St. Dominic died 800 years ago, August 6, 1221.
On August 6, the Dominican Order around the world is kicking off a year-long celebration marking the 800th anniversary of the death of St. Dominic. The holy founder died on August 6, 1221, at age 51. Today, August 6 is celebrated in the universal Church as the Feast of the Transfiguration; St. Dominic’s feast is celebrated two days later on August 8.
The Dominicans have chosen a unique image to guide the jubilee: a painting that is nearly 20 feet wide and 16 inches tall, depicting St. Dominic around the table with his brothers.
As Fr. Gerard Francisco Parco Timoner, current Master General of the order, explained to Vatican News, the so-called Mascarella table (named for where it is kept in the Bolognese Church of Santa Maria della Mascarella) celebrates Dominic “not as a saint alone on a pedestal,” but St. Dominic “with his community, with his brothers.”
For the jubilee, the various parts of the painting, usually kept in separate places, will be brought together for the first time.
The table is notable not only for its symbolic presentation of community, but also because the depiction of Dominic, in the center with a halo, is the first portrait of St. Dominic painted shortly after his canonization, which occurred in the year 1234, not quite 13 years after the saint’s death.