A Sixth Century Granite Capital

All of the capitals in the sixth century basilica are carved from solid blocks of granite. The capital of the westernmost column on the north side of the church has four projecting corners where it meets the arches above it. These are adorned with rams’ heads.

Below, four crosses placed at the cardinal points of the compass alternate with palm trees bearing dates. The whole composition is united by an undulating vine bearing bunches of grapes.

Beasts and serpents bow beneath the power of the Cross. Suspended from its horizontal arms are the Greek letters alpha and omega.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:3-7)

5 comments to A Sixth Century Granite Capital

  • Mother Mary

    Thank you Fr. Justin for showing us this beautiful carving, and as we approach the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, reminding us of the healing power of the Cross. The quote from Revelation is particularly helpful for me in replying to an isolated Orthodox Romanian woman who emails me from her home in a remote, small, Shetland island. Greetings to you and all the brothers from St. Sunniva Skete in Unst, another Shetland Isle.

    • C.D. Weaver

      I loved the Staurogram with the alpha and omega. I saw a fifth century piece like this in the Vatican useum and made a steel replica exactly like it. We treasure it…C.D. Weaver

  • Jeff B

    Father Justin, I am not really sure how I stumbled upon your blog but it is purely radiant! Thank you!

  • sr Joanna

    Dear Jeff, Surely the world would be a very different place if more people were aware of this radiance. Perhaps it must be discovered first by those seeking it.

  • Michelle P. Brown

    hello father Justin, what a blessing to find your blog. I love this capital and thank you for sharing it with us.

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