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Sant'Apollinare in Classe: Apse Mosaic: Jeweled Cross with Alpha

Apse Mosaic: Jeweled Cross with Alpha

Detail of the 6th-century apse mosaic, which centers on an interesting symbolic depiction of the Transfiguration of Christ (Mt 17:1-9). Christ himself is represented by a large golden cross on a starry blue background (99 stars to be exact), while the three apostles who were present at the Transfiguration - Peter, James and John - are represented by lambs. The cross is decorated with mosaic gems and a bust of Christ in the center. It has a Latin inscription at its base reading SALVS MVNDI, "Salvation of the World" and a Greek inscription at the top: IXΘYC. This means "fish" in Greek and is also an acronym of the names of Christ: "Jesus Christ Son of God Savior." The Greek letters Alpha and Omega are at the ends of the cross-arms.