Erich Lessing

Purification of the Jordan resulted from Jesus’ baptism in its waters, the early Church fathers believed, an idea perhaps symbolized here by the pillar and cross at center. More likely, the pillar and cross represent an actual shrine at the site at the time the mosaic was created. Again, a diminutive river god of the Eastern type, fully submerged to the right of the pillar and cross, looks on with apparent alarm. This mosaic decorates the apse of the 11th-century Katholikon of the Monastery of Hosios Lukas, near Delphi, Greece.