The Virgin Mary Gives the Confession of Faith to Gregory Thaumaturgus

Apse of the Borghese chapel Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Gregory of Neocaesarea, known as Thaumaturgus or "wonderworker," lived in the 3rd century and wrote one of the earliest statements of Trinitarian doctrine, the "Confession of Faith." According to his biographer Gregory of Nyssa, the saint received the "Confession" from Mary in answer to a prayer.

The Vatican's page on the Borghese Chapel describes the fresco thus: "On the left, the painting represents the apparition of the Madonna and St. John the Evangelist to St. Gregory the Wonderworker; on the right it shows people bitten by the serpent of heresy before the Temple of God among a crowd of true believers." The page attributes the fresco to Giuseppe Cesari, but my notes identify the artist as Giovanni Baglione. Both artists worked on the decoration of the chapel.

Behind the third from the left of the three sculpted angels is a fresco angel with a tablet inscribed FORMULAM FIDEI GREGORIO THAUMATURGO CONTRA HAERETICOS TRADIT, "She gives the confession of faith against heretics to Gregory Thaumaturgus."

Read more about portraits of the Virgin Mary.

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