Photo: The Coptic Museum, tombstones from the early years of Christianity are often decorated with an architectural structure symbolizing the house of God. Various Christian symbols fill the lower part of this gravestone. In the centre is Christ’s monogram, comprising the two Greek letters “Chi” and “Rho”. This monogram is the most common symbol of Jesus along with the cross and fish. Here it is flanked by looped crosses (crux ansata), formerly the Egyptian Hieroglyph “Ankh” (the key of life), and the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet “Alpha” and “Omega”, evoking eternity. All of these Christian signs are framed by fluted columns. Two leaves and a Greek inscription are set inside the pediment. The inscription gives the deceased’s name, the date of his death and expresses the wish that he may “rest in peace”.

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