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Engraved in the Rock   versione testuale
The oldest image of a Christian family is found in the Catacombs of Priscilla (3rd century)

A triptych from the third century is the oldest representation of a Christian family. This depiction is found in the Cubiculum of the Veiled Woman in the catacombs of Priscilla in Rome. "It shows the oldest figurative sequence related to family life, in three pictures centered on the moment of marriage, on motherhood and on the assumption that the deceased into heaven," says Fabrizio Bisconti, who recently wrote an article on these scenes and published in L'Osservatore Romano on October 10th. Despite the critics' interpretations—writes Bisconti—"the three scenes in fact intend to capture three key moments in the life of the deceased woman, indicating how existence on earth prepared for beatitude in eternal life. Marriage and motherhood, in this view, represent two 'merits' but also a major step in an exemplary path of life."
"The fresco in the Catacombs of Priscilla—continues Bisconti—clearly illustrates the wedding scene, where the Bishop shows the tabulae nuptialis, a well-attested tradition until the 5th century. The Bishop signs only as a witness, without any legal function, but—and this precisely is the significance of his presence—ensuring that Christian spouses' contract marriage in the presence of the Church and have it sealed by a blessing, even if it is not yet possible to speak about a proper liturgical rite or indispensable participation of the Bishop at the conclusion of a marriage' (Tertullian, To my wife, 2.3.1)."
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