Nick Page

The oldest church?

I don’t know, you go away for a while and while you’re out the Jordanians claim to have [discovered the oldest church->http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7446812.stm].

Although I’m not sure that ‘church’ really describes it. It’s a cave beneath the ancient church of St Georgeous. (Presumably he was known as Gorgeous Georgeous.) Anyway, since there’s no evidence to back up their dating it’s a case of ‘wait and see’. The [National Geographic has a more dismissive story on it->http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080613-old-church.html] although, obviously, if they’d been given exclusive rights their coverage might have been different.

We do know that Christians headed in this direction early on. There’s a story in Eusebius that the early Church escaped from Jerusalem before the siege and went to Pella, which is now in Jordan. But as to creating a church in a cave, with an ‘apse'; they didn’t arise till hundreds of years later. File under ‘must get more tourism’.

[Some rather Indiana Jones-type photos here->http://www.monstersandcritics.com/science/features/article_1410384.php/In_photos_Jordan_Archeology_-_oldest_Christian_church_in_the_world?page=1]