Bible Archaeology

6th Century Image of the Apostle Paul Found

The restoration of a tomb in the catacombs of St. Gennaro in Naples, revealed a new discovery. The image of St. Paul was found, painted in the grotto. It shows the disciple turning toward the deceased, with an expressive face, seemingly honoring the person. 

Expert say the image is from the first years of the 6th century. One of the oldest images, before St. Paul became an icon of the Byzantine civilization. 
The earliest image of St. Paul is from the 4th century. It was found in the Roman catacomb of St.Tecla.

UPDATE:  The Daily Mail has more:

Vatican officials today described the discovery of a 1,400 year old fresco of St Paul in an ancient Roman catacomb as ‘sensational.’

The painting was found during restoration work at the Catacombs of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius) in the port city of Naples.

A photograph released by the Vatican shows the apostle, famous for his conversion to Christianity from Judaism, with a long neck, a slightly pink complexion, thinning hair, a beard and big eyes that give his face a ‘spiritual air.’

News of the discovery was announced on the feast day of St Peter and Paul which is traditionally a bank holiday in Rome.

Striking: The fresco, in a catacomb in Naples, shows St Paul approaching a dead body, his hand raised

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, who is Pope Benedict’s Culture Minister, wrote in L’Osservatore Romano: ‘The image of St Paul has an intense expression, philosophical and its discovery enriches our image of one of the principal apostles.’

Father Antonio Loffredo, director of the catacombs in Naples, said: ‘We hope that many locals and tourists will come and look at this fresco which has been wonderfully restored.’

The figure of Paul is dressed in white and beige robes with the letter ‘I’ on the hem, which may stand for ‘Iesus’ (Latin for Jesus).

He is seen approaching a dead person.

Details on the right hand side of the fresco have crumbled away but nevertheless it still remains a striking image.

The image was verified by the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Art and verified by the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore…

Read on here


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