Monthly Archives: June 2006

But Tragic Opera Will Cheer Us Up!

Seriously… I am highly cheered to learn from rec.arts.sf.written the following piece of old, yet still juicy, news.

It seems that our well beloved Somtow Papinian Sucharitkul (aka Somtow Sucharitkul or S.P. Somtow, to eighties and nineties science fiction fans, respectively) has a perfectly good reason for not having put out many novels lately, and for not hanging around the ol’ con suite.

He founded the Bangkok Opera! And put on the Ring Cycle! With Thai and Buddhist staging!

If you’ve read anything by Somtow (that’s his family name), you already know that this is the PERFECT fit for his talents. After all, he already wrote an entire novel cycle that was just like an opera. He’s also intensely proud of his native land, and determined to help it get forward in the world. So this is awesome.

I do love the uncharacteristically scruffy artiste look….

It also amuses me that the New York Times cannot bring itself to mention those unmentionable words which most aptly describe Somtow’s output: “science fiction”, “fantasy”, and “horror”. Cult. Well, admittedly, Somtow’s horror is splatterpunk, ie, grosser than normal horror, which is why I don’t read his horror. Maybe that’s what they mean by cult.
I’m also vastly amused to learn that Somtow, in his composer mode, did his own finishing off of Turandot‘s last act. I bet it’s awesome. He’s got scads of talent and skill. I don’t normally like “modern” music, but I have to say I appreciated Somtow’s album of music for his big huge galactic cycle o’ books. Not too many filk symphonies out there, I’m tellin’ ya.

You don’t meet too many Renaissance men these days (except in the SCA, where you also meet a lot of Renaissance women and large weapons). Somtow is definitely one. I will always enjoy the memory of talking to him in a con suite he was minding while everyone else was still asleep, with no other company but somebody’s kitten. I hope we meet again someday.

And I shall definitely have to think about tourism in Thailand. If I can raise the cash and the opera’s got tickets, I really want to see the Bangkok Opera and Somtow’s productions. They look like his novels looked like in my head, and that’s a good thing.


There’s a DVD of Somtow’s Aida!  (With sample clips I could see if they weren’t .wmv, sigh.)

There are CDs out of Somtow conducting opera! With free sample songs! Yay!

Nancy Yuen – Somtow Sucharitkul: Per l’Amore

Somtow Sucharitkul: Requiem: In Memoriam 9/11 (I think I’d heard about this.)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2,996: The September 11th Commemoration

Since today already has a distinctly elegiac tone, I guess it won’t depress anybody any worse to mention that I’ve signed up for the September 11th blogburst of memorials for individual victims. If you would like to participate, please go to the 2,996 site and sign up.

I don’t agree with the site that we remember people to keep them alive. (Not a very nice thought, that any anonymous person is dead. No, the dead live whether we remember them or not. They’re more alive than we are.) But I do agree that it is important to remember the dead. For our own sake. We are better for remembering what we have lost, and for refusing to allow the dead to become an undifferentiated mass of sadness. We need to hold the wake, and tell the fun stories about the dead, and raise a toast to them for being what they were — for being what they are.

The gentleman I will be reminding the world about is named Brian E. Martineau.  I am glad to have the honor of learning about him, and telling you what I find.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Passing of Jim Baen

Jim Baen passed away at five o’clock last evening. Before I heard about his coma, even.

I know a lot of folks who read things here aren’t big science fiction fans. But I assure you that in this field, the editors are still a big deal. Editors shaped the field traditionally, and they still do. Probably no modern editor has had quite as much power to do as he wished, though, as Jim Baen of Baen Books. His empire was small, quirky, outspoken, cheerfully political, occasionally tacky; but shrewd, hospitable to differing views, open to new writers, and unafraid to experiment. The reason for all of that was mostly Jim Baen.

His life was a very good thing for the field, but he did not die without preparing his little empire to go on without him. (He was always one of the field’s more prescient members.) His care for his legacy alone would mark him as great.

He will be missed.

His full obituary, written by David Drake, is on (Mr. Baen requested this the day before his stroke. See, I told you he was prescient.) But there is also a tribute up on‘s front page which you should go see.

Here’s a few words that aren’t mine, but which seem fitting. They really should be decorated with bright yellow and orange lettering, a lady in space armor with a big laser gun, several dragons, and an exploding spaceship. And Prudentius himself, in his toga or his soldiering uniform, of course. And St. Michael, with a side order of Belisarius.

