The decorated pages at the beginning of each Gospel are known
as Carpet Pages because they look like oriental rugs. This
may have been intentional. St Bede writes that prayer mats
were known in Northumbria at this time, as well as in eastern
Christian and Islamic lands.They are also found in early Coptic
(Christian Egyptian) manuscripts. Prayer mats help prepare
worshippers for prayer. They also help prepare them before
they move onto holy gropund. In the Lindisfarne Gospels the carpet pages play
a similar role, preparing the reader for the the Gospel message.
Each carpet page contains a different form of cross, stressing
the different church traditions and their ecumenical relationship.
They also recall contemporary metalwork, symbolising the Crux
Gemmata, the jewelled cross which represented the Christ of
the Second Coming.