A new, very ancient, and possibly the oldest known image of the Virgin Mary

I hope that PrayTell readers will find the article by Michael Peppard titled “Is This the Oldest Image of the Virgin Mary?” in the opinion pages of yesterday’s New York Times as fascinating (and at the same time as moving) as I did.  In his article (which is based on his new book about the house-church at Dura-Europos), Peppard boldly reinterprets the image of the “woman at the well” found in the third-century baptistery of Dura-Europos as a represenation of Mary at the moment of the annunciation. Peppard has excellent reasons for his claim.  You can read them here.



  1. Those, like me, without access to the book yet, may appreciate Peppard’s article in the Journal of Early Christian Studies vol. 20 no. 4 (2012) which appears to outline the argument further.

    To my knowledge, the first to propose the idea was Dominic Serra in a 2006 article in Ephemerides Liturgicae vol. 120.

    Those with access to those may find them interesting, though obviously written without the implications over the destruction of the site that Peppard comments on in the NYT.

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