After a four hour drive from Rome we arrived at The Basilica of S. Apollinare in Classe, our goal for the day. The basilica was built in the 6th C. CE and the relics of the first bishop of Ravenna, Apollinare are interred in the high altar. The apse of the church has the magnificent mosaic that we came to see. It is huge and the detail in the tile work is exquisite.
When approaching the site, the bell tower is immediately apparent. The 37.5 meter high tower looms over a statue of the Emperor Augusta. The interior of the church is a standard basilica style with a nave and two side aisles, separated by parellel rows of colums. It took a few minutes of staring at the apse to gain the full impact of the art. There is a cross, with a very tiny Jesus in the centre. Overhead there is a hand of God reaching down from heaven. Moses is on one side, Elijah is on the other. There is a large medallion of Jesus at the top of the piece and another showing the cross with ninety stars in the sky. Every detail is there to assist our understanding of Christ and his relationship with us and the world.