A dragon is a legendary creature, typically scaled or fire-spewing and with serpentine, reptilian or avian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures around world. The two most well-known cultural traditions of dragon are The European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Balkans, most are depicted as reptilian creatures with animal-level intelligence, and are uniquely six-limbed. The Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan and other East Asian, most are depicted as serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence, and are quadrupeds. The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, the English word dragon and Latin word draco derives from Greek δράκων, serpent of huge size, water-snake. The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not necessarily mythological, a dragon is a mythological representation of a reptile. In antiquity, dragons were mostly envisaged as serpents, but since the Middle Ages, it has become common to them with legs.
Dragons are usually shown in modern times with a body like a huge lizard, the European dragon has bat-like wings growing from its back. A dragon-like creature with wings but only a pair of legs is known as a wyvern. The association of the serpent with a monstrous opponent overcome by a deity has its roots in the mythology of the Ancient Near East, including Canaanite, Hittite. Humbaba, the fire-breathing dragon-fanged beast first described in the Epic of Gilgamesh, is described as a dragon with Gilgamesh playing the part of dragon-slayer. The folk-lore motif of the dragon guarding gold may have come from earlier Bronze Age customs of introducing serpents to village granaries to deter rats or mice. Although dragons occur in many legends around the world, different cultures have varying stories about monsters that have been grouped together under the dragon label, some dragons are said to breathe fire or to be poisonous, such as in the Old English poem Beowulf. They are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and they are sometimes portrayed as hoarding treasure.
Some myths portray them with a row of dorsal spines, European dragons are more often winged, while Chinese dragons resemble large snakes. Dragons can have a number of legs, two, four, or more when it comes to early European literature. Dragons are often held to have spiritual significance in various religions. In many Asian cultures, dragons were, and in some still are, revered as representative of the primal forces of nature, religion. They are associated with wisdom—often said to be wiser than humans—and longevity and they are commonly said to possess some form of magic or other supernatural power, and are often associated with wells and rivers
Buttle Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Buttle on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. It is one of the more well-preserved Romanesque churches on Gotland, Buttle Church is one of the more well-preserved Romanesque churches on Gotland. The oldest parts are the part of the choir and the nave. The tower was added circa 1220, an original apse was pulled down during the middle of the 14th century and replaced by the present structure with a straight east end, in Gothic style. The only additions are the windows of the nave, which were made in 1882-83, the church is decorated with frescos. All the frescos in the church have been attributed to the Master of the Passion of Christ or his workshop, the church retains several medieval furnishings. The triumphal cross is one of the earliest of its kind on Gotland and it was probably made by a local artist but shows influences from German art from the period. The altarpiece is medieval, from the 15th century, the altarpiece displays carved wooden figures depicting the crucifixion and a number of saints.
The baptismal font is noteworthy, from the middle of the 13th century and its base is decorated with sculpted heads of humans and beasts. The pews are in a vernacular Baroque style, in the 1950s they were restored to their original colour scheme. They were probably decorated by the same artist who worked in Vänge Church, media related to Buttle Church at Wikimedia Commons Curman, Tuulse, Armin
Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity which identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German friar, ecclesiastical reformer and theologian. Luthers efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation in the German-speaking territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Scripture alone and this is in contrast to the belief of the Catholic Church, defined at the Council of Trent, concerning authority coming from both the Scriptures and Tradition. In addition, Lutheranism accepts the teachings of the first seven ecumenical councils of the undivided Christian Church, unlike Calvinism, Lutherans retain many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the pre-Reformation Church, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist, or Lords Supper. Lutheran theology differs from Reformed theology in Christology, the purpose of Gods Law, the grace, the concept of perseverance of the saints.
Today, Lutheranism is one of the largest denominations of Protestantism, with approximately 80 million adherents, it constitutes the third most common Protestant denomination after historically Pentecostal denominations and Anglicanism. The Lutheran World Federation, the largest communion of Lutheran churches, Other Lutheran organizations include the International Lutheran Council and the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, as well as independent churches. The name Lutheran originated as a term used against Luther by German Scholastic theologian Dr. Johann Maier von Eck during the Leipzig Debate in July 1519. Eck and other Catholics followed the practice of naming a heresy after its leader. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term Evangelical, which was derived from euangelion, the followers of John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other theologians linked to the Reformed tradition began to use that term. To distinguish the two groups, others began to refer to the two groups as Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed.
