Photographer: Nicky Davidov, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority
“Of Basilius,” begins this eighth- or ninth-century mosaic inscription. At the top of the inscription is a monogram—flanked by two sprigs and surmounted by a cross—comprised of the letters of the name “Basilius,” a man who was apparently so well known that he needed no further identification. Expert Leah di Segni suggests that he was the patriarch of Jerusalem. The rest of the extant text reads, “By the provision and effort of John the recluse (?) …” John may have been one of the monks who lived near, and served at, the Kathisma Church. This mosaic is evidence that the church continued to be a site of Christian pilgrimage, and perhaps worship, even after the Arab conquest.