Stars and Saints

2009.Apr.02 Thursday · 0 comments

in Life

“The Star of David [in Hebrew, the Magen David or Shield of David] is renowned as the sacred symbol of the Jewish faith. Indeed, the Star of David is the distinguishing feature on the Israeli flag and as an ornament of jewelry the Star of David is proudly worn by millions of devout Jews worldwide. Yes, the Star of David is purely Jewish. Or is it?”

– Swami B. G. Narasingha, Star of David or Star of Goloka?

Basilica de San Ponciano

La Plata – A recent visit to this provincial capital made for a pleasant day’s outing. Not somewhere I haven’t been before, many times, and written about, but it was new for two friends who wanted to see the town. It was a beautiful day and we managed to get in a visit to the Cathedral, a walk through the government building district, the university campus, and a walk through the main park. On our way back to the bus terminal, we happened across the Basilica de San Ponciano (a 3rd century archbishop), a church I’ve seen before but not stopped into, and we thought we’d just take a peek inside. Turns out it’s quite pretty, very elaborate.

Basilica de San Ponciano

What caught my eye, however, was the display of whichever one of the virgins they had behind glass, alongside a velvet flag with numerous “Stars of David” on it. My initial reaction was a sort of puzzled, this is out of place reaction. However, it’s worth remembering that the six pointed star is not unique to the Jewish faith – and, in fact, was either adopted from other cultures, or simply come up with independently. It’s actually not an uncommon symbol in many older cathedrals and basilicas where it historically represents, alongside a statue of the virgin Mary, her “clan”, i.e., that she was a part of the lineage of King David… Jewish. It has also, at times, been conjectured to be a reduced form representation of the “universal rose”, or symbol of the life-giving force of Mother Nature.

Basilica de San Ponciano

Basilica de San Ponciano


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