Fountain of life, supernal Fire,
Who didst unite in wondrous wise
The soul that lives, the clay that dies,
And mad’st them Man: eternal Sire,

Both elements Thy will obey,
Thine is the bond that joins the twain,
And, while united they remain,
Spirit and body own Thy sway.

Yet they must one day disunite,
Sunder in death this mortal frame;
Dust to the dust from whence it came,
The spirit to its heavenward flight.

For all created things must wane,
And age must break the bond at last;
The diverse web that Life held fast
Death’s fingers shall unweave again

Yet, gracious God, Thou dost devise
The death of Death for all Thine own;
The path of safety Thou hast shown
Whereby the doomèd limbs may rise:

So that, while fragile bonds of earth
Man’s noblest essence still enfold,
That part may yet the sceptre hold
Which from pure aether hath its birth.

For if the earthy will hold sway,
By gross desires and aims possessed,
The soul, too, by the weight oppressed,
Follows the body’s downward way.

But if she scorn the guilt that mars–
Still mindful of her fiery sphere
She bears the flesh, her comrade here,
Back to her home beyond the stars.

The lifeless body we restore
To earth, must slumber free from pain
A little while, that it may gain
The spirit’s fellowship once more.

The years will pass with rapid pace
Till through these limbs the life shall flow,
And the long-parted spirit go
To seek her olden dwelling-place.

Then shall the body, that hath lain
And turned to dust in slow decay,
On airy wings be borne away
And join its ancient soul again.

…Yet till Thou dost build up again
This mortal structure by Thy hand,
In what far world wilt Thou command
The soul to rest, now free from stain?

— from “Hymn for the Burial of the Dead” by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius

(translated by R. Martin Pope)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Prayers Needed

Publisher Jim Baen, of Baen Books, had a stroke on June 12 and is still in a coma down in Chapel Hill. Please pray for his healing, and for the comforting of his loved ones, friends, and employees.

Lord, You are the Word, and so all publishers serve You. You are the Physician, and You can heal if You only say the word. Look with favor upon Your servant Jim Baen, Lord, and aid him. If it be Your will, bring him back to work, healthy and strong. May all his suffering and that of his friends and loved ones turn into a blessing in the end. And may Baen Books prosper despite this time of uncertainty, and spread all the best dreams of Your Truth.

Also, please pray for the soul of blogger and curmudgeon Rob “Acidman” Smith, who died on Monday and will be cremated tomorrow.  “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He was loved and hated, did good and bad, but could never be accused of being lukewarm.

“Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, save the souls of all the faithful departed from the punishment of Hell and from the bottomless pit. Free them from the lion’s mouth, lest Tartarus swallow them up, lest they fall into darkness. May the standardbearer, St. Michael, lead them into the holy light which was promised to Abraham and his seed…

“May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

More Joy in Heaven

Poor Dryden doesn't get much respect, but he got even less back in the day. I went looking for something Drydenish today, and found these charming words from the editor of his collected poetic works:

….when we consider the blasphemy, profanity, and filth of Dryden's plays, and the unsettled and veering state of hisreligious and political opinions, we are almost glad to find him becoming "anything," although it was only the votary of a dead and corrupted form of Christianity. You like to see the fierce, capricious, and destructive torrent fixed, although it be fixed in ice.

That he found comfort in his new religion, and proved his sincerity by rearing up his children in the faith which his wife had also embraced,and by remaining a Roman Catholic after the Revolution, and to his own pecuniary loss, has often been asserted. But surely there is a point where the most inconsistent man is obliged to stop, if he would escape
the character of an absolute weather-cock; and that there are charms and comforts in the Popish creed for one who felt with Dryden, that he had, partly in his practice, and far more in his writings, sinned against the laws of morality and common decency, we readily grant. Whether these charms be legitimate, and these comforts sound, is a very different question…On the whole, this passage of the poet's life is not very creditable to his memory, and his indiscriminate admirers had better let it alone.

Reforming yourself, living a decent life, and raising your children to do the same isn't worthy of much credit. Also, maintaining your faith in the face of persecution is just another way of avoiding your neighbors thinking ill of you. Yeahhhhh. Uh huh. The Rev. George Gilfillan had a very strange idea of both Christianity and logic, I'd say.


Filed under Uncategorized

Cantus Gettus Back from DC before 10 PM

I've been at the CMAA Colloquium in DC the last few days, and saw a few folks there that I knew. (Most importantly, my brother and sister-in-law, who live in northern Virginia and whom I visited with, but not for as long as I'd have liked.)

