Diakonikon Baptistery

In August 531 CE a Diaconicon, also spelled Diakonikon, Baptistery was built to the north of the courtyard against one of the funeral chapels. It was reached by a short flight of stairs, as it was one meter lower than the floor of the courtyard. The three apsed cella (cella trichola) of the Memorial Church of Moses was preceded by a courtyard. The diaconicon is, in Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, the name given to a chamber on the south side of the central apse of the church, where the vestments, books, etc., that are used in the Divine Services of the church are kept.

Subject

Home > N/A
Location

Home > Middle East > Jordan > Mount Nebo > Diakonikon Baptistery

circa 531 CE

The Diakonikon Baptistery (locate) inside the the rebuilt basilica houses several remains of antique mosaics but the masterpiece is a hunting and herding scene interspersed with an assortment of African fauna, including a zebu (humped ox), lions, tigers, bears, boars, zebras, an ostrich on a leash and a camel-shaped giraffe. The modern chapel presbytery, builty to protect the site and provide worship space, remnants of of mosaic floors from different periods can be seen.

circa 531 CE

This rectangular room contained the baptismal stone fountain fashioned in the form of a cross and coated with a thick layer of time plaster. Two Greek inscriptions show the date of the mosaic floor (August 531), the name of the mosaicists, Soel, Kaium, and Elias, and the name of the Bishop of Madaba, Elias. On three sides there are steps while at the southern arm of the cross there is a semicircular tub instead. The spaces between the arms are decorated with mosaic knots of complex geometric design.

circa 531 CE

The Diaconicon Baptistry and the adjacent funerary chapel was dismanteled, the floor was raised to match the other parts of the building and a new mosaic was laid in the new flooring. Over the threshold at the entrance of the baptistery, was a welcoming inscription, "Peace to All", placed to greet visitors entering the chapel.

circa 531 CE

The central mosaic of the Diakonikon Baptistery with its hunting and pastoral scenes of colourful almost intact tesserae is one of the most remarkable Byzantine mosaics in Jordan. It was discovered in 1976 by Fr. Michele Piccirillo in the northern hall of the Moses Basilica, below a simple mosaic floor. A cross-shaped baptismal font was also discovered on the eastern end of the hall.

circa 400 CE

In the 6th century, the Memorial Church of Moses was enlarged and transformed into a basilica with a sacristy and new baptistery (whose surviving floor mosaics date from circa 530 CE). Soon the church was the heart of a large monastery and pilgrimage center that would thrive for nearly six centuries. The modern additions to the church are very simple, consisting of little more than a shelter over the fascinating excavations and ancient mosaic floors.

Top
Like Us on Facebook!

A small favour!
We will really appreciate it! :)