Timeless truths of salvation history captured in the timeless art of mosaic

Columbia Staff Report

With the Nov 17 dedication of the Knights of Columbus Incarnation in Washington, D.C. the foremost Marian shrine in the United States not only added another artistic achievement to its stunning mosaics and statuary, but the Order deepened its relationship to Mary's shrine.

The Incarnation Dome, like much of the basilica's art, is a mosaic. The Annunciation, Nativity, Wedding Fest at Cana, and Transfiguration are depicted in approximately 2.4 million mult-colored glass tiles spread out over 3,780 square feet. The text inscribed aroud the base of the dome reads: "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And we saw his glory--glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth"[John 1:14].

The Incarnation Dome is above the south nave of the National Shrine's Great Upper Church, some 100 feet above the church's marble floor. Though it can be viewed as a work of art unto itself, the Incarnation Dome, like the other decorated domes at the National Shrine leads the viewer to the mosaic depicting "Christ in Majesty," which dominates the north apse and the shrine's altar.

In honor of the 125th anniversary of the Knights of Columbus, the Order's Board of Directors pledged $1 million toward the dome's construction. Fourth Degree Knightrs are currently raising $500,000, or half of the Order's overall commiment to the project.

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Posted 3 Feb 2008