"Sometimes called a ‘mercy seat,’ the misericord was the small ledge that protruded from the undersides of folding seats in a choir stall in a medieval church or cathedral. Medieval liturgical services were conducted eight times a day, and the clergy who attended and performed the services had to stand during the entire ritual. Developed in the 13th century, the misericord allowed the clergy to rest while appearing to stand during services." More misericords in British cathedrals. [more inside]
"The subjects vary... but there is an ideological approach in America that is distinguished by one common characteristic: words and deeds utterly lacking in the quality of mercy," by Charles Stross. Or, in other words, is using a minotaur to gore detainees a form of torture?
In 1943, over Allied bomb ravaged Germany, US pilot Charlie Brown's B-17 was badly damaged and straying further from friendly territory. Luftwaffe ace fighter pilot Franz Stigler pursued the bomber intending to shoot it down, but refrained when he saw the extent of the damage and directed Brown and his crew out of harm's way. The two pilots were reunited 46 years later. [via] [more inside]
The Mercy Seat. Described in the book of Exodus, the throne of mercy has quite a variety of meanings. Some contemporary Christians are interested in "reconstructing" an image based on Egyptian and Phoenician culture. In Judaism, the kisei rachamim is part of the narrative of Yom Kippur, as God moves from the seat of justice to the seat of compassion. In medieval Europe, and especially in Germany, the Gnadenstuhl was a perfect representation of the trinity, combining the cruxification, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit (usually a bird), into one image of mournful compassion. Nick Cave used the idea of the mercy seat as the frame for a song about murder, sin, capital punishment, and atonement/redemption, which was later covered by Johnny Cash (mp3 clip). The chair of mercy is even visually alluded to Jodorowsky's Montana Sacra, aka Holy Mountain. (Which have been inspired in part by the Ascended Masters of Mount Shasta, but that's technically another story - the bizarro California cultists story.)