Presentation in the Temple
This episode from the childhood of Jesus is described in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 2:22-37). It extends over all four sides of the capital.
Three colonnette-supported arches on the south and west sides represent the architecture of the Temple, in which the scene of the Presentation takes place. Mary, much of whose head right up to her crown has been lost, is presenting the Christ Child – with cruciform nimbus, his hand raised in the gesture of blessing – to the priest Simeon. Behind Simeon, with a long pointed beard, an angel is standing on the south side of the capital and sprinkling the altar-table with consecrated water.
On the north side, the prophetess Anna and Joseph appear behind Mary; both hold birds in their hands (Lk 2:24). Joseph is followed in turn by a bearded man with short tunic and mantle fastened over his shoulder, who is pointing forward. He is flanked by two large leaves.
With the representation of the Presentation in the Temple – a theme that might have been inspired by an apocryphal source, the Arabic Infancy Gospel (or Childhood of the Saviour) (6:1) – the series of capitals dedicated to the witnesses of the Incarnation of God is completed. These capitals, devoted to the acceptance and revelation of the Christian light, are situated in the north wing of the cloister flanking the church and can therefore be placed in intimate relation to the liturgy and mystery of the Eucharist.