World's Earliest Christian Engraving Shows Surprising Pagan Elements

Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world’s earliest surviving Christian inscription, shedding light on an ancient sect that followed the teachings of a second-century philosopher named Valentinus.

Officially called NCE 156, the inscription is written in Greek and is dated to the latter half of the second century, a time when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power.

An inscription is an artifact containing writing that is carved on stone. The only other written Christian remains that survive from that time period are fragments of papyri that quote part of the gospels and are written in ink. Stone inscriptions are more durable than papyri and are easier to display. NCE 156 also doesn’t quote the gospels directly, instead its inscription alludes to Christian beliefs.  Read more.

St. Valentinus (the supposed remains of him). This image comes from the Immortal series ,by photographer Toby deSilva, of twelve martyred saints that were removed from Rome and interred at the Waldsassen Abbey.

Gnostic Quote of the Day: “The Father opens his bosom, but his bosom is the Holy Spirit. He reveals his hidden self which is his son, so that through the compassion of the Father the Aeons may know him, end their wearying search for the Father and rest themselves in him, knowing that this is rest…They are given rest and are refreshed by the Spirit…For the Father is sweet and his will is good. He knows the things that are yours, so that you may rest yourselves in them. For by the fruits one knows the things that are yours, that they are the children of the Father, and one knows his aroma, that you originate from the grace of his countenance. For this reason, the Father loved his aroma; and it manifests itself in every place; and when it is mixed with matter, he gives his aroma to the light; and into his rest he causes it to ascend in every form and in every Sound.” (Valentinus, The Gospel of Truth, Nag Hammadi Library of Egypt)

Today I am commemorating the anniversary of St. Valentine’s death by holding a service with his relics to honor youth and love. I hope that this will satisfy the Cupids so they will leave me alone. I find myself uncomfortable in their presence.

Emblem: Basilius Valentinus’ Azoth, Paris, 1659

The Body is to be decomposed, that is one shifts one’s awareness to the inner self. The planets are both stages of the process and energies in the body to be transmuted. The Saturn star is black as Saturn reigns over Nigredo. Sun and Moon are the opposites to be united, and fire and air are the elements stimulating the decomposition. The black crow is another symbol for Nigredo. The two birds coming out of the body are the soul and the spirit. One needs to become aware of one’s soul and spirit. The circle emphasizes the idea of union or unification.
The Gnostic origins of Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays most people take for granted but know very little about. And that is because its origins are as mysterious as love itself.

Originally known as the Feast of Valentinus (Latin for ‘worthy’), this holiday was established by Pope Galasius in the Fifth Century. The problem is that nobody really knows whichValentinus it was dedicated to! Traditionally, the leading candidate is an obscure priest martyred by the Roman Emperor Claudius in the Third Century.

But wouldn’t a far better template for Saint Valentine be an individual who actually championed the exploration of love in an era when Christianity stressed either celibacy or sex for procreation only?

And that would be the Gnostic Heretic, Valentinus of Alexandria.

One needed to recognize the Father, the depth of all being, as the true source of divine power in order to achieve gnosis (knowledge).[9] The Valentinians believed that the attainment of this knowledge by the human individual had positive consequences within the universal order and contributed to restoring that order,[10] and that gnosis, not faith, was the key to salvation.

The transition from the immaterial to the material, from the noumenal to the sensible, is brought about by a flaw, or a passion, or a sin, in the female Aeon Sophia.

A figure entirely peculiar to Valentinian Gnosticism is that of Horos (the Limiter). The name is perhaps an echo of the Egyptian Horus.[18]

The task of Horos is to separate the fallen Aeons from the upper world of Aeons. At the same time he becomes a kind of world-creative power, who in this capacity helps to construct an ordered world out of Sophia and her passions.

God and the creator were two separate entities… the creator was flawed and formed man and Earth out of ignorance and confusion.

You know perhaps the aphorisms from the Fama Fraternitatis that appeared on the tomb of C.R.C.  One of these aphorisms was: “There is no empty space”.  The classical Rosicrucians wished to indicate covertly that, besides the visible, partially known universe, other universes exist.  There are different cosmic regions which, although very near, are invisible and unknown to human understanding and which are also unknown to the dead and so inaccessible to them.  Consequently, they are considered as empty space for everyone in dialectics.

It is also known to us that the ancient gnostics quoted from tenets that made reference to universes which are unknown to ordinary man.  Their aim was the exploration of the path of salvation, whereby man would change to such an extent, in his nature and existence, that the unknown, the apparently empty space would open up for him.  The gnostics teach that the invisible universes are our true, divine Fatherland.  They are our origin and our destination.  Now we live in night and darkness; we have fallen from the nature of God and so the call to return resounds.  The so-called empty space takes on a very deep and profound sense to everyone who desires this return and attunes his striving to this call.

Valentinus, a gnostic philosopher of the beginning of our era, the author of the gnostic gospel Pistis Sophia, explained the unknown divine worlds to his pupils.  He called the empty, unknown spaces of God, the Pleroma.  He proved that an outpouring of power takes place from the Pleroma into our darkness to enable all those who truly seek the regions of God to find them.


The last vvill and testament of Basil Valentine, monke of the Order of St. Bennet, by Basilius Valentinus (1671 edition).

The writings of an alleged alchemist from the 15th century, The last vvill and testament, in its two treatises, details alchemical knowledge and expands upon the process by which the long-sought-after philosopher’s stone may be created through twelve allegorical “Keys”.


Firoz Mahmud

  1. Brazen whip, 2008, oil, stencil, shaped canvas, 182 x 186 cm
  2. Valentinus +, 2008, oil, stencil, shaped canvas, 182.2 x 186.3 cm
  3. Fat Boys (‘sucker wfp21’ project), 2011,fighter aircraft, bean, glue variable dimensions, set of 5 pieces
  4. When you switch off your mobile, painting starts to talk eloquently, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, 2008
  5. Valentinus +, 2008, oil, stencil, shaped canvas, 182.2 x 186.3 cm
  6. installation view 


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Remember the evangelical expression: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”.

Leave your dialectical difficulties for what they are. Do not try to disentangle them. For with every knot you disentangle, you perhaps fasten two other knots even more strongly. Nobody on the horizontal level has ever found a solution to the tangle, a way out of the labyrinth of ordinary nature. The deeper you enter the maze of life, the more new passages, the more new doors you will meet and behind each door another labyrinth will be found. There is no liberation from this. Leave your difficulties for what they are and lose yourself. Take leave of yourself and of your difficulties. You will get rid of all your difficulties and miseries if only you let go of yourself. A conscious neutralization is demanded. The ancient gnostics called it self-mortificaiton, the endura. In the Gospel of Truth of Valentinus all this is clearly explained.