Christ Church Apse and Nave
From "A Tour of Christ Church:"
"The apse is decorated with mosaics, which are formed from tesserae. Tesserae are cubes of glass or vitreous enamel set in mastic or cement at uneven angles so that they reflect the light in a sparkling manner. There are said to be seven million tesserae in Christ Church. One’s eye is drawn to the figure of Christ in the apse, and the use of gold leaf for the background adds richness and depth. This representation is known as Christ Pantocratur. Pantocratur is a Greek word meaning “all powerful” and representations of Christ Pantocratur are widely used in Eastern Orthodox churches. Christ is portrayed as King and He is clad in the robes of a Byzantine Emperor. The bands on His shoulders are part of the imperial insignia and He is seated on the imperial throne. His right hand is raised in blessing – the Eastern style of blessing is used – and His left hand holds the Gospel of St. John, open at the text “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). On either side of His head are the letters IC_XC_ transliterated from the Greek, and this is an abbreviation for Jesus Christ. The surrounding tesserae are cunningly set so that the figure of Christ is bathed in light.
Immediately below the figure of Christ is a curved band of blue with gold lettering. The text is from Matthew 22:27 and 39, and reads “Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Surrounding the apse is a semi-circular band with seven medallions, each showing a figure holding a shield. This is a rather idiosyncratic interpretation of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the symbols on the shields, reading from left to right are: the Sun for understanding, a Book for counsel, a Lion for fortitude, a Dove for wisdom, a Lamp for knowledge, a Cross for piety and a Crown for spiritual reward.
Below this band on the left is the figure of John the Baptist who is pointing towards Christ, symbolizing the New Covenant, and over his head is the text “Let not your heart be troubled.” On the right is Moses, symbolizing the Old Covenant, and above his head is the text “Wait on the Lord Be of Good Courage.” In an Eastern Orthodox church, one would normally see the Virgin Mary rather than Moses, but Moses was deemed more suitable for a Methodist church. Between the figures of John the Baptist and Moses, around the curve of the apse, are the figures of the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."