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Oldest known icon of St. Paul revealed by Vatican archaeologists

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  • Fr. Panagiotes
    Oldest known icon of St. Paul revealed by Vatican archaeologists The 4th-century portrait of St PaulVatican archaeologists have made public what they say is
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2009
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      Oldest known icon of St. Paul revealed by Vatican archaeologists

      The 4th-century portrait of St PaulVatican archaeologists have made public what they say is the oldest known icon of St Paul .

        This fourth century fresco was found in June 2007 in the Catacombs of St Thecla, not far from the Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls, where the apostle is buried.

      It depicts St. Paul with a high domed forehead, thinning hair, deep-set eyes and a long pointed beard. Icons of St. Paul found in Orthodox Churches until today are identical to this ancient icon.

      Barbara Mazzei, a restorer, said that centuries of grime had been removed with a laser. Fabrizio Bisconti, Professor of Christian Iconography at Rome University and a member of the team that made the discovery, said that it appeared to have decorated the tomb of a nobleman or high church official.  After removing all of the obstructions the archaeologists were able to analyze the fresco itself. At its center they saw an icon of the Good Shepherd, surrounded by the icons of Sts. Paul, Peter, and two other apostles

      Professor Bisconti said that the catacombs contained hundreds of Christians who had wanted to be buried near St. Thecla, a Roman Christian martyr - not to be confused with the friend of St Paul known from Church Tradition.

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