Christian Symbolism in a Church in Florence

While in Florence, Italy recently, we saw the cathedral as well as its baptistry, which was a short walk across the street. This was great, because it followed the model of the ancient Church which often had the baptistry in a separate building. Candidates would be baptized during the Easter vigil and then walked over to the main church building after their baptisms to participate in their first Communion celebration with the rest of the congregation.

I really like the imagery on this particular baptistry. Above the door (pictured below) were three statues. Jesus is in the middle, being baptized by John the Baptist on the right, with an image of the Holy Spirit on the left.

This is such a great symbol for the newly baptized, to show them that their own baptisms are connected with Christ’s baptism. In turn, Christ’s baptism is connected with his death and resurrection. Thus, in Christian baptism the one baptized receives the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection (i.e. forgiveness of sins, redemption from eternal death, and eternal life – see, for example Romans 6:3-4).

 

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