver filigree vigil lamp The All Holy Theotokos Bethlehemitissa with silver filigree vigil lamp The All Holy Theotokos Bethlehemitissa with silver filigree vigil lamp

Virgin Mary of Bethlehem icon with silver filigree vigil lamp

Normally these houses consisted of one single room which was used for eating, sleeping and living. Often the space was divided into different levels, the bottom level to keep the animals. In this way luke’s commentary that “there was no room in the inn” for Joseph and Mary may have referred to the overcrowded upper level and the two found a space below with the animals. The common notion that the place of the manger was in a stable is part of a western tradition.

The All Holy Theotokos Bethlehemitissa with silver filigree vigil lamp

Virgin Mary of Bethlehem icon with silver filigree vigil lamp

The lamp, with the blessing of Bishop Theophylact - Jerusalem Patriarchate, is mounted in front of the icon "Virgin Mary of Bethlehem". The icon is located to the right of entrance to Grotto in Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. 
The icon is unique since the Virgin Mary is smiling, and it is believed that it was made by St. Luke himself.

Funds necessary for manufacturing of this vigil lamps were collected among Serbian Orthodox believers, by efforts of Mrs. Gordana Sipka from Novi Sad and Sister Dorothea from Church of Nativity.

Precious stones were donated by grace of Mr. Dusan and Mrs. Leonora Vulovic from Belgrade.


Material:                     silver 950, rubies, garnet, MOP.
Technique:                  filigree, granulation, stone setting.

Size:                         
29 (36) × 15 cm., chains 50 cm.
Weight:                      976 gr.

Year:                         2008.

Commissioned by:      Mrs. Sipka Gordana, Novi Sad.
In possession of:         Church of Nativity, Bethlehem - Holy Land.
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