Two domes above the sanctuary were completed within a nine-year span after the shrine’s 1959 dedication. Above the baldachin altar and canopy is a Byzantine mosaic of the Triumph of the Lamb. Adjacent to it is a depiction of the Descent of the Holy Spirit..- After more than 35 years, the National Shrine will embellish in colorful mosaic a third dome in the Great Upper Church. This is the first time since 1968 that the shrine will fill one of its five ceiling domes with mosaic tiles.
The third dome, which will take two to three years to complete, is just south of the great center dome, at the middle of the nave. Its theme is the Redemption. Leandro Miguel Velasco designed it for the Rambusch Decorating Co. of New York.
Divided into four quadrants, the mosaic depicts Jesus’ temptation in the desert, his crucifixion, his descent into hell, and his Resurrection. The four corners of the mosaic portray familiar Gospel figures: Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene and Simon of Cyrene. At the center of the mosaic, four cherubim hold the symbols of Jesus’ Passion: the crown of thorns, the chalice, the whip, and the tunic and dice.
To see an image of the mosaic, go to: