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Column Onuphrius

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Column Onuphrius
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Photo Comments

View of a pillar with a depiction of Saint Onuphrius—fourth or fifth century A.D.  He was one of the "Desert Fathers" associated with the Eastern Egyptian desert.

Saint Onuphrius is depicted as almost nude, dressed only with long hair and a loincloth of leaves.


Most of the red limestone pillars, quarried near Bethlehem, served in the fourth century church.  From 1130, the Crusaders decorated the upper part of the pillars with painting of saints whose names appear in Latin and Greek.

Commentary from Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome. The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide From Earliest Times to 1700. Revised and expanded Fifth ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 236.