The Church is the mystical body of Christ. In Scripture, Jesus says, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt. 18.20)

From early on, Christians dedicated buildings for their communal worship to God. Most of these early churches are long lost to history, yet some from the first few centuries still remain, at least in some condition.

Here is a picture of the oldest known church, which is partially still standing:

HeretiqCC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

This might not seem like much, but wait until you see what they found inside.

Located in Dura-Europos, Syria, it is known today simply as the “Dura-Europos house church.” It is believed to have been built around A.D. 229 as a house and started being used as a church between A.D. 233 and 256. This means that it’s around 1791 years old.

As you can see from the picture, only a few walls are left. It was excavated in the early 20th century, and scientists found some pretty interesting things.

First of all, they found fragments of scrolls with Eucharistic prayers that are related to the text of the Didache (an early, extra-biblical Christian text dated to the first century).

But most amazingly, the church had incredible frescoes in the area used as a baptistry (where they did baptisms). These are some of the oldest Christian images in the world.

Here is a photo of a Baptistry wall painting, which includes an image of David and Goliath (with an inscription):

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

This one is a depiction of the Gospel story of the healing of the paralytic:

Marsyas, Public Domain

Here’s Christ and Peter walking on water:

Marsyas, Public Domain

Here is Christ as the Good Shepherd:

Marsyas, Public Domain

The Samaritan woman at the well:

Marsyas, Public Domain

And the women at the tomb:

Marsyas, Public Domain

What do you think of these photos?

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