|Cave of Christian worship found in Jordan
Thu, 12 Jun 2008 10:28:49
Archaeologists in Jordan have found what may be the oldest remains of Christian worship; a church dating back almost 2,000 years.
The church remains were found in a cave underneath Saint Georgeous Church which itself dates back to 230 AD.
The site is situated in northern Jordan’s Rihab region near the Syrian border, home to a total of 30 churches. It is also believed that Jesus and the Virgin Mary passed through the area.
Jordanian archaeologist Abdel-Qader al-Housan said this week there was evidence that the cave was used as a church by 70 followers of Christ in the first century to perform Christian rituals.
Al-Housan described the contents of the cave to be a circular worship area with stone seats separated from a living area, and a long tunnel leading to a source of water. He said the early Christians hid there from persecution.
Researchers have also recovered pottery dating back to between the 3rd and 7th centuries, suggesting these first Christians and their followers lived in the area until late Roman rule.
A mosaic inscription on the floor of St. Georgeous Church refers to “the 70 beloved by God and the divine” who founded the worship there; another clue to the history behind this spectacular structure rising from the earth.
Archaeologists on site believe they have discovered the first church ever built dating from 33 AD to 70 AD, even though outside experts have expressed caution about the claims saying the evidence must be confirmed.