Mike Aquilina

Medal Machine Music

Monday September 13th 2010, 12:54 pm

In the earliest signs of emerging Christian culture, we find beautiful jewelry that bears devotional images: medals, crosses, rings, coins, buckles and clasps, inscribed gems, stamps and seals. Such items are nicely displayed in the book Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art (a stunning compilation). You’ll often find such ancient artifacts for sale by antiquities dealers. Archeologists have even unearthed the molds and machinery used to strike these images. Some years ago, a reader gave me a medal that the Emperor Constantine struck in memory of his mother, St. Helena. I treasure it.

The art and the craft have endured with the apostolic faith, and we find them practiced well today. I bring this up because my buddy Paul Fry draws our attention to the pious labors of St. Catherine’s Metalworks in the suburbs of Cleveland. Check it out.