John should not be depicted as the bridegroom at the Wedding Feast at Cana
Year mention: 1617
John the Evangelist ; Wedding feast of Cana
Not corresponding with Church teaching/dogma

The incorrect depiction of the wedding feast at Cana gives arguments to heretics

Molanus, Johannes
Juan de Flandes - Weddingfeast at Cana, ca. 1497
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,

In book 2, chapter 23, Molanus deals with examples of images which could lead to dangerous errors among the uneducated. The fourth example Molanus provides is the depiction of John the Evangelist as the bridegroom at the wedding feast at Cana, a common iconographical mistake, according to him. This depiction of John is not in accordance with the teaching of the Church, as Ambrosius Catharinus has written that he was not the bridegroom at the event. The importance of this error by the painters has been used by heretics to criticise the sacrament of marriage.

“Some still represent John the Evangelist as the bridegroom of the wedding feast of Cana in Galilee whereas, as Catharin says, we must at least think that John was not the bridegroom of the wedding feast to which Jesus had been invited, since the Lord could not have dissolved these nuptials which he had honoured and approved with his presence, as all the holy commentators rightly teach. Because if he would have done that he would have given arguments to the heretics against marriage.”

“Praererea pingunt aliqui Ioannem Evengelistam sponsum in Cana Galilae cum tamen, ut Catharinus habet minime putandum sit quod Ioannes spnsus fuerit in eis nuptiis ad quas vocatus est Iesus: sic enim Dominus soluisset nuptias quas tamen venit honoratum et comprabatum, ut sancti expositores recte docent. Si autem soluisset, reprobationis nuptiarum potius argumentum dedisset haereticis.”

Quoted Authorities

John, 2, 1. St. Politi, Amborse, Annotationes in Cajetanum, book 5

Christ, John the Evangelist, wedding feast of Cana

Date mention

Historical Location

Iconclass Number

Molanus, De historia sanctarum imaginum et picturarum (1617), book 2, ch. 23, 91

Molanus, 1996, 187-188.

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