The Geometry of Love

Margaret Visser’s docudrama on St. Agnes and the infamous Roman chapel takes place around the University of Toronto and Rome’s; a fascinating depiction of the awe that exists between spirit and inner faith discovered through notions of christianity; the evolution between Rome’s pagan ending and the shift into Christian beatification. Visser speaks for the little Agnes convincing us that love can be found in the horrors of religion however paradoxical the varying institutions of religion are; there is love in the sacred teachings of the beatification of St. Agnes a 12 year old virginal girl; she is pre-pubescent; a christian martyred and murdered by the Roman sword in 380 A.D. “either become a virgin against Christians or join the Roman brothel.” Agnes cries no to the state and refuses to renounce her virginal marriage to the Christian faith; that there is integrity in the Christian model of being. She was murdered for this cause. She stood in the brothel and was killed by a sword; buried in the Catacombs. For the Romans, murdering a virgin was an ignoble cause and the tenacity of such devout Christians frightened them; Agnes was loved by the roman emperor’s son, which made the entire story all the more tragic and operatic; the Romans afraid of murdering a virgin; [patriarchal shame having its roots in pagan belief] used rape in order to destroy the attributes of the virginal female image. St. Agnes was taken to the brothel by force and her virginity taken so that she was less of a threat. Christendom began to take hold. Raping such innocence destroys the integrity of the Christian faith. After this, Agnes becomes virgin and martyr. White for virginal purity and red for martyrdom. She is recognized as the sacrificial lamb of God. Built in the 7th century A.D. the church of St. Agnes became an erected symbol of her devotion to ‘God’; her tomb discovered in the 4th century A.D. approximately 150 years after her execution. The oral traditions of the secret Christian societies that existed for hundreds of years after the fall of Rome and the rise of Constantinople maintained a significant place for this young obstinate mystical girl.


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