Oldest Known Painting of Apostles Discovered

June 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog


AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito

A cameraman films a painting discovered with the earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul in a catacomb located under a modern office building in a residential neighborhood of Rome, Tuesday, June, 22, 2010. Restorers said Tuesday they had unearthed the 4th-century images using a new laser technique that allowed them to burn off centuries of white calcium deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath. The paintings adorn what is believed to be the tomb of a Roman noblewoman and represent some of the earliest evidence of devotion to the apostles in early Christianity.

ROME — The earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul have been discovered in a catacomb under an eight-story modern office building in a working-class neighborhood of Rome, Vatican officials said Tuesday.

The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb that also includes the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew. They were uncovered using a new laser technique that allowed restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath.

The paintings adorn what is believed to be the tomb of a Roman noblewoman in the Santa Tecla catacomb and represent some of the earliest evidence of devotion to the apostles in early Christianity, Vatican officials said in opening up the tomb to the media for the first time.

Last June, the Vatican announced the discovery of the icon of Paul — timed to coincide with the end of the Vatican’s Pauline year. At the time, Pope Benedict XVI also announced that tests on bone fragments long attributed to Paul “seemed to confirm” that they did indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint. . . . (continue reading)
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4 Responses to “Oldest Known Painting of Apostles Discovered”
  1. Jeremy Cox says:

    Pity you could not get a better image of it for your site

  2. Anonymous says:

    As we approach the last years of the earth, protestants and catholics will draw closer. When you think about it, all Christians believe the articles of the Nicene creed, no matter whether they are protestant or catholic, no matter which century they live in, and no matter what country they live in. Jesus' prayer for His church was that "they might be one".

  3. Anonymous says:

    I've been to Rome two or three times and it always amazes me how a Protestantism can even exist in light of all the historical evidence of there being none but the Catholic Church since 33 A.D. I think to be a Prot, you have to ignore everything except your own private interpretation of scripture. To heck with all evidence.

  4. jeff says:

    Did the Holy Spirit inspire the discovery after the technology existed to reveal it in our time? Hmm, makes you wonder doesn't it?

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