St. Christopher’s Parish to get new cross

Mahogany piece produced by artist Antonius Roberts to replace 60-year-old fixture

Across produced from the beautiful Bahamian Swietenia mahagoni (mahogany wood) will replace the deteriorating original copper cross that has hung on the gable at St. Christopher’s Parish Lyford Cay for six decades.

The mahogany cross created by noted artist and sculptor Antonius Roberts was blessed by Reverend Laish Boyd, bishop of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, during a recent service at the Lyford Cay church.

The new mahogany cross, which is five feet high and three feet wide, is expected to be affixed to the church’s gable, so that it will be in place for the church’s patronal festival, the Feast of St. Christopher, on Sunday, July 24.

The new cross will replace the deteriorating original cross that has been affixed to the gable since the church was built in 1962.

Roberts was approached by a friend and fellow parishioner who wanted to do something in celebration of Easter. The cross was completed prior to Easter.

“The parishioner noticed that the cross on the front was deteriorating and wanted to do something special in honor of their parents who are both deceased. They reached out to me and asked if I would create a piece that would replace the existing cross, which is a blessed and prayed for item,” said Roberts.

“I decided on mahogany, because mahogany is a wood that is very precious in The Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean. It’s a hard wood that termites don’t fool with and becomes richer with age.”

The artist also spoke to the fact that the Lucayans (original inhabitants of The Bahamas who were also known as Taino or Arawak) used mahogany to create duhos (ceremonial seats) and of the mahogany’s enduring and medicinal properties which make it valuable in Bahamian history.

Mahogany is expensive because it has a high demand and is becoming increasingly hard to acquire. The demand for mahogany is due to its pleasing appearance, dark fine grain, and long-lasting durability, as well as its ability to withstand wear and water.

The new cross that will be affixed to St. Christopher’s Parish Lyford Cay is not the first time Roberts has donated his art to the church. He has been gifting his creations for more than three decades. He has previously done a cross for St. Christopher that hangs over the altar. He has similarly done crucifixes for St. Anselm Roman Catholic Church, and he has created and gifted a large painting to St. Agnes Church.

“I celebrate Christianity and my Christian heritage through creating works and gifting them to the church,” said Roberts. “The genesis of gifting my art to the church began 34 years ago in the All Souls Chapel at St. Agnes with the large painting I created and gifted to the church. So, when the parishioner approached me, they said, ‘Antonius, I would love to partner with you to create a piece to replace the existing cross,’ and I did it.”

The parishioner paid for production.

Boyd, along with other members of the clergy, approved and blessed the new cross, which will be hung today, so that it will be in place for St. Christopher’s Patronal Festival on Sunday, July 24.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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