Cain and Abel's Sacrifices

12th-13th century
Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

The text portrayed is Genesis 4:3-5. The flame before the altar represents the idea of sacrifice, but God's acceptance of Abel's specific sacrifice is signified by the tongue of fire that has descended onto the lamb from God's hand, which is formed into the blessing configurarion. For Cain, there is no hand, no fire.

In this image the two brothers are almost exactly alike in face, hair, height, clothing, and attitude.

The inscription at the top is CAYM ET ABEL OFFERUNT DOMINO HOLOCAUSTA, "Cain and Abel offer holocausts to the Lord."

View this image in full resolution.
View other panels in the cathedral's Genesis sequence.
Read more about Abel.
Read more about images of the Creation.

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.