Thursday, August 06, 2009

Oldest known portrait of Paul revealed

The U.K.-based Times Online reports that Vatican archaeologists have revealed what they believe to be the oldest known portrait of St. Paul. The portrait, which is in accord with later depictions of the apostle, dates to the 4th century.

The discovery and restoration of the portrait was "an extraordinary event," said Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Archaeologists found the artifact in the catacombs of St. Thecla, nearby the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls.

The Vatican recently confirmed further evidence that the remains at the site are the apostle's, corroborating centuries of tradition. The discovery comes just days after the end of a "Pauline year," when the Vatican again focused on the apostle's message and ministry.