As time passed by, the word Evangelical was dropped, Lutherans themselves began to use the term Lutheran in the middle of the 16th century, in order to distinguish themselves from other groups such as the Philippists and Calvinists. In 1597, theologians in Wittenberg defined the title Lutheran as referring to the true church, Lutheranism has its roots in the work of Martin Luther, who sought to reform the Western Church to what he considered a more biblical foundation. Lutheranism spread through all of Scandinavia during the 16th century, as the monarch of Denmark–Norway, through Baltic-German and Swedish rule, Lutheranism spread into Estonia and Latvia. Since 1520, regular Lutheran services have been held in Copenhagen, under the reign of Frederick I, Denmark-Norway remained officially Catholic. Although Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers. During Fredericks reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads in Denmark, at an open meeting in Copenhagen attended by the king in 1536, the people shouted, We will stand by the holy Gospel, and do not want such bishops anymore.
Fredericks son Christian was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his fathers death, following his victory in the civil war that followed, in 1537 he became Christian III and advanced the Reformation in Denmark-Norway
Ardre Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Ardre on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The oldest part of the church is the tower, dating from about 1200, the tower originally belonged to an earlier church building from the 12th century, the nave and choir of which was replaced with the current building circa 1250. The sculptured choir portal originally belonged to the earlier church, the interior of the church was heavily remodelled after plans by artist Axel Haig in 1900–1902, in a Neo-Medieval style. The dominating wall paintings are designed by Hägg. A few stained glass windows remain but were complemented by modern replicas during the renovation, the organ is an elaborate Gothic Revival piece, made for the renovation in 1902 and inspired by medieval French organs. Media related to Ardre Church at Wikimedia Commons
An altarpiece is an artwork such as a painting, sculpture or relief representing a religious subject made for placing behind the altar of a Christian church. Altarpieces were one of the most important products of Christian art especially from the late Middle Ages to the era of the Counter-Reformation. Large number of altarpieces are now removed from their settings, and often their elaborate sculpted frameworks. Altarpieces seem to have begun to be used during the 11th century, the reasons and forces that led to the development of altarpieces are not generally agreed upon. The habit of placing decorated reliquaries of saints on or behind the altar, as well as the tradition of decorating the front of the altar with sculptures or textiles, an elaborate example of such an early altarpiece is the Pala dOro in Venice. The appearance and development of these first altarpieces marked an important turning point both in the history of Christian art and Christian religious practice, the autonomous image now assumed a legitimate position at the centre of Christian worship.
Painted panel altars emerged in Italy during the 13th century, in the 13th century, it is not uncommon to find frescoed or mural altarpieces in Italy, mural paintings behind the altar function as visual complements for the liturgy. These altarpieces were influenced by Byzantine art, notably icons, which reached Western Europe in greater numbers following the conquest of Constantinople in 1204. During this time, altarpieces began to be decorated with an outer. Vigoroso da Sienas altarpiece from 1291 display such an altarpiece and this treatment of the altarpiece would eventually pave the way for the emergence, in the 14th century, of the polyptych. The sculpted elements in the emerging polyptychs often took inspiration from contemporary Gothic architecture, in Italy, they were still typically executed in wood and painted, while in northern Europe altarpieces were often made of stone. The early 14th century saw the emergence, in Germany, the Netherlands, the Baltic region, by hinging the outer panels to the central panel and painting them on both sides, the motif could be regulated by opening or closing the wings.
The pictures could thus be changed depending on liturgical demands, the earliest often displayed sculptures on the inner panels, i. e. displayed when open, and paintings on the back of the wings, displayed when closed. With the advent of winged altarpieces, a shift in imagery occurred, instead of being centred on a single holy figure, altarpieces began to portray more complex narratives linked to the Christian concept of salvation. As the Middle Ages progressed, altarpieces began to be commissioned more frequently, in Northern Europe, initially Lübeck and Antwerp would develop into veritable export centres for the production of altarpieces, exporting to Scandinavia and northern France. By the 15th century, altarpieces were often commissioned not only by churches but by individuals, guilds, the 15th century saw the birth of Early Netherlandish painting in the Low Countries, henceforth panel painting would dominate altarpiece production in the area. In Germany, sculpted wooden altarpieces were instead generally preferred, while in England alabaster was used to a large extent, in England, as well as in France, stone retables enjoyed general popularity.
