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Photo of Vézelay Abbey (Basilique Ste-Madeleine)

Central Tympanum: Mission of the Apostles

Central tympanum in the narthex, depicting Pentecost or the Mission of the Apostles. In the center is Christ, inside a mandorla (almond-shaped halo). Bolts of light shoot out from Christ's hands to the apostles' heads. The inner archivolt and the lintel below are populated with the peoples of the world who will hear the message of Christ. These include, on the lintel, the "Monstrous Races" of foreign lands. This provides a fascinating insight into medieval worldviews and popular legends.

Photo © Holly Hayes.