The collection of the Christian Lapidarium, which consists of over two thousand inscriptions, owes its construction to the archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi (1822-1894), who in 1854, under Pope Pius IX, along with his teacher, the Jesuit Giuseppe Marchi (1794-1860), presided over the birth of the early Christian collection, then on display at the Lateran Apostolic Palace. The collection brings together not only many exemplars from the existing Vatican collections, but also inscriptions from churches, urban convents and excavations in the Roman catacombs. They are mainly funerary inscriptions engraved on marble, but they also take other forms, including for instance inscriptions painted on marble or brick, or impressed using stamps (signacula) unfired clay bricks or receptacles. The collection was transferred to the Vatican in 1963 and given a new layout by Enrico Josi. It was inaugurated in 1974, respecting the original wall arrangement already adopted by Rossi, and further sub-divided into three classes: historical inscriptions, relating to public monuments and buildings of worship, including the so-called "Damasian" poetic epigraphs dictated by Pope Damasus (366-384), and those that are dated; dogmatic inscriptions, which refer to the content of faith and also to various aspects of hierarchy, Christian society and family; and inscriptions combined with symbols and figures, with representations referring to religious meanings or iconographies linked to the world of work and daily life. These are followed by epigraphs selected to exemplify the use of interesting and original expressions and, finally, some of the most relevant cemetery topographical groups. Only a part of the dogmatic and dated inscriptions are currently displayed to the public, along with the epitaphs of Abercius and Quirinius, watched over by the bronze bust of De Rossi, which overlooks the mosaic from the Baths of Caracalla.