In Italy both stone retables and wooden polyptychs were common, with painted panels and often with complex framing in the form of architectural compositions
Alva Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Alva on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The oldest parts of the church are the late Romanesque choir, to this the nave was added during the late part of the same century. Construction of the tower started about a hundred years but was never finished. It seems in fact that construction of the came to a rapid end, apart from the half-finished tower. The choir portal is Romanesque in style and carried some sculpted reliefs, the likewise Romanesque northern portal of the church is decorated with sculptures. Inside, the church displays a set of frescos carried out at the end of the Middle Ages, probably just before the reformation, the pulpit dates from 1740 and the unusually decorated altarpiece from 1653. The church was renovated in 1953–54, official site Media related to Alva Church at Wikimedia Commons
Alskog Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Alskog on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The oldest part of the church is the nave, dating from the first quarter of the 13th century and it displays an unusual southern portal, decorated with sculptures. Inside, the nave is divided in two parts by two columns and has a vaulted ceiling. The tower is but from the early 13th century. Its portal show similarities with the portal of Visby Cathedral. The much larger choir and vestry were added circa 1300, the ambition was probably to rebuild the whole church into a larger, Gothic church, but for some reason only the eastern part of the church was rebuilt. Few alterations have been made since the Middle Ages, during the 19th century, some windows were added and new pews installed. The church underwent a renovation in 1964–1965, a few separate medieval sculptures survive, originally part of a 14th-century retable. The church windows have several preserved stained glass panes from around 1300 and they depict scenes from the life of Jesus.
From the time after the Reformation, the pulpit deserves mention and it was made in 1586 and is the oldest pulpit on Gotland. The church has a pair of embroidered bags for collection of alms made in Istanbul in 1775 and they were brought to the church by the priest at the Swedish legation in the city, who was the son of a pastor in Alskog Church. Media related to Alskog Church at Wikimedia Commons Official site
Bunge Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Bunge on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. Archaeological excavations carried out in 1916 and 1971 have shown that the present, mainly Gothic church was pre-dated by a Romanesque church, the massive, fortress-like tower of the church is somewhat but belonged to this first edifice. The church and churchyard are surrounded by a wall which originally reached much higher and had a defensive purpose, four medieval gates still survive in the wall. The church complex evidently has fulfilled a role, as there are marks from pikes and crossbow bolts in the sturdy tower-door. In addition, the inside of the church is decorated with frescos depicting, among other things. The frescos and the wall may date from the short period in history when Gotland belonged to the Teutonic Order. This has led scholars to speculate whether the church for a time might have been owned by the crusading Order. The church is one of the largest on northern Gotland, as mentioned, it displays a mix between Romanesque and Gothic.
The church has a finely carved southern portal, rich in sculpture, the most distinguishing feature of the interior is no doubt the richly painted walls, with frescos executed by a master painter probably from Prussia or Bohemia. As for the previously mentioned depicted knights, scholars have different views of what they may depict or represent, one theory is that they are Teutonic knights. A single remaining painted glass window remains, a font from the 13th century and an oddity, a mite box in stone. Media related to Bunge Church at Wikimedia Commons
Ala Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Ala on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The oldest part of the church is the nave, erected during the 12th century. The choir was added during the middle of the 13th century, the presently visible church lacks an apse, typically for churches on Gotland, and instead has a straight eastern wall. The tower is older than the choir. The southern portals of the church exhibit some unusual stone sculptures, the church is decorated with medieval frescos, consisting of two sets made separately at different times. The oldest date from the late 13th century and depict legendary animals, the church was ravaged by fire in 1938, and most of the furnishings, including a 13th-century triumphal cross, were destroyed. The medieval baptismal font, made of local limestone, was among the few items that survived. In 1938–1940, restoration work was carried out, and the church got a new organ in 1955, media related to Ala Church at Wikimedia Commons
An angel, especially according to Abrahamic religions and Zoroastrianism, is a spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence. Most of them either as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth, or as guardian spirits. They are studied in the doctrine of angelology. In Christian Science, the angel is used to refer to an inspiration from God. In fine art, angels are depicted as having the shape of human beings of extraordinary beauty, they are often identified using the symbols of bird wings, halos. The word angel in English is a blend of Old English engel, both derive from Late Latin angelus messenger, which in turn was borrowed from Late Greek ἄγγελος ángelos. According to R. S. P. Beekes, ángelos itself may be an Oriental loan, the words earliest form is Mycenaean a-ke-ro attested in Linear B syllabic script. The ángelos is the default Septuagints translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mal’ākh denoting simply messenger without specifying its nature. In the Latin Vulgate, the meaning becomes bifurcated, if the word refers to some supernatural being, the word angelus appears.
