Monreale Cathedral: The Chancel and Apse Mosaic

12th/13th century
Monreale, Sicily

The highest of the bands above the Christ Pantocrator represents timeless Heaven, with the angels on the left and right singing SANCTUS SANCTUS SANCTUS DOMINUS DEUS SABAOTH PLENI, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts. [Heaven and earth are] full [of your glory]." At the summit between these angels is the "Prepared Throne" that represents the Holy Trinity.

In the band outlining the Pantocrator the roundel at the top has Jesus as a youth. To the right and below is the one woman in the band, a crowned queen. To the left and below is King David. The other roundels portray the prophets who foretold the coming of Christ. All the figures except young Jesus are labeled in Greek and hold scrolls with Latin phrases from their prophecies.

The next register down brings us from the time of the prophets to that of Jesus and his contemporaries: Left to right, St. John the Evangelist (labeled with his Greek epithet, "the Theologian"), another saint, St. Peter with a scroll, the Virgin and Child flanked by Saints Michael and Gabriel, St. Paul, another saint, and St. Matthew. All these are labeled in Greek.

Finally, the lowest register takes us to the current "Age of Grace" and saints who lived after the time of Christ: Left to right, Saints Martin, Stephen, Peter of Alexandria, Clement (labeled "Pope and Martyr"), Silvester, Thomas of Canterbury (i.e., Thomas à Beckett, martyred not long before this mosaic was created), Lawrence, and Nicholas. They are all labeled in Latin.

View this image in full resolution.
Detail photographs, with commentaries, on the Pantocrator image, the Prepared Throne image, and the bottom register.
Read more about Christ in Majesty, Portraits of Mary, and King David.
Read more about St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Matthew.
Read more about St. Clement, St. Lawrence, St. Martin, St. Nicholas, St. Stephen, and St. Thomas à Beckett.

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.