The 4th century A.D. was an age of great social change. Roman Emperor Constantine passed the Edict of Milan, sanctioning Christianity. This Edict of Toleration caused reforms to flow through the empire and ended up abolishing crucifixion as a means of capital punishment. Out of this time of open faith, roughly 3 centuries after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, comes the Christogram Sarchophagus, an extravagantly designed tomb housing the remains of a wealthy Christian woman, Julia Latronilla.
A Christogram is one of the oldest known Christian symbols and remains popular in some denominations, an emblem that displays an abbreviation, CHI-RHO, of the Greek letters for “Jesus Christ”. Latronilla`s sarcophagus centralizes the Christogram, however it is the rest of the structure that proves even more interesting. The grave is covered in intricate stone etchings celebrating various biblical moments: Abraham`s halted sacrifice of his son Isaac, Jesus` miracle of the changing of wine into water and the triumphal entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, the last of which can be seen in the upper left corner of the photo. There even appear to be disciples spreading their clothing underneath the coming King. It`s interesting that though thousands of years apart, believers of every age will go through great lengths to celebrate their heavenly life for Christ, even in earthly death. You can study the Christogram Sarcophagus in more detail at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem in Israel.
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