From the Colosseum to the Duomo, every renowned piece of architecture transcends its physical components and tells a story. In today’s edition, we discover some of the many stories the new “All Souls” mausoleum will tell as it weaves together classic and contemporary design elements.
The significance of olive oil
In our first email to you, we spoke of Jesus Christ’s final moments of reflection at Gethsemane, a stunning garden surrounded by wizened and majestic olive trees.
Olive trees played a fundamental role in ancient times through olive oil, which was used for a variety of household tasks. However, olive oil also held special, holy significance through its role in anointment - Christ himself was said to have been anointed with olive oil in preparation for his death.
The importance of these trees and their oil is honoured in the All Souls mausoleum's courtyard garden, where an olive tree takes pride of place. Their significance is also echoed in the design of the garden's unique sculpture - where, as we will explain below, there is more than meets the eye.
The Christograms – Good reigns over Evil
When the Roman emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity, he was said to adopt the Christogram as a symbol of the power of good, and its triumph over evil. The symbol took the first two letters of the Greek word for ‘Christ’ – X and P – and superimposed them to create a representation of Jesus’ presence and influence.
Several Christograms form points of reflection in the corridors of the All Souls mausoleum. These powerful symbols have been adorning churches throughout history and are still used to this day; a constant reminder of the victory of God over sin and death.
Filled to the brim with symbolism
In the mausoleum’s courtyard garden, the sculpture we mentioned earlier takes central stage. This striking focal piece features a tapestry of stacked stone that together form the curves of an urn - but this is no ordinary vessel.
We spoke earlier about the role olive oil played in historic times. In ancient Rome, it was often stored in a terracotta urn known as an amphora - and it's the amphora that provides the inspiration for the sculpture’s unique shape, in a final nod to the significance of this special liquid in Christian culture.
The All Souls mausoleum is currently under construction within Springvale Botanical Cemetery and scheduled for completion in mid-2022.