The face of Jesus Christ was uncovered last year in a wall painting in an ruined Byzantine church in the Negev.
The church is located in Shivta, an ancient city which was Byzantine agricultural village in the heart of the desert. An image of Jesus being baptised is shown. Art historian Dr Emma Maayan-Fanar explained: “His face is right there, looking at us.”
As reported by Haaretz, none of the gospels ever described the appearance of Jesus and depictions of him in The Holy Land are extremely rare.
The Shivta painting shows him with a short curly hair, a long face and an elongated nose according to Mrs Maayan-Fanar.
Shivta is around 25 miles southwest from the major city of Beersheba.
The ruins were first discovered in 1871 by explorer Edward Henry Palmer, when it was part of the Ottoman Empire.
Despite being popular for archaeologists it was not until last years, the wall painting was noticed.
The wall painting is understood to have sustained damage over the centuries.
Mrs Maayan-Fanar says she had visited the church several times and not noticed it and a potential sighting in the 1920s was not pursued.
She says: “I was there at the right time, at the right place with the right angle of light and, suddenly, I saw eyes.
“It was the face of Jesus at his baptism, looking at us.”
Her husband photographer, Dror Mayan, took high resolution photographs of the site.
She proclaimed: “We can really see him now.”
It is believed the wall painting was created in the 6th Century.
The earliest depiction of his appearance was found in Syria and is believed to date to around 200 years after his death.
Mrs Mayan-Fanar explains catacombs in Rome from the 4th Century showed Jesus as having short hair as did pictures from Coptic Christians in Egypt and the early Byzantines.
In the sixth century, western images would begin show him to have long hair and a beard.
Shivta was abandoned in around the eight or ninth century.
Dr Maayan-Fanar says: “There are some areas with remains of plaster and paint, but you can’t see a thing.”
Written by: Gursimran Hans
First published 13.09.19: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1177369/Jesus-news-Painting-face-ancient-Negev-church-Christianity