Vatican unveils frescoes in catacombs famed for earliest Madonna _ and purported woman priest

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The Vatican has unveiled newly restored frescoes in the Catacombs of Priscilla, known for housing the earliest known image of the Madonna with Child — and frescoes said by some to show women priests in the early church.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister, presided over the opening Tuesday of the "Cubicle of Lazzaro," which along with the rest of the Priscilla catacombs are being featured in a novel blending of antiquity and modern-technology: For the first time, Google Maps has gone into the Roman catacombs, providing a virtual tour of the labyrinthine cemetery complex that stretches for kilometers underground.

The catacombs feature a tiny, delicate Madonna fresco dating from 230-240 AD, as well as scenes said by proponents of the women's ordination movement to show women priests.