A copy in resin. The original altar in marble (225 cm. x 130 cm.) has been installed in the transept crossing. Signed by the Basilica’s great sculptor Bernard Gilduin, it was consecrated in 1096 by Pope Urban II. The surface is made to sink a few inches into the table, with lobes all round it, and with decorations derived from antiquity. Its 12 half-spheres represent the 12 Apostles, who dined with the Lord on the night of the institution of the Eucharist. The edges slant inwards, and on them we see Christ in majesty, with angels and adorers, and 7 pairs of birds placed face to face, evoking the Tree of Birds, symbol of the Kingdom of God.
On the original marble altar is celebrated the Mass, the Eucharist. The altar is the altar of the sacrifice of the Cross (« This is my body which will be given for you ») and also the table of the eternal banquet in heaven (« Take, and eat »). On Holy Thursday every year, Jesus anticipates, with His words and with the gestures of the Eucharist, His death on Good Friday. The offering of His body is repeated every Sunday during Mass, which is always celebrated with faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.