Fourth Century Icons of Jesus and the Apostles Found

This is a pretty cool story. Underneath an office building in a working-class part of Rome, they’ve discovered some ancient ruins (probably a noblewoman’s tomb) containing the oldest icons dedicated to Peter, Paul, Andrew, and John.* The icons date to the early 300s. Since it’s Rome, it’s fitting that these four followers of Christ were chosen: three of them (Peter, Paul, and John) are personally associated with building up the Church at Rome, while the fourth is Peter’s brother (Luke 6:14).

The major problem in finding old icons is that they’ve been destroyed or degraded over the centuries. But apparently, technology is improving how safely and thoroughly layers of white calcium carbonate can be removed, so we’re left with pretty clear icons (and don’t destroy those icons in the process of recovering them). You should check out the pictures, too. The ones associated with the article aren’t of a great quality, so if anyone knows of some clearer pictures, I’d love to see them.

*There are also icons of Christ as Good Shepherd, but I think they’ve already found older ones.

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