A Polychrome Marble Altar by Rugo Stone

In past articles we have noted that amongst some of the most noble and beautiful altars are those which employ polychrome marbles set into beautiful patterns and arrangements. This particular tradition is especially visible in places such as Rome where red, green, gold and beige hues are frequently used for altars, and of course this tradition goes back more generally to the architectural tradition of the Roman empire itself -- be that Rome proper, the "New Rome" that was Constantinople or other great cities in and around the Mediterranean. 

An example of this type of work, but newly made, comes to us by way of Rugo Stone whom we have introduced our readers to before. They produced an altar in this tradition for Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2018.  Rugo Stone sets the broader background of the project:

The sanctuary’s original marble furnishings were produced in a rare type of Tennessee marble. We found salvaged domestic marble in our collection to restore them – a perfect match with Holy Comforter’s original tones of light rose, dark rose, and cedar marble. After carefully dismantling the existing altar, ambo, and sanctuary steps, we used this rare antique salvaged marble to design and fabricate a new rear altar and new sanctuary flooring and steps. We also restored the historic altar of sacrifice and ambo, installing them according to the architect’s vision. A project highlight was creating the new rear altar, with a handmade Art Deco clay tile mosaic frieze in the mensa where our master mosaic artist matched the original color and style meticulously.

As you will see, the end result was quite fantastic and looks veyr much like something that could have been plucked out of the Eternal City itself:

In addition to the central Chi-Rho medallion found on the central facing of the altar, the altar also includes beautiful coloured decorative mosaic work that complements the beautiful, coloured marbles:

Greek crosses furnish the sides of the altar:

Finally, the traditional five crosses, representing the five wounds of Christ, are found upon the mensa of the altar:

What more comment need there be than to say that we need more of this sort of thing -- and less wood and/or faux marble, in our churches. While this comes with a certain amount of expense of course, there is nothing more worthy and important of investing in, in my estimation, than the altar and its associated accoutrements for it is around that that the entire liturgy and church is centred and focused (or at least should be). 

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