‘The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament’ by Raphael (1509 – 1510) PART 1

As Catholics all around the world queue and walk up the aisle to receive Holy Communion at times doubt, delusion or absolute indifference with regards to the Sacred Host plagues one’s mind. Is it indeed the Body of Christ? Is it the actual flesh of a man who lived 2000 years ago? Or is it symbolic of Christ? What does our Church profess? And what do I believe in?

The disputation buried in our heads is mirrored by the disputation encountered in the painting. However, it is important to note that the word ‘disputation’ does not necessarily mean ‘disagreement’ Far from negativity and division, it signifies an animated discussion to discover and enhance our understanding of the truth. In a way it can be considered a medium of prayer and praise.

The painting is executed by the Renaissance artist Raphael between 1509 and 1510 in today what is called the Stanze di Raffaello or the Raphael Rooms. However in the 15th century, this room in the Vatican Palace was called the Stanza della Segnatura. It was to serve as the library of Pope Julius II (1443 – 1513) who commissioned the painting.

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