Paper: An Analysis of the Christian Catacombs

The Good Shepherd has a lamb around his neck, on his shoulders. This represents Christ and the soul that He has saved. The “ornate”, is a praying figure with open arms that symbolizes the soul, which lives in divine peace. Some of the other symbols are the dove and the Alpha and the Omega. Today most of the graves are found open, the slabs of marble that sealed them are gone. Nothing remains of the persons remains, mostly because of the barbarians. The barbarians invaded Italy and destroyed a lot of the monuments and ransacked many places, including the catacombs. Around the fourth century shafts were cut through the soil in order to get light, and especially fresh air, these shafts are called luminaries. The catacomb at first was a family tomb then was opened up to other Christians, by the owner of the catacomb. That was how the burial areas became larger and larger until they grew into hundreds of miles of galleries and tens of thousands of tombs. More than sixty are in Rome. The Christians, during the time of persecution, would use the tombs to pray to God, have community meetings, and display their Christian symbols. Many would have paintings, inscriptions and sculptures inside of them, this would bring the past to life and give a message of faith and of Christian testimony. This is why many people today make a pilgrimage of faith to the catacombs to see the life and martyrdom of the Roman church that happened in the first centuries. The pictures show Christian catacombs, you can see the square holes in the walls. That is where they would place the body of the dead person and then seal the hole with marble. In one picture you can see tow fish with a basket full of loaves on their backs whish is a symbol of the Eucharist. The reason | chose to do my report on the Christian catacombs is that | wanted to know more about how and why the Christians built the catacombs and it was very interesting to me....