The big surprise was seeing Fr. Martin Fox, whom longtime readers of this blog will remember was my parish's assistant pastor before he got his own parish. It was logical to see him there, though, as he loves chant. It was pretty neat to see him say Mass again (which he did at one of the daily Masses… more on that stuff later.) He also blogged during the colloquium, so go take a look at his take.

He, like me, was in the sad position of missing my parish's Big Farewell Party yesterday for our pastor of fifteen years, Fr. Manning. (Which wouldn't have happened if the parish folks had scheduled the farewell as soon as they knew what was happening, instead of three-four weeks ago….)  But my mom and dad went, along with huge chunks of Kettering and a lot of the priests in our area, and it was a very big deal. The big joke was that the parish people timed the homilies and Masses this weekend just as Fr. Manning always did, and for once his homilies got longer, as the time got closer to his last Mass in the parish. At the 12:30, his homily lasted a good twenty minutes!

Also, somebody noticed that, after all these years of driving across town to keep an eye on his mother at night instead of sleeping in the rectory, Fr. Manning's car had a lot of miles on it. So there was a secret raising of donations to buy him a new car, as well as a secret installation of some kind of commemorative stained glass window in the sacristy. (Which is on the side toward the rectory, and which Father is in and out of every day, so the Secret Plan of Installation must have been very good.) Also, my mother said the music at the last Mass was very good (though of course she said she missed my voice — she's my mom!) and that the reception afterwards was a feast. So apparently everybody went all out. (But we'll still see Father, as he'll be working right up the street at Alter High School and assistant pastoring at St. Henry's.)

I also saw Fr. Geoffrey Keyes, another member of St. Blog's. (Rifugio San Gaspare is the new version of the old New Gasparian.) He's a Missionary of the Precious Blood, just like our older priest, Fr. Tom Beischel. (I knew this, but I had the info stored in different boxes.) It's a small world, isn't it? 

I am still extremely tired from the demanding schedule, but mostly I'm sleepy from having my plane get in late. So much for not taking the later flight!

I was planning on going back to work today, too. Oh, well, back to billing. I'll blog more about the colloquium later. Which, btw, a lot of the 80-some attendees found out about from the dancing note ad and the mentions on blogs, especially Amy Welborn's. This was said so often that even the non-blog readers got to know her name. So…
When we were getting our picture taken at the end of the colloquium, the photographer kept saying stuff to make us laugh, like "This is for the New York Times!" At the end, he said, "This is the really important one!" So I said, "It's for Amy Welborn."

This got a pretty big laugh. 

Oh, and thanks to Mike Aquilina for his nice mention of this blog. Nobody's ever called my prose "sparkling" before. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lead Pipe Pinch.

In yet another stunning example of EU bureaucratic protection of the people, pipe organs are about to be declared illegal throughout the European Union.

Yes, lead is very bad. Nothing with lead in it must be allowed. But organ pipes are made of a lead alloy.


When they banned lead gaming miniatures, I said that was just the tip of the camel's nose. Now the camel's standing not just inside the tent, but directly on top of the campers. Spitting at them.


Filed under Church

Going Up in the World….

After a long, sad time of constantly falling, it appears that this little blog is again moving up the TTLB Ecosystem. No longer am I a Lowly Insect; I am a Slimy Mollusc once more. And who knows? Perhaps I will soon be a Flappy Bird again! 

(If the system breaks again, that is.) 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Veleia website’s news page in English

I experienced a lot of difficulty getting onto this page because of bad Javascript. (Or my browser's bad handling of it.) So here's the URL for you, and a copy.

Archaeologists in the site of Iruña-Veleia have discovered an epigraphic set "among the most important of the Roman world," with a series of 270 inscriptions and drawings from the 3rd century and a representation of a Calvary, "the most ancient known up to this moment."

The managers of the archaeological site, located near the Alavan town of Nanclares de Oca, have officially unveiled these findings, identified and analysed last summer.

The tools with the inscriptions and drawings, most of them ceramics, were found in a room of the "Domus de pompeia valentina," one of the urban residences of the old city of Veleia, built up in the last quarter of the first century and inhabited until the fifth century.

A 57-square metre room was found in that town, sealed as in a "time capsule with its contents untouched," and inside there were feeding remains and fragments of different recipients and other tools that had been used for writing.

