July 3, 2019

The Earliest Known Image of the Virgin Mary (Circa 150 AD)

The earliest known image of the Virgin Mary independent of the Magi episode, is a fresco dated about 150 AD in the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria in Rome, that shows her nursing the infant Jesus on her lap. Situated in what was a quarry in Roman times, the Catacomb of Priscilla was used for underground Christian burials from the late second century through the fourth century. In the Orthodox Church, this type of image is known as a type of the Galaktotrophousa, or Milk-Feeder, which is celebrated on July 3rd.