Rare Byzantine mosaic found in Jerusalem’s Old City

Source: Arutz Sheva
1,500 year old find includes name of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Christian Orthodox priest.
Natalya Mihailova | 24 August 2017
Israeli archaeologists on Wednesday unveiled a 1,500-year-old portion of mosaic floor bearing the names of Byzantine Emperor Justinian and a senior Christian Orthodox priest.

David Gellman, director of the excavation in east Jerusalem’s walled Old City, said that while the area was rich in archaeological finds, few such inscriptions had been found.

“Direct text and letters from people back then are relatively rare,” he told AFP.

The Greek inscription, dated at 550 or 551 AD, commemorates the founding of a building thought to be a hostel for pilgrims near the city’s Damascus Gate.

Constantine, the Orthodox priest who founded it, was abbot of the Nea Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the largest church in Jerusalem when it was built in 543 AD.

Gellman said the rectangular section of mosaic, 1.14 meters (3 foot 7 inches) on its longest side, “tells us about the way churches and monasteries worked back then. It makes this piece very unique”.

“It tells us that the abbot, the head of the big church in Jerusalem, was not only the head of that specific church,” he said.

It was discovered intact about a meter (three feet) below street level as Gellman and his team made a routine exploratory dig ahead of the arrival of workers to lay communications cables.

“We were very close to closing the excavation when I noticed that a few of the mosaic stones, which were otherwise plain white, were at a different angle and seemed to be a little darker,” he said.

“I cleaned up that small corner… and found that it was the bottom left corner of the inscription itself,” he added.

“At that moment I realised that we have a very unique find here.”

Since you are here…

…we do have a small request. More and more people visit Orthodoxy and the World website. However, resources for editorial are scarce. In comparison to some mass media, we do not make paid subscription. It is our deepest belief that preaching Christ for money is wrong.

Having said that, Pravmir provides daily articles from an autonomous news service, weekly wall newspaper for churches, lectorium, photos, videos, hosting and servers. Editors and translators work together towards one goal: to make our four websites possible - Pravmir.ru, Neinvalid.ru, Matrony.ru and Pravmir.com. Therefore our request for help is understandable.

For example, 5 euros a month is it a lot or little? A cup of coffee? It is not that much for a family budget, but it is a significant amount for Pravmir.

If everyone reading Pravmir could donate 5 euros a month, they would contribute greatly to our ability to spread the word of Christ, Orthodoxy, life's purpose, family and society.