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All Saints

figures century illustrations god

The term All Saints refers to all the Christian saints-both known and unknown. References to the liturgical commemoration of the feast of All Saints date from the fourth century in the east and from at least the early seventh century in the west. The feast was officially established in the western church calendar in the early ninth century. Illustrations of All Saints occur in hagiographic and liturgical manuscripts and in representations of heaven, illustrations of theApocalypse, *Last Judgment, Majestas Domini , and Saint Augustine’s City of God . A variety of compositions and formats may be used to illustrate the concept of the heavenly communion of an infinite number of saints. A great many tiny figures (sometimes with general attributes such as crowns and palm branches) may be ranged in tiers, with or without *angels, or surrounding the figure of *Christ or *God enthroned. Half-length figures, busts, and bust medallions may suffice to indicate the heavenly crowd, and oval or circular diagrams may enclose a reduced number of figures indicative of a much larger group. Sometimes inscriptions will identify the saintly categories, and specific saints may be recognized by their individual attributes . Many illustrations of All Saints however, indicate simply a large, undifferentiated crowd of holy figures in heaven.

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