A 4th Century Sarcophagus Commemorating Lost Loved One and Love of God

Love can mean many things, but the Greek term “agape” is meant to convey love that is total and self giving. It is more than simple physical passion or “eros,” or “filia” friendship. Discovered in the Vatican near St. Peter’s and dating to the the Constantine era (mid 300’s A.D.), this sarcophagus, which has been called “Agape” stands a lasting testament of love both for a lost spouse and for God who watches over her in eternity.

Though inscriptions on pieces like these are rare, etched on the surface here are the words, “To my dear wife, Agape” – as well as a note commemorating the span of their relationship down to the day – “55 years, 1 month, and 5 days.” Surrounding this touching memorial are numerous architectural aspects as well as biblical scenes from the new and old testaments. These include the sacrifice of Isaac, Jonah and the whale, and many miracles of Christ.

[VIDEO} for more on this amazing piece of history watch this brief video with Christian Antiquities Curator Umberto Utro and Valentina Lini.

Sarcophagus of Agape and Crescentianus, California Chapter from Vatican Patrons of the Arts on Vimeo.

Curator of the Christian Antiquities Department, Dr. Umberto Utro, and Valentina Lini explain the project. Careful cleaning and meticulous work were able to return the piece to its original luster and will allow it to stand for all time as a beautiful monument to a loving husband who was committed to “agape” for his wife and for God. Thanks to generous donations from the California Chapter – particularly the efforts of Roberta and Howard Ahmanson for their help in restoring this treasured memorial of love and faith.

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