SOPHIA-MER-CHRIST

At the Mount Saint Alphonsus Retreat Center, a former Roman Catholic Seminary in Esopus, New York, along the Hudson River, I encountered the most amazing depiction of Jesus I have ever seen. I came to call this statue "Sophia-mer-Christ."  Created by the artist Anthony DiLorenzo, the statue is a rendering of the kind of ecofeminist Christology envisioned for Creation-Crisis preaching.  Sadly, the statue and room in which it was housed was destroyed when the retreat center was sold in 2012.  These pictures are all that remains of the arwork, save for the Madonna and Child which is housed at the Redomptorist community in New York.

Sophia-Mer-Christ.1

Sophia-Mer-Christ.1

Sophia-Mer-Christ. Notice how the figure plays tricks on both gender perception and images of human/animal traits. The figure seems to be hovering in a vulva-like opening an wears what appears to be a woman's aqua-marine robe. From the waist down, the figure looks like a mermaid. Notice, too, that water appears to be flowing from the sides of the figure. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Leah D. Schade

Sophia-Mer-Christ.2

Sophia-Mer-Christ.2

Changes in lighting in the room highlighted different aspects of the figure's face. Sometimes he appears smiling, other times grimacing. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Ken Hilston

Sophia-Mer-Christ.3

Sophia-Mer-Christ.3

Different "faces" of Jesus appear from different perspectives. Sometimes he looks old and weary, other times young and wide-eyed. At one angle he appears African, at another Caucasian, then Asian, then Middle Eastern. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Leah D. Schade

Sophia-Mer-Christ.4

Sophia-Mer-Christ.4

Standing directly beside him, viewing his profile, Jesus appears pregnant! Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Leah D. Schade

Sophia-Mer-Christ.5

Sophia-Mer-Christ.5

His full, round womb appears to be at the end of the second trimester. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Leah D. Schade

Sophia-Mer-Christ.6

Sophia-Mer-Christ.6

The bread he holds emerges directly from his chest. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Leah D. Schade

Sophia-Mer-Christ.7

Sophia-Mer-Christ.7

Bread and body are joined so that he appears to be giving his very breast, like a woman feeding the world. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Leah D. Schade

Madonna and Child.1

Madonna and Child.1

This artwork was on a side wall in the room with Sophia-Mer-Christ. The babe is swaddled in the same aqua-blue that swirls around him as an adult. The darker blue that lines his robe as an adult is echoed in the robe surrounding his mother, reminding us of the feminine aspect of Jesus. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Ken Hilston.

Madonna and Child.2

Madonna and Child.2

Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Ken Hilston.

Madonna and Child.3

Madonna and Child.3

This artwork portrays the tenderness and vulnerability of the mother and child and highlights the relational incarnation of Christ. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Ken Hilston.

Cross

Cross

"The place of the skull" in the room evokes the notion that Christ suffers in solidarity with all Creation. Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Ken Hilston.

Skull beneath cross

Skull beneath cross

Perhaps the symbolic significance of placing the deer's skull beneath the cross is meant to draw our attention to the ways in which nonhuman beings suffer as a result of human evil. - Artwork by Anthony DiLorenzo. Photograph by Ken Hilston.