Mike Aquilina

Site for Sore Eyes

Thursday October 19th 2006, 3:04 am

Macalester University is digging up Kenchreai (Cenchrae), a New Testament site (see Acts 18:18 and Romans 16:1). It was in this port city, near Corinth, that Paul cut his hair to fulfill a vow. It was a deaconess of this city, Phoebe, whom Paul commended to the Romans. In the Byzantine period, the basilica church stood as the center of Kenchreai’s city life.

The archeological team posted photos of some lovely artifacts. The vine motif you see on the lamps may represent Jesus Christ, the true vine, as this was a favorite image of Him in the primitive Church (see Jn 15:5). I once saw an exquisite lamp (probably fifth century) ringed by vines that emanated from a central cross. That says it all.

There are times, however, when a vine is merely a vine; and that may be the case on these lamps. Even so, they can inspire us to prayer. All the world is charged with God’s grandeur.

Hat tip on the archeological digs: Mediterranean Archaeology.