Bruegel: The Dormition of the Virgin Mary

Bruegel: The Dormition of  Virgin Mary

The Death of the Virgin, 1574

(On behalf of himself and his friends Abraham Ortelius took care of the production.); at bottom center below line of cartouche in lower margin:1574; in lower margin: Gnati certa tui Virgo cum regna petebas/ Complebant pectus gaudia quanta tuum?/ Quid tibi didce magis fuerat quam carcer[a]e terre/ Mi grare optati in templa superna poli?// Cumqkel sacram turbam,fieras cui prfidesidium tu, / Linquebas, nata est qu[a]e tibi maestitia/ Quam mk_lestus quoq[ue], quam lkietus .spectabat eunte[m] /Te, nati atq[ue] idem grex tuus ille pius?// Quid magis his gratutn, quam te regnare, quid faleque/ Triste fuit, facie quam caruisse tried/ M[a]estiti[a]e Ifidetos habitus, vultusqzie proborum/ Artci monstrat picta tabella manui”

( Virgin, when you sought the secure realms of your son, what great joys filled your breast! What would have been sweeter for you than to migrate from the prison of the earth to the lofty temples of the longed-for heavens! And when you left the sacred group [of followers of Christ] whose mentor you had been, what sadness sprang up in you. How sad as well as how joyful was that pious gathering of you and your son as they watched you go. What was a greater joy for them than for you to reign [in heaven], what greater sadness than to miss your appearances? This picture, created by a skillful hand, shows the happy bearing of sadness on the faces of the just.)

  • In several respects The Death of the Virgin is an extremely unusual engraving after Pieter Bruegel. It was not made until five years after Bruegel’s death in 1569, and it reproduces a grisaille painting by the master that was not meant to be engraved.

Executed as a result of the efforts of two eminent men who were close friends of Bruegel, it inspired two illustrious contemporary scholars to pen appreciations—which are among the very few commentaries written on prints in the sixteenth century.

And finally The Death of the Virgin is simply one of the best prints engraved after a composition by Bruegel.

The renowned Antwerp humanist and geographer Abraham Ortelius owned Bruegel’s grisaille Death of the Virgin, painted about 1564:

As one of the inscriptions in the lower margin of the print tells us, he had the engraving made for himself and his friends; in 1574 he asked Philips Galle to copy the composition in copper so that he could give away printed reproductions of his admired possession.

It is generally assumed that the erudite Ortelius himself wrote the unsigned Latin verses in the margin, which dweil on the religious content of the image.

That the scholar did present friends with impressions of the print is known from the written testimony of two men. In July 1578 the Dutch moralist, playwright, and engraver Dirck Volckertsz Coornhert thanked Ortelius for sending it to him and offered elegant words of praise for all concerned: “from top to bottom I viewed [the sheet] with pleasure, and in admiration for the artful drawing and the meticulous engraving. Bruegel and Philips [Galle] have surpassed themselves. I do not think that either has ever done better. Thus their friend Abraham [Ortelius] with his favors [in acquiring the painting and ordering the print] encouraged both their arts. Never did I see, such is my opinion, a better drawing, nor an engraving of the same quality than this sorrowful chamber.

Some twelve years later the Spanish theologian and royal librarian Benito Arias Montano appealed to Ortelius for an impression as a token of friendship, recalling in a letter of March 1590 that he had seen the grisaille at his friend’s house and describing it as “painted in the most skillful manner and with the greatest piety“; the next year, in April 1591, he gratefully acknowledged receipt of the engraving.

 The death of the Virgin is not recorded in the Bible. Only in the Middle Ages was the theme gradually incorporated into what were for the most part apocryphal accounts of the life of Mary.

The subject became increasingly popular, due especially to a detailed narrative in the Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine, a much-read compilation of writings from the second half of the thirteenth century on the lives of Christian saints and martyrs.

Although it never found as much favor as stories about other moments from the life of Mary, the theme of The Death of the Virgin was taken up by some of the greatest northern European artists of the fifteenth century. Paintings by Hugo van der Goes and Dieric Bouts and prints by Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Durer on the subject established a pictorial tradition that Bruegel embraced.

Indeed, for his own Death of the Virgin Bruegel borrowed specific compositional elements from engravings by Schongauer and Durer

Like most artists of his time, Bruegel derived his conception of the death of the Virgin from the Golden Legend. read here: The Assumption of the Glorious Virgin our Lady S. Mary from Golden legend

While other artists based their representations of the subject quite directly on the account in that volume, however, he introduced highly unusual, innovative features into his scene.

According to tradition, he chose to show the sad event at night, which enabled him to dramatize the composition by means of emphatic chiaroscuro effects especially appropriate to the grisaille technique of his painting.

In Galle’s powerful translation of Bruegel’s image, the bedroom is dimly lit by a fireplace, a few candles, and the light radiating from Mary.

Bruegel filled the room—which literary sources tell us is in the house of the apostle John—with furniture and household utensils, creating an unusually domestic setting, replete with homey details such as the table in the foreground with the remains of a meal.

Whereas the Golden Legend speaks only of the apostles present, here many individuals pay their respects to the dying Virgin. Dressed as a priest, the apostle Peter, the first leader of the Christian community after the death of Christ, stands at Mary’s bed as if he were administering extreme unction; an acolyte holding a cross-staff appears behind Peter; and a friar kneels at the edge of the bed in the right foreground: like the numerous guests in the background, these are elements that are new to the story and suggest that the events shown could just as easily have taken place in Antwerp in the sixteenth century as in biblical times.

It seems probable that here Bruegel chose a familiar contemporary setting, as he did in other religious works, to bring his image close to his viewers so that they could identify with those attending Mary on her deathbed and thus elicit from them strong spiritual feelings.

As one scholar has recently pointed out, Bruegel’s reading of the event as taking place in his own time is close to that of roughly contemporary Jesuit texts on the meaning and interpretation of the Virgin’s death.

 The only inexplicable detail in his composition is the sleeping man in the left foreground. He is generally considered to be John the Evangelist, although there is no evidence to confirm this identification, nor has anyone yet convincingly accounted for why he is so conspicuously sleeping at the verg moment of the Virgin’s death.

May Be we can find an answer in tis passage of the Golden Legend:

And St. Cosmo, in following the narration, saith: And after this a great thunder knocked at the house with so great an odour of sweetness, that with the sweet spirit the house was replenished, in such wise that all they that were there save the apostles, and three virgins which held the lights, slept. Then our Lord came with a great multitude of angels and took the soul of his mother, and the soul of her shone by so great light that none of the apostles might behold it. And our Lord said to St. Peter: Bury the corpse of my mother with great reverence, and keep it there three days diligently, and I shall then come again, and transport her unto heaven without corruption, and shall clothe her of the semblable clearness of myself; that which I have taken of her, and that which she hath taken of me, shall be assembled together and accord.