The Egypt expert of the University of Barcelona Montserrat Rius has explained that some Latin inscriptions refer to the ancient Egyptian history and its divinities, and has noted there are also hieroglyphic inscriptions "with a perfect layout" that make experts think they were taught to children.

In the findings, the "early and extraordinary testimonies of Christianisation" stand out. For instance, the presentation of a Calvary, "the most ancient known up to this moment," a small piece "between eight and ten square centimetres."

Archaeologists also highlighted that "this is one of the most important epigraphic sets in the Roman world," as important as those in Pompeii, Rome or Vindolanda (northern England).

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Speak No Snark of the Dead…

My grandma was recently very ill and underwent surgery. Afterwards, she was very restless and reluctant to follow doctor’s orders. She ended up giving herself a relapse. Apparently, the patience of my dad and his sister finally snapped, and trenchant remarks were spoken as to the advisability of following doctor’s orders if she ever wanted to be well.

Apparently, Grandma then snapped, “I don’t care; I’ll just be an invalid like my twin sister.”

Said twin had passed away a few years before. But in my family, we don’t take that sort of thing lying down, even if we’re in the grave.

And sure enough, that very night, Grandma had a dream in which her twin told her to eat, follow doctor’s orders, “and stop being so obnoxious!”

Which is even funnier, because Auntie B. was not exactly great at following doctor’s orders herself…. 🙂

Anyway, Grandma is much better and eating like a horse for the first time in years. So don’t discount the power of the Communion of Saints, especially those in your own family. Since nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, and we are all part of His Body, we are always together.


Filed under Church, Humor

The Vatican sent folks to Iruña Veleia

The Vatican sent various emissaries to substantiate the Iruña Veleia materials

The Holy See shows its interest in all the fragments

The Christian-themed inscriptions in Basque and images from Jesus' life are unique in the world

By Elena Arteagoitia

VITORIA: These days, the international archaeological community looks, with astonishment, to Alava, where they have found the world's oldest epigraphic representation of a scene from the life of Jesus — the Veleia Calvary — as well as inscriptions on Christian themes in Basque, at least a half millennium earlier that those which made the monasteries of Suso and Yuso in San Millán de la Cogolla get named Humanity Heritage sites. The expectation has come to such a point that even the Vatican has shown its interest in one of the most important epigraphic groups from the Roman world, which archaeologists at the Alavesan site have found.

According to what ecclesiastical sources have told this newspaper, emissaries of Pope Benedict XVI knew of the appearance of these materials several weeks ago. But the relevance of the fragments found, over all in their date (the third century after Christ and in a time of persecution of the Christian faithful), made the Holy See send some specialists in the Roman era from the Curia to the Alavesan enclave, to substantiate in situ the importance of a piece like the Calvary, the ostrakas with asaetado(?) pagan gods, as well as the graffiti in Basque on other materials that point to this same time.
The Vatican emissaries certified that, in spite of their simplicity, the epigraphic material found in Iruña Veleia that dated from the third century before Christ, is of great historical value, because no other graphic representation so early of the Son of God's death is known. Not even on the walls of the catacombs in Rome, according to the director of the archaeological site, Eliseo Gil, does one find a recognizable figure of Christ drawn on his road to Mt. Golgotha and crucified on the cross, as reported by the Diario de Noticias de Alava.

All the same, the discovery requires a historical revision of the hypotheses that were held about the origin of Christianity in the Basque Country that, until now, were only testified to by archaeological sites 200 years more recent; that is to say, from the fifth century after Christ, with the church discovered in Salinillas de Buradón.

Also, in spite of the image disinterred in Iruña Veleia having been made public this week, the Diocese of Vitoria already knew beforehand of the appearance of the piece and its relevant significance. Representatives of the Diocese made the discovery known to the highest levels of the Holy See, which immediately sent its own observers to the Alavesan site.

During the visit, the emissaries could substantiate in situ the value of the precious find, as well as praising the state of conservation of the pieces in front of the archaeologists. And this carried weight, in that they had still not made public that the pieces had passed the carbon 14 and particle accelerator detection tests in various European labs.

At that time, the conclusion of the visit of the Holy See's emissaries was kept under the strictest secrecy. But the material discovered already had surprised the most eminent ecclesiastical specialists, accustomed to preserve and study materials from this Roman epoch found in other sites of the first importance over everybody in the world, and which usually end up in display cases under intense security measures.

