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10 Jun, 2008 03:55

World’s first Christian church found in Jordan

World’s first Christian church found in Jordan

Archaeologists have unearthed what they believe to be the first Christian church ever built. It’s located in a cave underneath the Saint Georgeous Church in Rihab in northern Jordan – where it’s thought early Christians fled to escape persecut

Built in 230 AD, Saint Georgeous is believed to be the oldest “proper” church in the world.

Archaeologists say they have evidence suggesting the church sheltered the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ.

According to experts, the 70 fled from Jerusalem during the persecution of Christians.  The secret underground church allowed them to practise their rituals in secret. Historians say they didn’t leave the cave until the Christian religion was embraced by the Roman Empire.

A mosaic inscription on the floor of the church describes the early Christians as ‘the 70 beloved by God and Divine’.

Archaeologists say there is a circle shape area in the cave, believed to be the apse, and several stone seats for the ecclesiastics.

So far, 30 churches have been unearthed in Rihab.

Governor Zeid Zreiqat hopes the latest discovery will attract religious tourism.