Good Shepherd as an Early Christian Symbol

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

In the earliest Christian art, there are no depictions of Jesus, except symbolically, as the Good Shepherd and others. The Good Shepherd as an image of Jesus persisted until about 500 AD.

Inscriptions with Good Shepherd

Inscription dedicated by parents of deceased 7 year old girl, Apuleia Crysopolis; Good Shepherd and bush (Catacomb of St. Callisto, Rome). Another.

Christ as the Good Shepherd is found as a fresco in the Crypts of Lucina, ceiling of the Cubiculum of the Good Shepherd, catacomb of Callixtus in Rome (mid-third century).

Frescos of the Good Shepherd


Detail from the Sarcophagus of the Good Shephers, Catacomb of Praetextatus, Rome, 390s AD
Detail of the central shepherd from the Sarcophagus of the Good Shepherd, Catacomb of Praetextatus, Rome, 390s AD. Full sarcophagus.

Good Shepherd Sarcophagi

Several depictions of Christ as the Good Shepherd.

Statue of the Good Shepherd, from the Catacomb of Domitilla, Rome
Statue of the Good Shepherd (third century), 39" high, marble, from the Catacomb of Domitilla, now in Museo Pio Cristino, Vatican.

Mosaic of the Good Shepherd

Christ as the Good Shepherd, the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, c. 425 - 426. Mosaic.

Statue of the Good Shepherd

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