That same St. Cosmo rehearseth a dreadful and marvellous mystery of dissension natural and of curious inquisition. For all things that be said of the glorious virgin, mother of God, be marvellous above nature and be more to doubt than to enquire. For when the soul was issued out of the body, the body said these words: Sire, I thank thee that I am worthy of thy grace; remember thee of me, for I ne am but a thing faint, and have kept that which thou deliveredst me.

And then the other awoke and saw the body of the virgin without soul, and then began strongly to weep and were heavy and sorrowful. And then the apostles took up the body of the Blessed Virgin and bare it to the monument, and St. Peter began the psalm In exitu Israel de Egypto.

It is usually assumed that Ortelius was the first owner of Bruegel’s grisaille of The Death of the Virgin and that he may have helped to conceive its innovative iconography. His involvement on this level is certainly plausible, for he belonged to a circle of learned friends in Antwerp that included Bruegel as well as Galle and Arias Montano.

It was in this circle of humanist scholars and a few artists, with the publisher Christophe Plantin and his press, Officina Plantiniana, at its heart, that Bruegel’s Death of the Virgin originated and was circulated by means of Galle’s engraving. Ortelius’s tribute to Bruegel, written in his Album Amicorum about 1573, is both brief and apt: “That Pieter Bruegel was the most perfect painter of his age, no one—unless jealous or envious or ignorant of his art— could ever deny.”

The names of Galle, Bruegel, Coornhert, Montano and Ortelius all come together in the story of the engraving of The Death of the Virgin.

The painting, a haunting work in grisaille that hangs today at Upton House near Banbury, had originally belonged to Ortelius. A large number of Bruegel’s drawings were done specifically for the popular market in engravings but his paintings were private commissions and were not produced as editions of prints. The print of The Death of the Virgin is an exception and, even so, there was never a popular edition. Some years after Bruegel’s death Ortelius engaged Galle to produce a very limited edition intended for members of the intimate circle that had constituted the Hiël group.

A letter (dated 1578) exists from Coornhert to Ortelius thanking him for his copy and in 1591 Arias Montano wrote having received his. (See Manfred Sellink in Nadine Orenstein, Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints, New York: The Metropolitan Museum, 2001, pp. 258-261

Coornhert openly acknowledged a spiritual outlook formed under the influence of Franck and, like his mentor, devoted energy to translating great masterpieces of the perennial tradition including Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, Cicero’s On Duties, Erasmus’ Paraphrases of the New Testament and Homer’s The Odyssey.

At first, as a humanist, he was passionately committed to the cause of freedom of religious thought and opposed the rigidity and doctrinaire stance of Calvin. Later he came under the influence of Franck as well as other spiritual reformers such as Hans Denck and Sebastian Costellio and received from them formative influences which turned him powerfully to the cultivation of inward religion for his own soul and to the expression and interpretation of a universal Christianity‘. Coornhert makes a distinction between the forms of institutional religion, which he calls outer or external religion’, which he allows as a preparatory stage and inward religion’ which is the establishment of the kingdom of God in men’s hearts. Only God has the right to be master over man’s soul and conscience; it is man’s right to have freedom of conscience”. With his intransigent defense of tolerance, even toward nonbelievers and atheists, the Dutch Catholic humanist and controversialist Coornhert made a substantial and permanent contribution to the early modern debate on religious freedom.

Rejection of the institutionalized reform movements on the basis of their new dogmatism and formalism … motivated the believers in a more “inward” spiritualized faith. Like the reformers, Spiritualists advocated free Bible research, but as a result of the notion of a direct personal relationship with God – and individual approach that we also find in Erasmus – they attach great importance to an unimpeded access to the Spirit of the individual.

At the same time they tend to minimize the importance of “externals”: ceremonies, sacraments, the church, often also the supreme authority of the Bible, for they consider the Spirit of prior significance; the Bible without the Spirit becomes a “paper pope” as Frank put it.

The same author points out that while Erasmus and humanism were a significant influence on men like Sebastian Franck, spiritual seekers were also influenced by late-medieval mystical traditions found in Eckhart and Tauler. Voogt acknowledges the importance for 16th century exponents of radical dissent of the anonymous Theologia Germanica (German Theology) which they frequently used and quoted from.

Henry Niclaes, founder of the Family of Love was profoundly influenced by this work (and by Thomas â Kempis‟ Imitation of Christ). He, and his main disciple (and later rival) Barrefelt, felt attracted to the Theologia’s theme of the return to a Platonic oneness and of the freedom of the will. They embraced the notion, found in this small book, that incarnation continued after the Ascension of Christ. This incarnation – known among Familists as Vergottung (godding) – takes place, they believed, whenever the spirit entered the individual.

One element of the Theologia that does leave a strong imprint on Coornhert … mostly through the mediation of Sebastian Frank … was the idea of the invisible church, vested in the hearts of true Christians wherever they may be found.

  • Convivium

By the early sixteenth century, the upper classes began to pattern their activities during mealtime after those that occurred in the dining halls of monasteries or courtly circles. Primarily, it was an occasion not only to eat one’s fill but also to express one’s thoughts. Since Plato’s Symposium, the convivium had been an established literary genre ideally suited for discussion of a variety of topics. Founded on further descriptions of feasts in classical texts such as Cicero, Macrobius and Plutarch, the nourishment and self-cultivation that took place at dinner parties was provided in equal measure by food, drink and conversation. For example, the Ancients wanted both Bacchus and the Muses to preside at banquets, for “learned and entertaining words…delight the body and mind as much as wine does, or more.” Athenaeus constantly plays with the idea that words, not just food, provide the “satisfaction” of the meal: “we brought as our contribution not delicacies, but topics for discussion.”Montaigne praises the Greeks and Romans for setting aside “for eating, which is an important action in life, several hours and the better part of the night,” because the meal is an opportunity for total pleasure thanks to “such good talk and agreeable entertainment as men of intelligence are able to provide for one another.” Edere et audire,” to eat and listen; in Erasmus’s Fabulous Feast, this is the goal of a few friends sitting around a table—to cultivate the mind by taking in stories while nourishing the body with dinner. In the “Sober Feast,” when deciding how to properly dedicate the garden where their dinner will take place, the character Albert suggests that each one make a contribution of his own. Aemilius questions, “What shall we contribute who’ve come here empty-handed?” Albert replies, “You who carry such riches in your mind? Let each offer to the company the best thing he’s read this week.” As we will see, these convivial conversations were spurred on by scripted topics, texts read around the table or paintings hanging on the wall.

