Oldest portraits of Jesus Christ’s apostles discovered,in rome

Washington, June 23 (ANI): The oldest known portraits of Jesus Christ’s apostles have been found in a catacomb near St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome.
Vatican officials announced the discovery at a news conference on Tuesday.
Dating from the end of the 4th century, the full-face paintings depict three of Jesus’ original 12 apostles — St. Peter, St. Andrew and St. John — as well as St. Paul, who became an apostle after Christ’s death.
Already, the Vatican had announced the discovery of St.Paul’s icon last June, to mark the end of the Pauline year.
But the portrait was part of a larger fresco that also included the full-face depictions of the other three apostles.
Located on the ceiling of a noblewoman’s burial place in the catacombs of St. Tecla, the four circular portraits, about 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) in diameter, were buried in layers of white calcium carbonate caused by the extreme humidity and lack of air circulation.
“Using a new laser technology, we have been able to burn off some rather thick deposits of white calcium without damaging the extraordinary colors of the frescoes,” Discovery News quoted Barbara Mazzei, director of the two year restoration project, as saying.
Mazzei said that the laser worked as an “optical scalpel,” and the images of the apostles came to light in full detail, showing that devotion to the apostles began in early Christianity.
And, St. Peter’s long, white beard, his squared face and the wrinkles on St. Paul’s forehead indicate that these frescoes may have set the standard for future representations of the apostles.
“These are the first images of the apostles,” said Fabrizio Bisconti, the superintendent of archaeology for the catacombs, which are maintained by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology.
“The paintings of Andrew and John are undoubtedly the oldest ever. There are some older representations of St. Peter dating to the middle of the fourth century, but this is the first time that the apostle is not shown in a group but in an full face icon,” Bisconti told reporters.
Measuring about 2 meters by 2 meters (6.6 feet by 6.6 feet), the frescoes also depict the bejewelled noblewoman and her daughter.
“She could have been one of those aristocratic Roman women who had converted to Christianity at the end of the fourth century,” said Bisconti.


Photo: Portrait of St. Paul in the round ceiling image above, withan image of an unidentified man on the wall below it, 22 June 2010/Tony Gentile)
                                                                             st paul  [400 AD picture]                                                          
icon of the Apostle John
                                                          APOSTLE JOHN [400AD]

Spotlight on John

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At the Pearly Gates, Saint Peter tells him, "You look like Einstein, but
you have no idea the lengths some people will go to sneak into Heaven.
Can you prove you're Albert Einstein?"

Einstein ponders for a few seconds and then asks,
"Can I have a blackboard and some chalk?"

Saint Peter snaps his fingers and a blackboard and chalk instantly
appear. Einstein proceeds to describe, in arcane mathematics and
symbols, his theory of relativity.

Saint Peter is suitably impressed. "You really ARE Einstein!" he says.
"Welcome to heaven!"

The next to arrive is Picasso. Once again, Saint Peter asks for
credentials.

Picasso asks, "Mind if I use that blackboard and chalk?"

Saint Peter says, "Go ahead."

Picasso erases Einstein's equations and sketches a truly stunning mural
with just a few strokes of chalk.

Saint Peter claps. "You are definitely the great artist you claim to
be!" he says. "Come on in!"

Then Saint Peter looks up and sees George W. Bush.

Saint Peter scratches his head and says, "Einstein and Picasso both
managed to prove their identity. How can you prove yours?"

Dubya looks bewildered and says, "Who are Einstein and Picasso?"

Saint Peter sighs and says, "Come on in, George."