The Apse Mosaic at Cefalù Cathedral: Detail, Christ Pantocrator

12th century
Mosaic
Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Cefalù, Sicily

This is a typical Christ Pantocrator image, a half-height image of Christ as in Heaven, his right hand blessing the congregants from the apse of the church while his left hand holds an open book. In this case, the pages of the book read ego sum lux mundi qui sequitur me non ambulabit in tenebris sed habebit lucem vitae, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). For the blessing, it is common for the figure to hold his fingers as the faithful do when making the Sign of the Cross, although the exact configuration of the fingers varies with time and culture.

The two punning inscriptions in the margin present Christ as simultaneously redeemer and judge. The one on the left is FACTUS HOMO HOMINIS FACTIQUE REDEMPTOR, "The one made man and the redeemer of the Man he made." One of John Singer Sargent's wall paintings in the Boston Central Library, "The Dogma of the Redemption," has an almost identical inscription: "Factus homo factor hominis, factique redemptor, Redimo, corporeus corpora, corda deus" (Caffin, 265). On the right the phrase is IUDICO CORPOREUS CORPORA CORDA DEUS, "I the embodied God judge bodies and hearts."

Flanking Christ's head are the letters IC and XC. These are Greek abbreviations of the words Jesus and Christ respectively.

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For more about the Pantocrator image, see my page for Christ in Majesty.

Photographed at the site by Claire Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.