That was also the case with the Convivium intended for members of the intimate circle of the Family of Love, that had constituted the Hiël group. And sure for the the Onze Lieve Vrouw ommegang” which is held on 15 August for the Assumption of Mary.

In the 15th, 16th and 17th century the Ommegang of Antwerp was the most important in Flanders. The “Onze Lieve Vrouwommegang” consisted originally of two events: the first celebrated the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary.


The second was a large, opulent secular participation of the guildsas the Guild of Saint Luke ( where Bruegel was member), crafts and chambers of rhetoric, each of which contributed a float to a procession through the streets of Antwerp[ Some floats contained references to events of the preceding year. There was considerable rivalry between the guilds in their efforts to provide the most splendid display.

For the intimate circle of the Family of Love that had constituted the Hiël group, the Assumption of Mary had sure a deep spitiural meaning.

  • Bruegel the Apocalypse Within:

In an introductory passage to his commentary on Revelation which appeared in 1627 the Flemish Jesuit Cornelius a Lapide mentioned the only inward interpretation he seems to have known of — that of the Spanish Biblical scholar Benito Arias Montano — and, although he acknowledged slight differences, he placed it in the medieval tradition of spiritual commentaries.

Certainly the patristic and medieval exegetes quoted by a Lapide,Ticonius,
Primasius, Bede, Anselm, Hayrno, the Victorines, Rupert of Deutz and Denys the Carthusian — have something in commonwith the inward commentators. They either rejected a historical-political significance outright or added a spiritual interpretation to persons and places existing in history. For Primasius and Bede Asia is thus equated with pride; BabyIon is commonly interpreted as the sum of all evil, the beast as the devil and the whore as the rejection of God. At the same time, however, the Book was invariably regarded as prophesying the triumph of the Church’ of Christ. Chapters 4 and 5 were seen as a description of this Church, and the last chapters as an account of its victory. In the inward interpretations which I shall be discusring the Church of Christ disappears and is replaced by the human soul.

Benito Arias Montano was the first to admit that his interpretation of the Book of Revelation in his Elucidationes in omnia S. Apostolorum scripta of 1588, original though it might seem, was not of his own devising. He had taken it from the Dutch spiritual writer Hendrik Jansen van Barrefelt who wrote under ‘the pseudonym of Hiël, ‘the uniform life of God’, and Hiël, in his turn, leads us to a particular attitude towards the Scriptures, which had developed in Northern Europe in reaction to Luther’s ideas.

This attitude, fostered by Thomas Miintzer and shared by Sebastian Franck, Sébastien Castellion, Valentin Weigel and others, was based on the belief that the Spirit was of far greater importance than the Letter and that the Scriptures could only be understood by the man enlightened by that same Spirit with which they had been written. To this must be added a further conviction, held by such men as David Joris and Hendrik Niclaes: the world had entered the last of the three altes of time, the age of the Spirit corresponding to the theological virtue of Charity, in which the seventh seal on the Scriptures would be removed for the spiritual man .

Hiël, a native of Gelderland, had been a weaver, and he prided himself on his ignorance of any language except Dutch’ . He had once been an Anabap­tist and had then joined the Family of Love shortly after its foundation by Hendrik Niclaes in Emden in 1540.

The Family of Love, whose ideas  are central to Bruegel‟s intellectual and religious outlook, was not an isolated phenomenon and can be shown to be a link in the chain of schools – more or less hidden – stretching alongside the more visible history of Christianity in Europe . Read mor about the movement at The Spiritual Message of Bruegel for our Times

Despite his professed ignorance of languages and an apparent lack of education Hiël was profoundly imbued with the spiritual ideas circulating in the Low Countries and Germany, and above alI he venerated the medieval tract which all the spiritual writers in Northern Europe claimed as one of their main sources, the Theologia Germanica. In 1573 Hiël, who by this time resided chiefly in Cologne, broke away from Hendrik Niclaes and, in the years following, he devoted himself to writing his own books. These included his commentary on the Book of Revelation, the Verklaring der Openbaringe Johannis In het. ware Wesen Jesu Christi.

Refusing to commit himsejf to any visible church but displaying a certain preference for Catholicism rather than for Protestantism, Hiël carried to its extreme conclusion the attitude of the ‘spirituals’ towards the Letter. Rather than attempting any philological interpretation of the Bible he used the Bible as a text illustrating his own doctrine. To it he applied a single scheme of interpretation: throughout the Scriptures, he maintained, there could be detected a figurative indication of the eternal struggle in the soul of man between the sinful earthly being or nature, dominated by earthly wisdom, and the divine nature of God.

Only by killing earthly wisdom and the lusts and properties in his soul would man enable Christ to be reborn within himself and be united with God, thereby restoring that `oneness’ referred to at the beginning of the Theologia Germanica: 

“Sin is selfishness:Godliness is unselfishness:A godly life is the steadfast working out of inward freeness from self:To become thus Godlike is the bringing back of man’s first nature”.

St. Paul saith, “When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”Now mark what is “that which is perfect,” and “that which is in part.”“That which is perfect” is a Being, who hath comprehended and included all things in Himselfand His own Substance, and without whom, and beside whom, there is no true Substance, and inwhom all things have their Substance.

For He is the Substance of all things, and is in Himself  unchangeable and immoveable, and changeth and moveth all things else. But “that which is inpart,” or the Imperfect, is that which hath its source in, or springeth from the Perfect; just as abrightness or a visible appearance floweth out from the sun or a candle, and appeareth to be somewhat, this or that. And it is called a creature; and of all these “things which are in part,” none is the Perfect. So also the Perfect is none of the things which are in part. The things which are inpart can be apprehended, known, and expressed; but the Perfect cannot be apprehended, known,or expressed by any creature as creature. Therefore we do not give a name to the Perfect, for it isnone of these. The creature as creature cannot know nor apprehend it, name nor conceive it.

In his foreword to his commentary on Revelation Hiël says that the divine mysteries and prophecies which have so long remained sealed have at last been opened ‘in the heart of the obedient man” and he dismisses any literal or historical interpretation of this or any other Book as a delusion of sinful earthly wisdom.

John of Patmos becomes the grave of God, Patmos the death of sin, Asia a muddy place in the human heart or nature to which sins and earthly desires cleave, and the message to the seven churches, each of which is regarded as a particular point in the human heart, is interpreted as the revelation of the divine nature of Christ and the cleansing of sin in the heart of man.

