Rome, Italy, Jun 22, 2010 / 23:21 pm
Archaeologists and restorers working at the Roman catacombs of St. Tecla on Tuesday announced the discovery of the world’s oldest known paintings of the apostles Peter, Paul, Andrew and John.
“They're the oldest images of the apostles and are datable to the latter half of the fourth century AD," said Fabrizio Bisconti, superintendent of archeology at the catacombs.
According to ANSA, the catacombs are owned and maintained by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology. They are located about one-third of a mile from the church of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, where the Apostle to the Gentiles is buried.
The paintings were found on the ceiling of the burial chamber of an ancient Roman noblewoman who commissioned painters to decorate it with Bible scenes.