The Hinton St Mary Mosaic: our Catholic roots in 4th century England
An image that is a clue to our ancient heritage in Dorset In 1963 some men putting in a washing line in the village of Hinton St Mary (30 miles from Poole, in North Dorset) discovered a Roman mosaic. It contains perhaps the oldest image of Jesus in the world, (4th Century) possibly where Mass was celebrated - and bears the same 'Chi-Rho' symbol that we have on our altar and tabernacle plinth. Chi and Rho are the first two letters of Christ in Greek. Whilst this symbol was commonly used to refer to Jesus, it bears witness to a continuity of art and faith in our county stretching back over 1,600 years: he is Christ, the God-man who brings us eternal life.
The pomegranates either side of Jesus' face are symbols of eternal life.