To the visions of judgement on the enemies of God and the victory of the faithful which occupy the greater part of the Book Hiël applies his scheme with considerable ingenuity.

In Chapter 4 the throne on which Christ is seated is interpreted as divine repose and the four living creatures signify four kinds of knowledge in human nature: the knowledge of prophecy under the Law, the knowledge of Sin, the knowledge of mercy and the knowledge of obedience to God.

Taken together they represent fallen humanity or earthly postlapsarian nature, restless because of its earthly senses and lusts, and in perpetual search of repose in the divine being.

The seven seals are the laws of the hidden nature of God which can only be satisfied by the humble obedience of Christ (the Lamb). The opening of the seventh seal (Chapter 8) is the removal of the law of sin and death by the goodness of God. The opening is followed by knowledge of the uniform life in the divine being (the silene- rose in heaven). The seven angels which then appear represent ,the strength of God distributing punishment and death among the earthly lusts.

The two witnesses (Chapter 11) are the Law and the Prophets who will prophesy until man recognises the heavenly nature in his soul and sin is overcome by the death of Christ.

They will be trilled for a while by the beast, envious evil in the heart of unregenerate man, but will subsequefitly be revived and called up to heaven.

Finally, when the heart of man (God’s temple) is opened in heaven and the hidden bond of God (the ark) is seen and felt in the soul the earthly nature will tremble as if stricken by an earthquake and a tempest will destroy all earthly senses, lusts and thoughts.

The woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet in Chapter 12 is the love of God, the `great red dragon’ the poison of earthly wisdom dressed in deceitful earthly holiness.





For a time the love of God lies hidden in the depraved heart of man (the woman in the wilderness), but it is lighted by the hope of faith (the one thousand two hundred and sixty days) until it reaches the heavenly sun of God’s righteousness.

Here comes the important spiritual value of the Death of Mary: As the inscriptions in the lower margin of the print tells us:

Virgin, when you sought the secure realms of your son, what great joys filled your breast! What would have been sweeter for you than to migrate from the prison of the earth to the lofty temples of the longed-for heavens! And when you left the sacred group [of followers of Christ] whose mentor you had been, what sadness sprang up in you. How sad as well as how joyful was that pious gathering of you and your son as they watched you go. What was a greater joy for them than for you to reign [in heaven], what greater sadness than to miss your appearances? This picture, created by a skillful hand, shows the happy bearing of sadness on the faces of the just.

Here the another chapters of the Revelation by Hiel:

In the meantime a battle takes place in the depraved human heart (the war in heaven between Michael and the dragon):

God’s righteousness (Michael) slays earthly wisdom (the dragon and his angels). Earthly wisdom can thus no longer appear to be heavenly but must fall to earth and suffer death.On earth it combats the simple love of God or the woman with the venom of the earthly senses (the serpent), but nature’s love (the earth) comes to her assistante.

In Chapter 13 the beast from the sea is depraved evil come to kill all virtues in the human heart. It derives its strength from the dragon, the poison of earthly wisdom, while the beast with two horns like a lamb and speaking like a dragon is hypocritical earthly holiness in the flesh which prevents the simple soul from’praying to God (the mark on the right hand or the forehead). The number of the beast is the whole of humanity.

Babylón is interpreted as the confusion of earthly senses; the whore is false earthly wisdom, her golden jewels hypocritical holiness and the cup fuIl of abominations the carnal appetites.




The beast with seven heads is the evil caused by earthly wisdom and its rule on earth; its seven heads are the doctrines of earthly wisdom and the seven kings are personal vindictiveness under the guise of holiness.

The succession of the kings is taken to signify the disappearance and subsequent return of evil, as is the capture and the return of the dragon at the beginning of Chapter 20.

The fall of Babylon and the lamentations of the merchants in Chapter 18 are interpreted. as the downfall of earthly wisdom and desires and the realisation in the human soul that the sanctity of earthly wisdom can no longer be trusted.

The marriage of the Lamb is the union of the human soul with the divine being; the ‘new heaven and new earth’ in the last two chapters are the new life in the divine being and the new life in the natural being following the ultimate defeat of evil.

As Hiël presents it the Book of Revelation is the description of a number of mystical progressions, some taking place concurrently, others successively, towards uniow with God. There is no question of any reference to a church, visible or invisible. The temple is always interpreted as the human heart or soul, and the visions are of states within each one of us: to see them we must look within our soul. The Book must be read with a spirit of love, Hiël adds in his epilogue, and with a readiness to yield to God. Only thus wilt its true contents be understood and appreciated.

In our daily life we come up against situations that we cannot overcome in our own strength, or with our own wisdom. We need a strength and a wisdom that comes from Above, that comes from Beyond, that comes from Another outside of us and yet rises up from within us.

“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

This transformation – sometimes called rebirth – is difficult to achieve and costs a man dearly because it takes place in opposition to everything he values in material life; but that is an illusory life which he mistakes for the other. see more at Bruegel: the Apocalypse Within.

“Then the two wings of the great eagle are given to the woman to fly into the desert to her place of refuge” (The desert is the traditional refuge of the persecuted.)

Very beautiful image, an angel comes to lay wings in the back of the woman so that she can flee flying …

  • The Dormition of Mary ( Orthodox Church)

At the end of the 15th century the foreign trading houses were transferred from Bruges to Antwerp, and the building assigned to the English nation is specifically mentioned in 1510. Antwerp became the sugar capital of Europe, importing the raw commodity from Portuguese and Spanish plantations. The city attracted Italian and German sugar refiners by 1550, and shipped their refined product to Germany, especially Cologne.[Moneylenders and financiers developed a large business lending money all over Europe including the English government in 1544–1574. London bankers were too small to operate on that scale, and Antwerp had a highly efficient bourse that itself attracted rich bankers from around Europe. After the 1570s, the city’s banking business declined: England ended its borrowing in Antwerp in 1574.

russian Trade with England, Scotland, and the Netherlands

Ivan IV Vasilyevich  commonly known as Ivan the Terrible ( Ivan Grozny; “Ivan the Formidable” or “Ivan the Fearsome”, Latin: Ioannes Severus[ ), was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and the first Tsar of Russia from 1547 to 1584.

In 1547, Hans Schlitte, the agent of Ivan , recruited craftsmen in Germany for work in Russia. However, all these craftsmen were arrested in Lübeck at the request of Poland and Livonia. The German merchant companies ignored the new port built by Ivan on the River Narva in 1550 and continued to deliver goods in the Baltic ports owned by Livonia. Russia remained isolated from sea trade.

