<p><strong>A newfound painting of the Apostle John (pictured in an underground Roman tomb on Tuesday) is among the oldest known depictions of some of the original 12 Christian Apostles, experts say.</strong></p><p>The Santa Tecla catacombs—situated beneath an office building in <a id="p0ef" title="Rome" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/city-guides/rome-italy/">Rome</a>'s Ostiense area—contain fourth-century-A.D. paintings of the Apostles Paul, Peter, John, and Andrew, who were early followers of Jesus Christ.</p><p>(See: <a id="nlpw" title="&quot;St. Paul&amp;squot;s Tomb Unearthed in Rome.&quot;" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/12/061211-saint-paul.html">"St. Paul's Tomb Unearthed in Rome."</a>)</p><p>The ancient art was revealed by lasers that burned off inches of calcium carbonate, which had accumulated on the paintings over the centuries in the humid chamber, according to Italian news reports.<br><br> The two-year restoration effort cost the Vatican—which maintains the catacombs—some $73,400 (60,000 Euros).</p><p><em>—Brian Handwerk</em></p>

The Apostle John

A newfound painting of the Apostle John (pictured in an underground Roman tomb on Tuesday) is among the oldest known depictions of some of the original 12 Christian Apostles, experts say.

The Santa Tecla catacombs—situated beneath an office building in Rome's Ostiense area—contain fourth-century-A.D. paintings of the Apostles Paul, Peter, John, and Andrew, who were early followers of Jesus Christ.

(See: "St. Paul's Tomb Unearthed in Rome.")

The ancient art was revealed by lasers that burned off inches of calcium carbonate, which had accumulated on the paintings over the centuries in the humid chamber, according to Italian news reports.

The two-year restoration effort cost the Vatican—which maintains the catacombs—some $73,400 (60,000 Euros).

—Brian Handwerk

Photograph by Pier Paolo Cito, AP

Pictures: Oldest Apostle Images Revealed by Laser

Lasers have cut through previously unknown images of the Christian Apostles in a fourth-century-A.D. Roman catacomb.

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