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An inscription of Exodus verses dominates this monumental cross; at the same time, the engravings on the tip of the cross-arms are also noteworthy. On the top arm, the hands of God are depicted emerging out of a starlit heavenly sphere. On the left cross-armed, Moses is depicted ascending Mount Sinai with his hands covered, while on the right cross-arm Moses is depicted removing his sandal before receiving the Law. It has been suggested that the engraver reproduced the iconography of miniature manuscripts, and imbued his engravings with a late Classical antique style. It is possible that this cross crowned the marble templon of Justinian’s basilica, and that along with the Transfiguration on the apse, referred to the Theophanies that consecrated the site.


Details

Cast and engraved bronze
Sixth century
Height 104 cm
St. Catherine's Monastery Saint Catherine, South Sinai Governorate