Ivan established close ties with the Kingdom of England. Russo-English relations can be traced to 1551, when the Muscovy Company was formed by Richard Chancellor, Sebastian Cabot, Sir Hugh Willoughby and several London merchants. In 1553, Richard Chancellor sailed to the White Sea and continued overland to Moscow, where he visited Ivan’s court. Ivan opened up the White Sea and the port of Arkhangelsk to the Company and granted the Company privilege of trading throughout his reign without paying the standard customs fees.[39] Muscovy Company retained the monopoly in Russo-English trade until 1698.

With the use of English merchants, Ivan engaged in a long correspondence with Elizabeth I of England. While the queen focused on commerce, Ivan was more interested in a military alliance. During his troubled relations with the boyars, the tsar even asked her for a guarantee to be granted asylum in England should his rule be jeopardized. Elizabeth agreed on condition that he provided for himself during his stay.[40]

Ivan IV corresponded with overseas Orthodox leaders. In response to a letter of Patriarch Joachim of Alexandria asking the Tsar for financial assistance for the Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, which had suffered from the Turks, Ivan IV sent in 1558 a delegation to Egypt Eyalet by archdeacon Gennady, who, however, died in Constantinople before he could reach Egypt. From then on the embassy was headed by Smolensk merchant Vasily Poznyakov. Poznyakov’s delegation visited Alexandria, Cairo and Sinai, brought the patriarch a fur coat and an icon sent by the Tsar and left an interesting account of its 2½ years of travels.

There is nothing to say about the knowledge of Bruegel about the Orthodox Church because of the The East–West Schism (also the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) is the break  the 11th century between the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches. But there was big exchanges and Antwerp was the financial capital of Europe. 

But as he knew very good the Western christian Tradition, we cannot be completly denying  that he did know nothing about Eastern Orthodox Church. Research are here necessary! What is sure is that The Dormition of Mary tradition  and the drawing reprensenting “Mary on her Bed” of Breugel  share both the same source:  The Apocrypha .

  • The Dormition of Mary

The Dormition of the Mother of God is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the “falling asleep” or death of Mary the Theotokos (“Mother of God”, literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on 15 August (28 August N.S. for those following the Julian Calendar) as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest 15 August.

The death or Dormition of Mary is not recorded in the Christian canonical scriptures.

Hippolytus of Thebes, a 7th- or 8th-century author, claims in his partially preserved chronology to the New Testament that Mary lived for 11 years after the death of Jesus, dying in AD 41.[1]

The term Dormition expresses the belief that the Virgin died without suffering, in a state of spiritual peace. This belief does not rest on any scriptural basis, but is affirmed by Orthodox Christian Holy Tradition. It is testified to in some old Apocryphal writings, but neither the Orthodox Church nor other Christians regard these as possessing scriptural authority.  And It was knew by Bruegel though  the Golden Legends as we have seen ealier.

  • Difference of denomination Assumption, Dormition and Death of Mary

In Orthodoxy and Catholicism, in the language of the scripture, death is often called a “sleeping” or “falling asleep” (Greek κοίμησις; whence κοιμητήριον > coemetērium > cemetery, “a place of sleeping”). A prominent example of this is the name of this feast on 15th of August: Dormition; another is the Dormition of Anna, Mary’s mother.

  • Theological symbolism

The “Dormition of the Mother of God” is one of the most revered icons in Russia. It is this icon that was first miraculously delivered from Constantinople to Kiev where it consecrated with its divine presence not only the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, but all of Holy Rus, the new (and final) bastion of Orthodoxy.

In the traditional depiction of this icon, we see on the lower level the Virgin falling into slumber on her deathbed surrounded by saints, and on the middle level we see the figure of Jesus Christ standing, holding the soul of the Virgin Mary in the form of an infant in his hands.

In considering the symbolism of this depiction, it is necessary to immediately point to the reverse analogy between the central figure of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the classical “Mother of God” icon. If in the traditional depiction of the Mother of God (for example, the “Vladimir Mother of God”, “Kazan Mother of God,” etc.) we see the ‘adult’ Mother of God holding Jesus, then in the Dormition of the Mother of God we see the inverse: the ‘adult’ Jesus Christ and the ‘infant’ Virgin Mary.

Explaining this contrast will help us discover the universal, ontological character of the Christian tradition which, like any fully-fledged tradition, in addition to a historical aspect bears a deeply metaphysical, supra-historical charge directly tied to the spiritual understand of reality at large.

Thus, the very fact of the Incarnation of the God-Word in the material, human universe necessarily implies a certain “diminishment” of the fullness of the second hypostasis of the Holy Trinity, not an essential “depreciation” (the Trinity always remains self-resembling), but an external, apparent, visible depreciation.

Christ is described in the Gospel as “suffering.” In the First Coming, the true nature of the Son remains veiled, hidden, and can only be guessed by chosen disciples. But for subsequent generations of Christians, defining this divine nature becomes the basis of Faith – Faith, not Knowledge, since Knowledge is associated with the ontological obviousness of a certain sacred fact, and the obviousness of the Son’s divinity manifests itself only at the moment of the Second Coming, the Coming of the Sacred in Power, in Glory, i.e., in his original ‘non-diminished’ quality.

Therefore, the classical image of the Mother of God with the infant has a symbolic meaning that is central to prayer and Church practice.

In this icon, as in the sacred map of reality, a ‘diminished’ spiritual center is shown surrounded by the human or, more broadly, material cosmic nature which externally ‘surpasses’ this center, is ‘predominant’ compared to it, and is ‘bigger’ than it is.

The Mother of God with the infant describes the ontological status of the world between the First and Second Coming where the Son is already revealed to the world, but in a ‘diminished’ quality thereby demanding Faith, personal effort, and spiritual devotion on the part of believers for ‘dynamic,’ willed transformation of Faith into Confidence.

The Dormition of the Mother of God icon presents us with the inverse proportion. Rising above the concrete historical fact of the Virgin Mary’s personal death, the Orthodox tradition here offers a prototype of an eschatological situation, valuably pointing to the meaning of the sacraments of the End Times.

The depiction of Christ holding the infant Virgin in his arms describes the true proportions of the spiritual world in which the Center, the Pole of Being, the God-Word is presented not as  diminished, but in its full metaphysical extent.

In the heavenly world, the ‘diminished’ is the  ‘material,’ the ‘earthly’ cosmic portion, while the Spirit itself appears in its entirety.

Here the Word is  omnipresent and obvious and all-fulfilling.But the material world is not simply destroyed in heavenly  reality. It is transformed, it is ‘drawn’ to the spiritual regions and rises to its heavenly and supra-material archetype.

Hence, in fact, the special term ‘dormition’ (a calque from Greek “koimesis,” or sleep, rest, lie; in Latin ‘assumptio”) in contrast to the usual word ‘death.

