Editorial Photocolor Archives

ON THE COVER: A Roman matron, Grata, lifts her hands (one has been destroyed) in the traditional pose of an orant, or worshipper. Dressed in the style of the day (3rd–4th century A. D.), she wears a string of pearls around her neck, matching earrings, and a bracelet on her wrist. In accordance with Paul’s rhetorical questions, “Is it proper for a woman to pray with her head uncovered?” (1 Corinthians 11:13) she wears a veil. Thus, Grata offers prayers to God on behalf of her family; and her family preserves her memory in this portrait painted on a wall of the Jordani catacomb. The Catacomb of the Jordani was discovered in 1578, but within a few years it fell back into obscurity. Not until 1921, when foundations were being constructed for a new building on the Via Salaria Nuova, was the catacomb rediscovered.

(For details see Charles Kennedy’s “Were Christians Buried in Roman Catacombs to Await the Second Coming?”)