Latter-day Saint Life

Learn the Symbolism Behind the Statues in the Rome Temple Visitors' Center


Keys. A bag of money. An eagle. And numerous instruments representing a martyr’s death.

Those are some of the symbols found on the 12 ancient apostles statues by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, which have been featured in The Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark, for nearly 200 years and now at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center.

Each base bearing an apostle statue has inscribed a Greek equivalent of that apostle’s name. The larger Christus statue, has a shorter base with “Venite a Me” and “Matteo 11:28” — Italian for “Come unto Me” and Matthew 11:28, which reads: “Come unto me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

The Christus statue is seen with outstretched arms as welcoming, inviting, enveloping, with the hands and feet of the resurrected Christ shown with the wounds of the crucifixion. That differs from other similar statues and depictions of the Savior either suffering through the crucifixion or with arms reaching upward in a show of power.

Story by Scott Taylor; lead image by Kristin Murphey, Deseret News.
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