Dormition means ‘solace’, i.e., the transition from the state of ‘unrest’ inherent to material, physical reality to a state of ‘peace,’ in which all things abide in the regions of Eternity.

Thus there is not ‘destruction,’ but ‘final disappearance’ understood by the word ‘death.’ It would be interesting in this regard to pay attention to the Russian etymology of the word ‘uspenie’ (dormition), which is akin to the Ancient Indian term ‘svapiti’ (literally ‘to sleep’). This Indian term literally means ‘to enter oneself’ or ‘dive into one’s inner self.’

As follows, our word ‘uspenie’ etymologically means ‘entering the inner world’, the ‘inner ‘world’ being a synonym for the ‘spiritual’ or ‘heavenly’ world.

In the troparion for the celebration of the Dormition of the Mother of God, it is said: “in falling asleep she did not forsake the world.”

In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity;

in thy dormition thou didst not forsake the world, O Theotokos.

Thou wast translated unto life,

since thou art the Mother of Life,

and by thine intercessions doest thou deliver our souls from death.

This refers not only to the compassionate participation of the Mother of God in worldly affairs after her departure, but also the fundamental ontological event of the ‘casting of the material world’ into the spiritual sphere as a result of a special, unique sacred event.

What metaphysical event is symbolized by the Dormition of the Mother of God?

This event is the End Times. It is at this moment, the moment of the Second Coming, that happens the final affirmation of true spiritual proportions in correlation to the material and the spiritual.

The ‘material’ (the Virgin Mary) turns out to be an infinitesimal point in the Infinity of spiritual Light, the Light of the God-Word, Christ.

Consequently, the Dormition icon reveals to the Christian the deep mystery of the End Times, which is not a global catastrophe, not the destruction or disappearance of the physical world as is seen most often by those who are only superficially familiar with Orthodox eschatology, but the essential and total restoration of the normal, natural, harmonious ways of being where the spiritual, heavenly Light completely incorporates the physical, material darkness.

Therefore, from a Christian perspective, the End Times is the single most important event of an entirely positive, salvational meaning. The End Times is not a catastrophe, but the end of catastrophe since, from a spiritual point of view, any ‘unrest’, ‘worrying’, or ‘movement’ is essentially catastrophic for the spirit and, in addition, signifies the triumph of inferior, Satanic forces.

The End Times, the End of the World, and Judgement Day act as something repulsive and negative only for the enemies of God, only for those who identify their fate with the dark course of restless, demonic fate.

For believers, on the contrary, this is salvation, a celebration, and transformationthe universal and final ‘dormition’ of matter together with the universal and final ‘awakening’ of the spirit.

Thus, we can now distinguish three levels in this spiritual teaching manifesting such abundant wisdom in the icon of the Dormition.

  • Historically, this icon tells of the death of the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and her subsequent mercy for the believers and suffering of this world.
  • Ontologically, it embodies the affirmation of true spiritual proportions of material reality in the larger picture of being, where the spirit fills everything while physical reality is ‘diminished’ to an infinitely small point.
  • Eschatologically, it points to the meaning of the End Times, i.e., the restoration of true existential proportions and the affirmation of the absolute triumph of the Heavenly, Divine element. The ‘diminishing’ of matter in the End Times does not mean its destruction, but its ‘induction’ into the fulness of light and peace.


  • Universal symbolism

The symbolism of the Dormition icon (if we juxtapose it to the Mother of God icon) also has analogies outside of a Christian context. The clearest such similar spiritual concept of the structure of being is reflected in the Chinese symbol of Yin-Yang, in which the white dot against the black background signifies the diminishing of the spirit in matter, while the black dot against the white background is, conversely, matter in spirit.

However, the Chinese tradition is characterized by contemplation and and the absence of an eschatological orientation. Thus, the Chinese are inclined to  consider this symbol as a sign of eternal harmony while  Christians see ontological plans in an historical and eschatological perspective, hence Christianity’s distinctly  ‘dynamic’ character supposing the personal, volitional  engagement of man in the outcome of the fate of the spirit. 

The Chinese believe that this volitional aspect is not so  important insofar as the Tao ultimately arranges everything  in the best way.

Undoubtedly, similar symbolism can be found in many other traditions in reference to  the correlations between the material and spiritual worlds, but the Chinese example represents  something so clear and comprehensive that all similar parables can be reduced to it.

The sacred sign of Russia by Alexander Dugin in Chapter 13 of Mysteries of Eurasia

The fact that the icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God was the first to be miraculously brought to Russia and the fact that its presence graced the Kiev-Pecharsk Lavra (which was the first center for the spread of Orthodoxy in Russia) leaves one to believe that Russia is under the special patronage of this icon. The Russian Orthodox tradition and Russian Church believe this. If we take into account all of the theological and ontological, as well as eschatological content of this icon’s message, then it is only natural to associate it with the sacred mission and spiritual fate of Russia itself.

On a historical level, such symbolism, applied to Russia, points to the constant participation of the Mother of God in the history of the Russian state, not only during periods of its fully-fledged Orthodox existence, but also during the dark periods of neglect and decline. As if it were a fulfillment of predestination that began with the spread of the Orthodox faith throughout Russian lands, approximately over the thousand years following the founding of the Kiev-Pecharsk Lavra to the moment of the collapse of Orthodox order in Russia, the Mother of God was a believer and declared that ‘henceforth She takes responsibility for Russia and sovereign Power therein.” The icon known as “The Sovereign” is dedicated to this. “And in falling asleep she did not forsake the world.”

On an ontological level, our symbolism might very well explain the cultural and psychological specificity of Russian Orthodox civilization, which was always contemplatively-oriented, drawn by the spirit to the heavenly sphere where true proportions are set once and for all, while sometimes neglecting earthly, practical, material things which seemed to the religious consciousness of Russians to be just as infinitesimal as the tiny figure of the Mother of God in the hands of the Savior.

Finally, on the eschatological level, the idea of Russia’s mission being tied to the End Times is clearly  present in Orthodox thought. Hence, in particular, the rise of the idea of “Moscow as the Third  Rome” or “Last Rome” who is destined to stand until the final moment of earthly history. If the Dormition icon ontologically describes the ideal essence of the Russian Orthodox soul, then in eschatological terms it points to the active side of Russian civilization, the mission it is destined to fulfill in human history. This mission is, without a doubt, connected to the realization of the End Times and the providential preparation of the Second Coming.

It is also important to recall the omens sent to Saint Anthony of Kiev before the construction of the first and main temple of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in honor of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God. Anthony prayed to God to send him a sign pointing out the place where a church should be built. In the morning, all of the ground was covered with dew, but in one place the earth was left completely dry. The next day, the miracle was repeated, but in the reverse order. The dew was nowhere to be found other than in the place where there had been no dew the day before. Finally, when the saint was gathering firewood, Fire rained down from the sky and set it alight. After this, no doubts remained as to the place to be chosen.

All three of these miracles have a strictly symbolic and doctrinal interpretation connected to the  spiritual meaning of the Dormition. The dry place of the future Church in the middle of the dew-covered space is symbolically identical to the icon of the Mother of God in the which the fiery, dry,  light element, Christ, is surrounded by the wet, earthly element, the Virgin Mary. The next day, the  opposite occurs, which is the essence of the Dormition icon in which the dryness (i.e., fieriness,  spirituality) of the earth surrounds a small, wet space (matter). The third miracle directly concerns  the secret of the End Times, when the prepared firewood (the Church of true believers) will be lit on  fire and transfigured by heavenly light force, the force of the Second Coming.

In this mysterious story of the founding of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is captured the deepest prophecy of the fate of Russia, the fate of Christianity and Orthodoxy, and its glorious and great future. see official website of The Holy Dormition Kiev-Caves Lavra

  • Blessed Virgin Mary – Mystical Commentary

by Sheik Muzaffer Ozak Al-Jerrahi

To advance along the ascending way, one enters solitude and seclusion – not necessarily in a literal sense, but even while remaining within the context of family and social responsibility. These communal responsibilities are the sacred temple of human existence. However, solitude alone will not be sufficiënt.

One must remain oriented toward the mystic east, the direction of prayer. One must learn to gaze at the perpetual dawn of Divine Wisdom. This implies full participation in the science of prayer, as expressed within an authentic sacred tradition.

After entering that “solitary room facing east”, which is inwardness and simplicity of mind and heart, one can contemplate Divine Beauty manifest through the transparent creation – the universe in its pristine nature, untouched by conventional conceptuality but illumined instead by prophetic revelation.

Gradually, one’s being becomes more peaceful, harmonious, integrated. Divine Light begins to manifest directly.

Within this ineffable brightness, the conventional structures of society and our own habitual forms of perception are no longer visible. Within this dimension of sheer radiance, both waking visions and mystical dreams occur.


These subtle experiences are indications of progress along the evolutionary way, the steep path spoken of by Allah Most High in His Holy Quran. They can be accurately interpreted by a sheikh, or spiritual guide, who has received empowerment from a previous guide in the unbroken lineage of the Prophet Muhammad to carry on this sacred task of dream interpretation.



The combined inspiration and intention of disciple and guide, murid and murshid, sparks the alchemical process which is called inward.  Read more here

  • The birth of Jesus in man

Faouzi Skali in his book Jesus and the Sufi Traditon explains in the 10 chapter,The birth of Jesus in man:

The soul of the mystic, Rûmi teaches us, is similar to Mary: “If your soul is pure enough and full of love enough, it becomes like Mary: it begets the Messiah”.

And al-Halláj also evokes this idea: “Our consciences are one Virgin where only the Spirit of Truth can penetrate

In this context, Jesus then symbolizes the cutting edge of the Spirit present in the human soul: “Our body is like Mary: each of us has a Jesus in him, but as long as the pains of childbirth do not appear in us, our Jesus is not born” ( Rumi, The Book of the Inside, V).

This essential quest is comparable to suffering of Mary who led her under the palm tree (Koran XIX, 22-26): “ I said:” 0 my heart, seek the universal Mirror, go towards the Sea, because you will not reach your goal by the only river! ”

In this quest, Your servant finally arrived at the place of Your home as the pains of childbirth led Mary towards the palm tree “(RÛMi, Mathnawî, II, 93 sq.)

Just as the Breath of the Holy Spirit, breathed into Mary, made him conceive the Holy Spirit, as so when the Word of God (kalám al-haqq) enters someone’s heart and the divine Inspiration purifies and fills his heart (see Matthew V, 8 or Jesus in the Sermon of the Mountain exclaims: “Blessed are pure hearts, for they will see God! “) and his soul, his nature becomes such that then is produced in him a spiritual child (walad ma’nawî) having the breath of Jesus who raises the dead.

Human beings,” it says in Walad-Nama ( French translation, Master and disciple, of Sultan Valad and Kitab al-Ma’ârif  the Skills of Soul Rapture), must be born twice: once from their mother, another from their own body and their own existence. The body is like an egg: the essence of man must become in this egg a bird, thanks to the warmth of Love; then it will escape its body and fly into the eternal world of the soul, beyond space.

And Sultan Walad adds: “If the bird of faith (imán) is not born in Man during its existence, this earthly life is then comparable to a miscarriage.

The soul, in the prison of the body, is ankylosed like the embryo in the maternal womb, and it awaits its deliverance. This will happen when the “germ” has matured, thanks to a descent into oneself, to a painful awareness: “The pain will arise from this look thrown inside oneself, and this suffering makes pass to beyond the veil. As long as the mothers do not take birth pains, the child does not have the possibility of being born (. Rumi, Mathnawî, II, 2516 sq.) (…) My mother, that is to say my nature [my body], by his agony pains, gives birth to the Spirit … If the pains during the coming of the child are painful for the pregnant woman, on the other hand, for the embryo, it is the opening of his prison ”(Ibid., 3555 sq)

Union with God, explains Rûmi, manifests itself when the divine Qualities come to cover the attributes of His servant:

God’s call, whether veiled or not, grants what he gave to Maryam. 0 you who are corrupted by death inside your body, return from nonexistence to the Voice of the Friend! In truth, this Voice comes from God, although it comes from the servant of God! God said to the saint: “I am your tongue and your eyes, I am your senses, I am your contentment and your wrath. Go, for you are the one of whom God said: ‘By Me he hears and by Me he sees!’ You are the divine Consciousness, how should it be said that you have this divine Consciousness? Since you have become, by your wondering, ‘He who belongs to God’.

I am yours because ‘God will belong to him. Sometimes, I tell you: ‘It’s you!’, Sometimes, ‘It’s me!’ Whatever I say, I am the Sun illuminating all things. “(Mathnawî, I, 1934 sq).

Once the illusion of duality has been transcended, all that remains in the soul is the divine Presence: the soul then finds in the depths of its being the divine effigy.