From the period that the Calvary is dated, the third century, when Christian communities were persecuted in the Roman Empire, they only knew until this time that logo images had appeared, mainly, decorating the walls of the catacombs, though with little figure detail. At the moment, the finds that have galvanized investigators, politicians, and various personalities of the academic world, are in the Museum of Archaeology in Vitoria.

Leave a comment

Filed under Church, Translations

Translation of Iruna Veleia article: Other Early Christian sites in area.

From Diario de Noticias de Álava, June 8, 2006

Sacred Footprints
The oldest archaeological remains of Christianity in Alava date from the fifth century. In Salinillas de Buradon — 38 km from Vitoria and only 8 from Haro in La Rioja — an early Christian church was discovered from this time. Also, Iruna Veleia also offered, years ago, a "lamp practically complete of African Sigillata, made in Tunisia, decorated in a mold, with the picture of a Chrismon in a disc" from this same time. What's more, according to the book Romanization, "there are two graffiti with Christian symbols" (a monogram of the name of Christ with the letters X and P, principally).
The experts deduced then that in late Roman times there existed, at least, a firmly established parish community. Doubtless, the hypothesis that was argued because the doctrine of Jesus as installed in the territory in a slow way, and later, was demolished by the latest discoveries revealed at the Iruna Veleia site.

The array of epigraphs recovered in Iruna Veleia point out that already in the third century — that is to say, 200 years early than seen before — followers of Christianity existed in Alava. The finds from this Alavesan site have been profound. Detailed images of Calvary give the idea that at this time, with the Christians subject to fierce persecution, worship was already being rendered to Jesus.

All these ceramic shards, worthy of study, in good certainty will rewrite the history of Christianity in Alava. Were Christians in the territory, in a city under Roman rule and in a time when the followers of Jesus suffered martyrdom in the circus arena or in other ways equally cruel? Until what point was Christianity tolerated by Rome? What is the value that these iconographies have if they take into account that the first images, venerated in the Vatican are from various centuries later than these pieces of extraordinary simplicity? The best part of these unknowns can be cleared up after the relevant studies. But what's clear is that Christianity implanted itself in Alava with great rapidity. Before 300 years had passed from the death of Jesus on the cross, already there were devotees of the new faith in the territory. A devotion that in after centuries would become more obvious with the finds and pieces that they exhibit in the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art of the Catedral Nueva, as in the Alavesan Museum of Archaeology.

Churches and Hermits

Oldest buildings

In principle, the early Christian church of Salinillas de Buradon [I think this is a picture of the church mentioned, but they're cool pictures, anyway] had the honor, until now, of being the oldest Christian find in Alava. In fact, it is the oldest church that we know of in the Basque Country. Discovered while prospecting before beginning the construction of new highway, the Christian building even contained a baptismal font. It was about 80 meters square. With the centuries passing, they added an additional front to the building (ninth-tenth centuries) and they transferred the altar to this new construction.

Other worship places more emblematic of the territory can be found in Faido (Penacerrada). The hermitage of medieval origin of Our Lady of the Rock, declared a monument of the Basque cultural heritage, has the uniqueness of being excavated into the rock and converted centuries ago into a refuge for hermits.

From the exceptional pieces from the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, there's also the tablet of Bolivar, where the inscription makes reference to Albaro, Bishop of Veleia and Armentia. This stone dates from the 9th century, in a time when the Muslim invasion of the Ebro Valley forced the flight from the Diocese of Calahorra to other areas where there was no permanent presence of the Crescent.

The major and minor lattices of Obecuri date back a millennium. In this same place is also found an altar with a place indicated (a hole in the stone) to put relics. Also, in the 1st and 2nd museum rooms are found other elements of the funerary world (steles, sepulchres), religious furniture (altars), and architectural elements where sculptural work exists (capitals, large windows, gates, canecillos, mensulas). What's more, inside are the remains of buildings or pieces of a Christian character from Kripan (10th-13th century) or Otazu (14th-15th century), among others.

Details of the past, however, that require, with the latest discoveries from Iruna Veleia, a profound revision. And so Christianity in Alava has suddenly gotten more than two centuries older.

Leave a comment

Filed under Church, Translations

Translation: Iruña Veleia lab tests

From Diario de Noticias de Alava:

Toulouse and Groningen laboratories certify the authenticity and dating of the piece

The shard has been submitted to Carbon 14 tests in France and Holland

By Begoña Apellániz
VITORIA: The authenticity of this iconographic representation, unique in the world, found in the Alavesan Roman city of Veleia, passes with flying colors. Two foreign labs submitted the piece to various carbon 14 and particle accelerator tests to certify their initial suspicions with certainty. And in effect, the material sent from Iruña Veleia has been confirmed to be more than 1700 years old, and situates it in the middle of the third century after Christ.

