More on the Prospective Pauline Portrait (Clever, I Know)

The Biblical Archaeology Review and Yahoo News report on the newly discovered fresco from the walls of the Santa Tecla catacomb:

Oldest Image of St. Paul Discovered in Roman Catacomb

Archaeologists with the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology believe they have discovered the oldest known image of St. Paul the Apostle. Laser technology, used to strip away layers of clay and limestone, has allowed scientists to reveal the ancient image, which is thought to date to the late fourth century A.D. The announcement of the image’s discovery was made by Vatican archaeologists on June 28, a day before Rome celebrates the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Christians in ancient Rome used to bury their dead in a burial niche, called a loculus, which was dug into the side of subterranean galleries that were created in the soft rock below the city. In some cases, the walls of the burial niches and chambers were decorated with frescoes. This specific image in the Santa Tecla catacomb has a red background featuring the painted figure of a man with a wrinkled forehead and pointed black beard, depicted with a yellow halo.

Yahoo! News reports on what may be the oldest known image of St. Paul.

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July 2009


© 2006-2009, Matthew Burgess. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized use of the original content of this website is strictly prohibited. Quotations or citations should include a link to this website. The views and opinions given here are my own and do not represent those of the University of Virginia (or anyone else, for that matter).

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