Such differentiation has been taken over by vernacular translations of the Bible, early Christian and Jewish exegetes, in Zoroastrianism there are different angel-like figures. For example, each person has one guardian angel, called Fravashi and they patronize human beings and other creatures, and manifest Gods energy. In the commentaries of Proclus on the Timaeus of Plato, Proclus uses the terminology of angelic, according to Aristotle, just as there is a First Mover, so, must there be spiritual secondary movers. The Torah uses the terms מלאך אלהים, מלאך יהוה, בני אלהים and הקודשים to refer to beings traditionally interpreted as angels, texts use other terms, such as העליונים. The term מלאך is used in books of the Tanakh. Depending on the context, the Hebrew word may refer to a messenger or to a supernatural messenger. Daniel is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name, mentioning Gabriel in Daniel 9,21 and these angels are part of Daniels apocalyptic visions and are an important part of all apocalyptic literature.
One of these is hāšāṭān, a figure depicted in the Book of Job, philo of Alexandria identifies the angel with the Logos inasmuch as the angel is the immaterial voice of God. The angel is something different from God himself, but is conceived as Gods instrument, in post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels took on particular significance and developed unique personalities and roles
A rood or rood cross, sometimes known as a triumphal cross, is a cross or crucifix, especially the large Crucifixion set above the entrance to the chancel of a medieval church. Alternatively, it is a sculpture or painting of the crucifixion of Jesus. Rood is a word for pole, from Old English rōd pole, specifically cross, from Proto-Germanic *rodo, cognate to Old Saxon rōda. Rood was originally the only Old English word for the instrument of Jesus Christs death, the words crúc and in the North cros appeared by late Old English, crucifix is first recorded in English in the Ancrene Wisse of about 1225. More precisely, the Rood was the True Cross, the wooden cross used in Christs crucifixion. The word remains in use in names, such as Holyrood Palace. The phrase by the rood was used in swearing, e. g. No, by the rood, the alternative term triumphal cross, which is more usual in Europe, signifies the triumph that the resurrected Jesus Christ won over death. In church architecture the rood, or rood cross, is a life-sized crucifix displayed on the axis of a church.
The earliest roods hung from the top of the arch, or rested on a plain rood beam across it. This original arrangement is found in many churches in Germany and Scandinavia. If the choir is separated from the interior by a rood screen, the rood cross is placed on, or more rarely in front of. Under the rood is usually the altar of the Holy Cross, numerous near life-size crucifixes survive from the Romanesque period or earlier, with the Gero Cross in Cologne Cathedral and the Volto Santo of Lucca the best known. Many figures in precious metal are recorded in Anglo-Saxon monastic records, notables sometimes gave their crowns, necklaces, or swords to decorate them. As in examples the Virgin and Saint John often flank the cross, a gilt rood in the 10th-century Mainz Cathedral was only placed on a beam on special feast days. In the Romanesque era the crucified Christ was presented as ruler, instead of a crown of thorns he wears a crown or a halo, on his feet he wears shoes as a sign of the ruler. His feet are parallel to other on the wooden support.
The perizoma is highly stylized and falls in vertical folds, in the transition to the Gothic style, the triumphant Christ becomes suffering Christ, the pitiful Man of Sorrows. Instead of the crown, he wears the crown of thorns
Burs Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Burs on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The church in Burs derives its shape from the fact that it was built in stages. The nave is the oldest part of the church, dating from the early 13th century, the large tower was built in the middle of the same century, while the un-proportionally large Gothic choir was built a century later, replacing an earlier Romanesque choir and apse. Externally, the church is not least for its choir portal. The doorway displays Gothic sculptures depicting a blessing Christ and saints, as well as a large frieze spanning the whole of the portal, the choir, and hence the choir portal, was probably built by a stonemasons workshop sometimes referred to as Master Egypticus. The same workshop probably made an unusual, very elaborate carved limestone bench inside the church, the interior is spacious and airy. Of furnishings, the altarpiece deserves special mention and it is an unusually accomplished work of art made in Lübeck or northern Germany during the first half of the 15th century.
The church has a cross from the 13th century, traces of medieval stained glass paintings and several pieces if furnishings which are later. The church was renovated in 1960-1964. Media related to Burs Church at Wikimedia Commons