The certification of this Calvary artwork was first declared by the University of Groningen (Holland). There they tested the piece for carbon 14, as well as all the "bone remains and carbonized wood" that are usually found in archaeological sites of a certain value, according to what was pointed out yesterday by the director of the Alavesan excavation, Eliseo Gil. In principle, they submitted all organic materials to the carbon 14 test.

Of course, these pieces also have passed the particle accelerator test, which certifies that the age of the piece is the same as the outline that has been impressed in it. For this purpose, the materials have been sent to the isotope center of the University of Toulouse, located in France.

All the same, with certain elements, as Eliseo Gil stressed yesterday, the materials require many more specific interventions and are submitted to specialists to analyze. In Toulouse they have also certified all the hypotheses, and the experts have declared that the piece dates from the third century and that its outline also corresponds with this same time. "At times they require much more precise analyses — to the letter," explained Gil yesterday, about the methodology of the work that they followed after finding these finds in the excavation.

According to the director of the Alavesan site at the Culture Commission of the General Councils of Alava, "all which is not dirt is processed. We study it all as if at the scene of a crime". This formula of work, in Gil's judgment, assumes the unique form of not ignoring anything and that, however small the piece is, it's noted down and contributes a detail or some kind of information in the array of finds that they discover, for as long as the excavation work goes on. However, as soon as they obtain any material that's likely to contribute some relevant information, they send it to the labs.

1 Comment

Filed under Church, Translations

Translation of Iruña Veleia article

From Diario de Noticias de Alava, June 8, 2006:

In Alava, They Discover the World's Oldest Representation of Jesus' Crucifixion

It Proves Christianity's Arrival in Alava Two Centuries Before It Was Thought

Iruña Veleia appears to be among the most important remains of Roman times

by Begoña Apellániz

VITORIA: A key piece for solving the jigsaw puzzle of Christianity's origins in Alava has been found. The dig at Iruña Veleia has uncovered an ensemble of epigraphs in which, among other valuable pieces, is found a picture of Calvary — the death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ together with the two thieves, and at his feet, two figures that could be the Virgin and St. John — the oldest in the world. Simple in outline, without too much detail, the picture of Jesus' death on the cross is taken as an extraordinary find, as much for the place in which it has been discovered, as for the dating revealed by the different carbon 14 and particle accelerator tests that this piece of ceramic has been subjected to.

The drawing of Calvary found in Veleia from the third century after Christ, has become, in principle, the oldest picture in the world of a scene from the life of Jesus. No other graphic representation of the Son of God's death exists that is as early. Any allusion to the crucifixion scene which took place on the mount of Calvary, either in paintings or on ceramics, is much later than the 3rd century after Christ.


But this picture disinterred in Iruña Veleia isn't important only for its date. More, it demanded a historic revision of the hypotheses about Christianity's origins in Alava that were held until now.

In principle, various experts guessed that the introduction of faith in Jesus happened in a later way, in the Middle Ages. Without a doubt, the appearance of a detail like Calvary reveals that followers of this Christian doctrine already existed, long before it was suspected.

In fact, the Christianization of Alava (a place in the heart of the Roman Empire) had to have occurred, to fit with this piece, very soon after Christ's death — barely 200 years later — and in spite of the difficulties that his followers had in spreading their faith.

In this manner, without suspecting it in the least, the remains of Iruña Veleia have set the clock forward for the time of Christianity's beginnings in Euskadi. [Basque name for the Basque country.] The pagan gods of Rome had already been turfed out by the worship of the One God in the third century, and not two hundred years later, as the archaeological data obtained in different parts of the territory would have had it until now.

In the Diocese of Vitoria, they declined yesterday to make any statement about these archaeological finds discovered in a ruin situated within ten kilometers of Alava's capital. Sources in the Diocese assured that they knew beforehand about the appearance of this piece and its significance. Doubtless, they avoided making pronouncements about the revision of history that is now being considered and which is, in their judgement, the value that they would grant to the precious find.

In any case, the archaeologist team that will offer more details today about this discovery also counts on the presence of a representative of the Diocese, that will attentively follow all the explanations and evaluations that the historians make, according to what was declared yesterday from the episcopal see.


Filed under Church, Translations