March 16th, 2015

Church of St. Euphemia – the center of Easter celebration in Croatia is glad to inform that Croatian Post is to release a special stamp celebrating an upcoming Easter. The stamp depicts an ancient Church of St. Euphemia. The issue is to be released and put into circulation on the 16th of March.

On the acropolis of Rovinj there stands a wonderful and ancient Church of St. Euphemia. On the place of a pristine small house of worship, with sarcophagus and earthy remains of the old Christian woman martyr, overlooking the sun-bathed sea, the church developed in the period of Baroque to its today’s impressive size and gorgeous outfit. Although in the period of Napoleon’s conquest it remained without an important part of its treasury, it is still full of precious works of art, some of which were made by famous artists, while the others speak from their anonymity, using clear stylistic language of the period.

Among these last, worth mentioning is a very interesting procession inventory, several baroque wooden sculptures or groups of sculptures on long rods. These sculptures stand in lateral chapels and interconnected by a walk through the church, create an entire small theatre. That impression is even more powerful if you imagine them in movement, lifted high above a mass of people, moving like saint dolls in ceremonies, communicating in their gold and silver with light and enlightening the semi-darkness. The most unusual among these figures can be associated with Easter.

Actually, its rare and direct metaphoric suggests it. From the golden chalice, like live Host, there rises ‒ it could also be said there emerges ‒ from the waist upwards, Christ’s body. Christ is leaning on the cross with golden rays, holding in hands his loincloth which, turning into a baroque ornament, overflows to reach the small angel at the bottom of the chalice. The artist restored the “Take, eat; this is my body” from the transformation in bread and stylisation in Host to a realistic starting point. By double inversion the Host is not understood as the body, but the body is understood as the Host.

Equally, read in the same key, the substance in chalice out of which the Christ’s body emerges, is not wine, but blood. The chalice is, of course, a sacrificial dish, a dish of transubstantiation, and the substance which is generated in it rises into the heights, showing the way. In that height, the height of liberation, also the idea of sacrifice is expressed. That idea and that promise is Easter. In our churches, often not on main altars, but somewhere at side, sometimes even in hidden corners, there stand unexpected splendours. Such is also this work of art from the St. Euphemia Church in Rovinj.

Easter and Christmas, the two most important Christian holidays, provide an incentive and a possibility to show on postage stamps rarities and values from whole Croatia. This time it is from Istria, that Croatian Post sends the profoundest Easter message to the world.

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