file footage (ancient church in Crete)
The Oldest known Christian church Has been found Rihab, northern Jordan, near the Syrian border. The church Dates to between AD33 to AD70. That is totally remarkable as no Christian stuff has ever been found that predates mid century.
"We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from AD33 to 70," said the head of the Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan.
"We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians - the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ."
A mosaic found in the church describes them as "the 70 beloved by God and Divine". Mr Husan said they were believed to have fled persecution in Jerusalem and founded churches in northern Jordan.
He cited historical sources that suggest they lived and practised religious rituals in the underground church and left it only after Christianity was embraced by Roman rulers in the fourth century.
There is no clear holder of the title of oldest Christian church: various sites claim the honour without definitive evidence.
Pottery shards found suggest that Christians lived there until late Roman times. The problems this Not only does this offer proof of an organized church in the at least the middle of the first century, but also historical evidence of a Biblical event, the sending out of the Seventy. That event involved Jesus himself. Not only is it evidence of Christianity, but indirectly of Jesus as well. Jesus mythers have begun to argue that Christians themselves did not exist in the first century. They have begun to doubt Paul's existence, although no valid scholars do that. Some have argued there is no proof of organized worship of Jesus in the first century.
Mythers will respond with the hackney argument that worship of a mythical Jesus figure goes back to the times before Christ with the Dead Sea sect. Of course this is a fantasy and their attempt to have it both ways. Earl Doherty argues that the concrete historical story of Jesus life did not exist until the early second century. IF this site is really associated with the Seventy disciples that Jesus sent out that would be concrete evidence that Jesus existed and it would wreck the Jesus myth theory.
Another article about it can be found on Directions to Orthodoxy
Inside the cave a circular area of worship with stone seats separated from living quarters were found. This circular element, called an apse, is important says Dr Al-Hassan because there is only one other example of a cave with a similar feature, which was also used for Christian worship. The stone seats are believed to have been for the use of clergy.
Al-Hassan said: "We found beautiful things. I found the cemetery of this church; we found pottery shards and lamps with the inscription 'Georgeous'". There is also a tunnel that leads to a cistern which supplied water to the dwellers. The excavation of the tunnel and the cistern may yield yet more evidence about the lives of these early Christians.
"From the tunnel to the cistern is very important. We want to clean it and make an excavation inside it. We found a very old inscription beside it and coins also, and crosses made from iron."
Other experts say they are cautious about the claim. They want to examine the artifacts and obtain solid dating evidence. The earliest confirmed examples of churches date from the third century.