Illustration of a scene set in the Novel "Fabiola/The Church of the Catacombs" by Cardinal Wiseman.The story is set in Rome in the early 4th century AD, during the time of the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
The heroine of the book is Fabiola, a young beauty from a noble Roman family. She is spoiled by her father Fabius, who cannot deny her anything. Fabiola seems to have everything, including a superior education in the philosophers, yet under the surface, she is not content with her life. One day, in a fit of rage, she attacks and wounds her slave girl Syra, who is a secret Christian with a stiletto (a small, decorative knife used by Roman Ladys to punish their slaves) As the blood gushes from the wound Fabiola is ashamed of what she has done and orders Syra to go and have the wound dressed, but before she goes she gives Syra a beautiful emerald ring to make amends more for her own sake as opposed to Syra's. Later that week when the Priest gathered the contributions for the poor in the Catacombs he finds the emerald ring and assumes that some wealthy, noble lady has donated it for the use of the poor, little does he suspect that a slave girl with a bandaged arm was the one who gave it.The proud, spoiled Roman girl is humbled by Syra's humility, maturity and devotion to her in this situation, and a slow transformation begins, which finally culminates in her conversion to Christianity, brought on by Syra and of her own cousin Agnes(St. Agnes), whom she adores and dotes on.Another thread of the story deals with the young boy Pancratius, a pious Christian and son of a martyr, who is himself preparing for martyrdom. Pancratius' nemesis is Corvinus, a bullying schoolmate who is irritated by the young Christian's saintliness. He does everything to bring him and the Christian community of the catacombs down. This includes the orchestrating of the lynching of their former teacher Cassianus, who is secretly Christian. Yet Pancratius shows his enemy the meaning of Christian forgiveness when he saves his life shortly after Corvinus had Cassianus killed.Another major villain in the story is the enigmatic Fulvius, an apparently rich young man from the East who soon reveals himself to be a hunter of Christians who turns them in to the authorities for money. His aim on the one hand is to gain the hand of either Fabiola or Agnes, and on the other hand, to uproot the Christian community in Rome and who also has a mysterious connection to Syra.The story also weaves a number of martyrdom accounts and legends of real-life Christian saints into the fictitious story. These include Saint Agnes, Saint Sebastian, Saint Pancras (Pancratius), Saint Cassian (Cassianus), Saint Emerentiana, and Saint Tarcisius. Two exceptions are the characters of Fabiola and of the blind beggar girl Caecilia, Syra's friend and fellow Christian; though they do bear saints' names, are not identical with Saint Fabiola (who lived later) and Saint Cecilia (whose legend is very different from Caecilia's story in the novel). This book as very easily become my favorite
, which is unbelievable considering how much I read, but I definitely encourage everyone to read this book.It is aA historical picture of the early church in pagan Rome, illustrating the glories of the Christian martyrs and it is a beautiful, uplifting and inspiring book. Here is thlink for anyone interested in reading it [link]
Now to take a look at this piece: The setting is in a Roman Villa belonging to the main character overlooking the city of Rome. Fabiola, seated on couch of luxurious fabrics brought from different parts of the world, I gave them a somewhat Indian feel. Each of her female slaves are dressed according to their native land, Graea, the greek, Afra, from northern africa, and Syra from the east, much more humble in her attire. The walls are decorated with a roman motif boaarder and lapis lazuli. I tried to make the floor have blood stone tiles. I almost got the proportions right, in any case theyre better than my last attempt if youve seen my "Jesus, Martha and Mary" Piece
Anyways thats all I say for now, thanks for the support