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Statue of St. Norbert in St. Peter's, Vatican


Vatican_Norbert1.jpg (35943 bytes)

This is the statue of St. Norbert which appears in St. Peter's, Vatican City.  It is located in the left trancept of the church, on the side facing the apse end of the cathedral.  In view of the fact that St. Peter's was fashioned in the 16th and 17th century, it is not surprising that St. Norbert should be found here, because he was canonized in the 1580's.  It is also not surprising he is found in St. Peter's given the ecclesiastical climate of that era, since he is the Saint of the Eucharist, and the Eucharist was being challenged by the Protestant Reformation at that time.  It is nevertheless a most interesting statue.   It depicts his triumph over the heretic Tanchelm of Antwerp (the figure at St. Norbert's feet).  However, most statues of this type show Norbert holding a Monstrance with host.  This statue, however, shows him holding a chalice!  This is most probably an artistic combination of the Real Presence in the consecrated blood, along with an artistic reference to the story in the Vita of St. Norbert about him surviving the poisonous spider in the chalice.  

Detail of Norbert with chalice. Vatican_Norbert2.jpg (31085 bytes)
Detail of Tanchelm at St. Norbert's feet.   Note the book!  Tanchelm was a former priest himself and used the Bible to foster his anti-clerical, self-indulgent cult.  Vatican_Norbert3.jpg (28479 bytes)