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Joined: 2003/10/3
Posts: 167

 Archaeologists in Jordan unearth 'first church in world'

Ancient cave found under church
09/06/2008 20:04 - (SA)

Amman - Archaeologists in Jordan said on Monday they have discovered a cave underneath one of the world's oldest churches that may have once been an even more ancient site of Christian worship.

Archaeologist Abdel-Qader Hussein, head of the Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, says the cave was unearthed in the northern Jordanian city of Rihab after three months of excavation and shows evidence of early Christian rituals.

The cave lies under St Georgeous church, built in 230 AD, making it one of the oldest churches in the world, along with one unearthed in the Jordanian southern port of Aqaba in 1998 and another in Israel discovered in 2005.

Hussein said there was evidence that the underground cave was used as a church by 70 disciples of Jesus in the first century after Christ's death, which would make it the oldest Christian site of worship in the world.

He described a circular worship area with stone seats separated from a living area that had a long tunnel leading to a source of water. He said the early Christians hid there from persecution.

A mosaic inscription on the floor of the later church of St Georgeous above refers to "the 70 beloved by God and the divine" who founded the worship there.

Thomas Parker, a historian at the University of North Carolina-Raleigh, who led the discovery of the church in Aqaba, said that while he hadn't seen the Rihab site, any such claim should be taken with a degree of caution.

"An extraordinary claim like this requires extraordinary evidence," he said. "We need to see the artefacts and dating evidence to suggest such an occupation in the 1st century AD."

Parker asked how archaeologists could be certain whether the "cave was actually a centre of Christian worship."

The archaeologist also noted that mosaics are difficult to date unless there is a precise date in the text of the mosaic inscriptions themselves and typical mosaic inscriptions with Christian themes are from the 5th to 6th century.

"It's quite possible that there was a cave with earlier occupation which was later converted to Christian use. But to make the jump that this was actually used by Christians fleeing Jerusalem in the 1st century AD seems like a stretch to me," Parker said.

Archimandrite Nektarious, Deputy Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Amman hailed the discovery, calling it an "important milestone for Christians all around the world and right here at home".

"It confirms that Christians in this region are not strangers," he said. "They are real citizens who have always had roots in this region from those days until the present.",,2-10-1462_2337624,00.html

Karsten Nordmo

 2008/6/10 8:58Profile

 Re: Archaeologists in Jordan unearth 'first church in world'

I doubt it is the "first church in the world", since God said (remember Him?) thru His Word that the very first church met house to house and in the temple... it wasnt until a little after that that they were forced into hiding. So actually, this may be the second church in the world.


 2008/6/10 11:23

 Re: Archaeologists in Jordan unearth 'first church in world'

Catholic and Orthodox folks love claims like this, for their holiness is all based in superstition, relics, and the like. Maybe Barnabas's tooth will be found there too!

These people teach that buildings are Holy; the resting place of God. You know, holy ground...the place that the Devil cannot enter. This gives them power over the naive masses. After all, they are the Priests, yes?,,and God wouldn't lie to them, would he?

Outside of Madras India, there is a massive white and sprawling Taj Mahal type complex right off the Indian Seashore. It is quite beautiful. I asked an Indian friend about it. He quickly quipped, "Oh, that's where Thomas the Apostle came ashore to India, and started a church."[ Thomas supposedly evangelized India, and died there. ] Oh yeah...[sigh]...]

These sites stretch around the world, all with different venues and [HISTORY.. ;-) ]

Rome [Peter] and Jerusalem [Jesus and the rest] are the epitome of this type of silly idolatry. In Jerusalem there are 3 burial tombs, and 3 or 4 garden sites, and some Golgatha's too. I find it interesting that the Lord did not allow one single vestige of His life behind to verify, for He knew that idolatry would soon follow. It is the nature of our evil flesh, to worship things. This is idolatry. Remember Mose's brass serpent? Someone set it up years later, and made a temple around it; a holy place of Worship. The Lord was angry. "Little children, keep yourselves from Idols."

 2008/6/10 16:08

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA


Hi everyone,

Brothertom, you said,

"Maybe Barnabas's tooth will be found there too!"

brothertom, what is the purpose of comments like this? Or of these remarks in general that you have made here? Brothertom, is it nescessary to take a story that is of general interest to Christians and use it as a launching point to condemn Catholics as Idolators?

Paul, the Apostle, did preach against the idolatry of the Athenians, but did he sit everyday in the areopagus for that purpose?

The Lord Jesus said,

[b][color=660000] He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. [/color][/b]

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2008/6/10 20:06Profile

 Re: Holy sites that are objects of affection,

Just for the record, this was a "holy site", discovered beneath another Eastern Catholic Church. These "holy sites",that are worshipped as containing within themselves the holy, and this has nothing to do with Christianity. [b]It is nothing more than Pagan Idolatry[/b].

I am sorry you are offended, but I wanted to point this out. I guess it is important to those who would portray it as such, IE, the Orthodox Catholic Church, and evidently to you, but to me it is nothing more than a snare to imply such, and is IDOLATRY!.

Little Children, keep yourselves from Idols!

 2008/6/12 12:51

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA


Hi Brothertom,

"Just for the record, this was a "holy site", discovered beneath another Eastern Catholic Church. These "holy sites",that are worshipped as containing within themselves the holy, and this has nothing to do with Christianity."

Brothertom, who is suggesting that this site was a holy site? Did you read that in the article?

"I guess it is important to those who would portray it as such...and evidently to you"

I think what should be important to us all is that we speak in the public with integrity.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2008/6/12 18:40Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529


Hi BrotherTom...

This article suggests that some of the relics are from the 1st Century A.D. That predates the Roman Catholic Church and any of the "Orthodox" churches by hundreds of years. In fact, if this evidence is accurate, it is possible that some of the writers of the New Testament (like John) were still alive when this Church existed.

That is why I found this to be an interesting article.



 2008/6/12 18:56Profile

 Re: Chrisss:

I did not say that it wasn't interesting, just irrelevant to the idea of attaching any spirituality or holiness to it. This is what the Catholic church does. The [i]buildings are holy[/i], as are their "sacraments."

I was merely pointing this out, and that the church over it is Catholic, it is then reasonable to assume that it's lineage is Apostolic, thereby endorsing it's authority. This has been done all over the World, as I mentioned in my original post, and the site that Thomas landed on India. ..

This is the selling point of the relics, and the Temples throughout Catholicism, all the way from Peter being the "Bishop of Rome", to the nonsense of their perceived authority around the world.

Even Jerusalem is spiritually called "Sodom and Gommorah", by the holy Spirit. It is not a holy city, for the Lord does not dwell in temples made by men, nor any sites or artifacts. He dwells in the Heart of the reborn elect.

I didn't mean to offend anyone, and it is interesting.....but Catholic. ;-) This is the Sales pitch... [b]That the lineage of the Catholic church is Apostolic, and thereby it's authority valid![/b] They lie, also.

 2008/6/12 19:58

Joined: 2008/5/21
Posts: 349
Las Vegas, NV

 Re: name

This guy's name is awesome:

[b][size=medium]Archimandrite Nektarious[/size][/b]

Just wanted to mention that. Thanks for the article.


 2008/6/12 21:36Profile

 Re: Archimandrite the Nektarious one.

That's funny. He wouldn't be confused with too many others of the local Nektarious clan.

 2008/6/12 22:36

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