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concept
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Mosaics
The church's nave, chancel, and and apse were paved with marble, but the rest of the church, including the narthex, was paved with mosaics, but only fragments now remain. Most of the mosaics were made of large tesserae, mainly in white, with some being red, yellow, or blue. No shapes could be seen in the mosaic of the sacristy, while those in the chancel area and the northern aisle (in front of the cave and adjacent to the baptismal font) have the form of flowers. The mosaic south of the cave includes a Greek cross in the northwest corner. In the narthex, the same flower shapes can be found on mosaics near the church entrance and in the northern part of the narthex. In the latter, we also find a border of white, blue, red, and yellow tesserae, with the pieces within this border placed diagonally.

In the southern room of the church, opposite the cave, we find the remains of what was once a colorful mosaic made with small tesserae pieces. It has a white border and then a sequence of blue, red, yellow and, again, white lines. West of this border are the remnants of acanthus scrolls of yellow, red, blue, green and white colors against a dark greenish-blue background, within which we find a white cross-shaped flower.

The edges of the acanthus leaves have been outlined, and there is an attempt at creating color gradations. Very similar scrolls are found in the Chapel of Suwayfiyah. Those scrolls have within them foliate heads and figures of animals and birds (Piccirillo 1993: 264). The Chapel of Khirbet el-Kursi, near Amman, and the Church of St. Kyriakos at el-Quwaysmah also have similar borders. Such motifs are not limited to the area of 'Amman, but can also be found in Madaba, in the Chapel of the Martyr Thoedore (A.D. 562), the Church of el-Khadr and the Church of the Apostles which is dated to A.D. 578 (Piccirillo 1993: 106, 117, 129, 265, 268). The latter is the closest parallel to our mosaic as it has a dark, blackish background with white cross-shaped flowers. Since the date of that mosaic is known, our fragmentary border can probably also be dated to the late 6th century. This would coincide well with Bagatti's (1973: 276-77) dating of the St. George inscription to the end of the 6th or beginning of the 7th century. The baptismal font from Kursi, mentioned above, which is similar to the font here is also dated to the end of the 6th century. Thus, the parallels indicate that the church was in use in that period. On the basis of the present evidence, it is impossible to say when it was built.

 

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