Djemila Baptistery Font Floor Mosaic
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
At the center of the round Djemila baptistery (late 4th / early 5th C.) is a square baptismal font designed for baptism by immersion. Sheltering the font is a rock-hewn square canopy (ciborium) supported by four columns rising from each of the font's corners (not visible here). On each of the font's four sides, two stone steps lead from floor-level to the basin of the font. Here the catechumen would have descended into the waters of baptism and, prompted by the bishop's three questions, would have declared faith in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and in the Holy Spirit. The mosaic decoration on the floor of the font depicts four fish, signifying Christians, surrounding a central cross, symbol of Christ. The fish is a very ancient symbol associated with Christianity. In Greek the word for fish is ichthys, which is an acronym for Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior. In the Djemila font, Christ is represented with the 'footed' cross known as the fylfot cross (also known as a tetraskelion or swastika). The feet, like sunrays, are meant to convey radiant energy and vibrancy.Handwritten note on Fr. Cioffi's slide frame reads: "Inscription: Tempus erit omens in Fonte Levari".ca. June 1983
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