Tel Ira - ST. PETER - Narthex or Atrium

Location in the architectural complex: 
Narthex or Atrium
Mosaic floor
Illustrative material: 
The room is paved almost entirely with a white mosaic with several spread out decorative motifs, each is sui generalis. Two meters to the northern wall there is a partially destroyed medallion (0.7 m) containing two interlaced oval rings.Two more medallions enclosed in a stylized cross (0.6 in diameter) flank the entrance to the chapel, only one survived. To the south, 1 m. to the western wall is a depiction of an animal identified as a lion or leopard chasing another animal (ram,stag or ibex). To its east are two palm trees titled towards the chapel floor. to the southeast, about 2 meters from the palm trees is another medallion (1 m.) containing a globular high based jar with an ornamental band across its body. A pair of birds facing each other flank its neck. Directly east is a square (0.4 m) containing a depiction of an hourglass.To the southeast there is a Greek inscription: "Petros bless us..". 1.5 meters to the southeast there is a circle containing three interwined rings. In between these decorative motifs are scattered various shapes: Rhombes, crosslets,florets and single Greek letters.
Iconographical motives: 
hunting lions
palm tree
Medallion destroyed by a later grave that was dug through the mosaic floor.
The animals and trees could perhaps hold symbolic Chritstian meaning. The lion is often linked to the story of Daniel in the lions den.The lion becmae a symbol of redemption and of Christ's ressurection. The leopard on the other hand, became associated with sin and is symbolic of the devil or the antichrist. The stag is a symbol of piety and religious aspiration (psalm 42:1). Sometimes the stag is a symbol of a pure life, being as it lives high on a mountain. Palm trees and branches relate to truimph over sin and death and Christ is often depicted in Christian art holding a palm branch.