An ancient Greek symbol for Christ was reportedly discovered at the ruins of a Byzantine church in Gaza dating back from around 1,500 years ago, the Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry revealed Monday. “Our first thought is that the site is a cathedral or a church from the Byzantine period,” said Jamal Abu Rida, the general director of the antiquities ministry, according to Reuters.

“During that era, there was a great interest among the Byzantine rulers to build churches in the Gaza Strip.” Construction workers say they discovered segments of marble pillars with ornate Corinthian capitals, alongside a 90-centimeter foundation stone bearing a Greek symbol for Jesus Christ. Abu Rida noted that Gaza is a place of great historical significance, which once hosted diverse populations of Greeks, Romans, Jews, Egyptians and Persians during the Roman period. Christian churches began being built in the late 4th and 5th centuries, before Islam took over the region with the conquest of Gaza by the Muslim general Amr ibn al-As in 637 C.E. READ MORE