Oldest Image of Mary and child at the Catacombs in Rome

The first paintings of Mary are inscribed in the catacombs.  Excavations at Nazareth give evidence of devotion to Mary while the first known Marian prayer was found in Egypt in the third century:

“Under your mercy we take refuge, O Mother of God.  Do not reject our supplications in necessity, but deliver us from danger, O you alone pure and alone blessed.”

–Rylands Library papyrus in Manchester, England

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