It has become the place of theophany. This is what Rumi calls the spiritual resurrection: “The universal Soul came into contact with the partial soul and the latter received from her a pearl and put it in her womb. Thanks to this touch of her breast, the individual soul became pregnant, like Mary, with a Messiah ravishing the heart. Not the Messiah who travels on land and at sea, but the Messiah who is beyond the limitations of space! Also, when the soul has been fertilized by the Soul of the soul, then the world is fertilized by such a soul “( Ibid., II, 1184 sq.).

This birth of the spiritual Child occurs out of time, and therefore it occurs in each man who receives him with all his being through this “Be!” that Marie receives during the Annunciation: “From your body, like Maryam, give birth to an Issa without a father! You have to be born twice, once from your mother, another time from yourself. So beget yourself again! If the outpouring of the Holy Spirit dispenses again his help, others will in turn do what Christ himself did: the Father pronounces the Word in the universal Soul, and when the Son is born, each soul becomes Mary (Ibid., III, 3773.)

So Jesus can declare: “O son of Israel, I tell you the truth, no one enters the Kingdom of Heaven and earth unless he is born twice! By the Will of God, I am of those who were born twice: my first birth was according to nature, and the second according to the Spirit in the Sky of Knowledge!  » (Sha’ranî, Tabaqat, II, 26; Sohrawardî, ‘Awarif, I, 1)

The second birth corresponds to what we also gain in Sufism as the “opening (fath) of the eye of the heart“: “When Your Eye became an eye for my heart, my blind heart drowned in vision ; I saw that You were the universal Mirror for all eternity and I saw in Your Eyes my own image. I said, “Finally, I found myself in His Eyes, I found the Way of Light!” (Rumi, Mathnawî, II, 93 sq.)

This opening is the promise made by God to all those who conclude a pact with the spiritual master, pole of his time, like the apostles with Jesus or the Companions when they pledged allegiance to Muhammad:God was satisfied with believers when they swore an oath to you under the Tree, He knew perfectly the content of their hearts, He brought down on them deep peace (sakina), He rewarded them with a prompt opening ( fath) and by an abundant booty  which they seized ”(Coran XLVIII, 18-19).(The abundant loot indicates Divine Knowledge (mari’fa)


  • With the Convivium of the Family of Love of Bruegel , let us remember the Sufi words:

“Our way is the companionship ( Sohba) and all benefits are in fraternal meeting”

– The purpose of Sohba:

….”Tariqatuna as-sohba; our way is through sohbat. Our way is being Ahbab, our way is love, respect, salamat /safety…” Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshibandi

Sohba, means conversational companionship. The purpose of Sohba is always the sharing of Blessing and the cultivation of Soul, Love, Friendship and Saintliness. This is the way of the great Sufi Guides, and it is walked in their spiritual company.

 Sohba is related  with the Arabic term aṣ-ṣaḥābah (Arabic: الصحابة‎, “the companions”; from the verb صَحِبَ, “accompany”, “keep company with”, “associate with”) refers to the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the prophet Muhammad ( sal).

Companion,  comes from Old French compagnon “fellow, mate, friend, partner” (12c.), ” from Latin com- “with” + panis “bread”. actually,” one who shares bread with another “cum,” with, “and panis,” bread

share the breadHow should bread give strength

until it is broken?


The testimony of the companions, as it was passed down through chains of trusted narrators (isnads), was the basis of the developing Islamic tradition. From the traditions (hadith) of the life of Muhammad and his companions are drawn the Muslim way of life (sunnah), the code of conduct (sharia) it requires and the jurisprudence (fiqh) by which Muslim communities should be regulated.

-Serving Love:man_carrying_platter

The truly virtuous are they who… give food — however great be their want of it — unto the needy, the orphan, and the captive, saying, in their hearts, “We feed you for the sake of God alone: we desire no recompense from you, nor thanks: behold, we stand in awe of our Sustainer…”

One of the traditional roles of the dervish lodge was as community kitchen and hostel, providing food and shelter for the poor and for travelers. Many early Sufis were “sons of the road,” wandering during the warm season, and relying on the grace of God and the spontaneous generosity of fellow Sufis for shelter and sustenance. Followers of other faiths also could count on such generosity, with no questions asked about their religion.

A steaming bowl of Turkish soup, or çorba (chor-ba’), accompanied by fresh, crusty bread is like a warm hug from mom. In Turkey,during the holy month of Ramadan, the daily fast is always broken with dades , soup, and  fresh bread, – light fare that is easy on the stomach after a day of fasting.


What we will take from  this world is just a piece of bread, a loaf. With that Man is sated. Gets satisfied. If the whole world  was his, with one bowl of soup, my effendi, he would be full.” Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshibandi,  Sohba of the 31st of August, 2013.  Lefke – Cyprus

  • Being “Lateef” : gentle

When explaining “Lateef – Subtlety – لطيفة” Mawlana speaks about a nation that has cut its connections to its great historical and spiritual  heritage and asks us to” be Lateef”

2013-03-25_en_Medicines   “When Ashab al Kahf/People of the Cave woke up…this is from Holy Quran, Look, you have never thought about the as’hab al Kahf slept for 300 years Wa Azdadu Tis`aan (18:25) (And add 9 years) then He woke them up and when they woke up, they said: “We have nothing to eat. One of us may go and get something from the market that we can eat.” Did they not send one? Then what did they say? How Allah Almighty… What does it say, say? When one of them went to the market, they said: O our brother, wal yatalattaf (18:19)(speak gently)

What is this? Arabic? Meaning, explain with sublety. Don’t speak harshly. Speak lightly with humor sopeople may not get upset.wal yatalattaf” (18:19)(and speak with sublety.)

What does it mean? Did you ever think about it? Not Azhar scholars, even Sham scholars have not thought of it. This Holy Verse, is the exact center point of Holy Quran. Is it not so, Sh Mehmed? “Wal yatalattaf” (18:19)

What does it mean? Don’t be hard, be Lateef/gentle with them. Speak to them with latifa/lightness,….. “Wal yatalattaf” (18:19) This Holy Verse is the exact mid point of the Holy Quran. What is it “yatalattaf “? Be Lateef/gentle, subtle, light. Say Latifa/jokes, speak with easy stories… I have proof in my hand: Holy Quran, it says, “don’t be hard, be gentle.”

Be Lateef/gentle & if you speak using jokes/stories, everybody understands. If you speak hard,they run away from you or swear at you or attack you. Be Lateef/gentle, be gentle to everyone”. Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Al-Haqqani An-Naqshibandi, Sohbat of the 8th of July, 2011.

These words of a Sufi Sheikh of the 21st century resumes  perfectly the quality Peter Breugel has showed us in all his Paintings and Drawings 500 years ago and inviting us to a conversation …conversation with ourselves, with our souls, a Convivium of Love. May God Bless both eternaly.