Mural mosaics were confined to luxurious churches because they were extremely costly to create. The tesserae were mainly made of glass and gold or silver leaf, as opposed to marble or clay which were used for the tessarae of floor mosaics.
The sole, pre-Justinian mural mosaics to have survived in Eastern Christendom are to be found in monuments of Thessalonike. In the magnificent composition of the dome of the Rotunda (late 4th century) the survival of Hellenistic tradition is obvious. The mosaics of the Acheiropoietos combine geometric, floral and symbolic themes in exquisite colours. The figure of Saint Demetrios dominates the mosaics (mid-5th century) of the basilica dedicated to him.
Unique in Christian iconography is the Theophany in a mosaic of the Monastery of Hosios David (late 5th to early 6th century). No mosaic from the reign of Justinian I has survived in Macedonia.