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World's Oldest "Standing" Church is in Saudi Arabia - 4th Century Assyrian Church with PICS.

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posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:24 PM
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G'day ATS,

When I was about six years old, my family moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One of my first memories of living there is being woken early in the morning by loud wailing. Little did I know that this was the call to morning prayers. My sister and I were actually freaked out and she had to be comforted by my parents (being only four), I will always remember that experience.

Saudi Arabia is Muslim to the core.

It is the birthplace of the religion and home to the two holiest places in Islam (Mecca & Medina)

But the Saudis have a "dirty" little secret.

It is one of those amazing stories, a chance discovery, a government trying to cover it up to save face.

But I've found some links and information and I can bring it to you now ATS!

For a background I'll quote Wikipedia, the information is highly innadequate, but the lack of the quality and quantity of information released in the public domain will tell how sensitive a subject this is for the Saudis.

The Jubail Church




Jubail Church is the oldest still remaining church in the world, located in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. It dates to the 4th century. It was discovered in 1986. The government hides it from locals and bans foreigners from visiting it, even archaeologists. It is an ancient Assyrian church possibly of the Nabatean culture.


That's it, all they have. But after some digging, and I must admit the sources are obscure, I can bring you more details and pics of the World's Oldest Remaining Church, in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia no less!

The Church of Jubail


In 1986, people on a desert picnic discovered the ruins of a church near the city of Jubail, Saudi Arabia, while digging one of their trucks out of the sand. The church is believed to have been built prior to A.D. 400, making it older than most churches in Europe. It was likely associated with one of five bishoprics existing on the shores of the Arabian Sea during the term of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople and founder of the heresy that bears his name.

Anyone familiar with contemporary Latin and Eastern Rite Catholic church buildings will recognize the basic design. The foundation marks for roof support columns in the main room easily identify it as the nave of a church. Probably, the roof was a thatch of palm branches supported by risers and crossbeams about a foot above the walls for sunlight and ventilation. The congregation would have entered through the main doorway at the west side of the nave and assembled, women standing to the right and men to the left, facing east toward the sanctuary (the middle of the three smaller chambers") where the altar would have been.

At the doorways to the sacristy, sanctuary, chapel, and the main entrance, stone crosses were attached to the wall. These four crosses, in place during the early excavation, disappeared in late 1986 or early 1987. Over the years since the discovery, the desert has erased even the marks left when the crosses were removed.


The last part is not surprising, I believe this is an intentional plan to leave the Church at the Mercy of the Desert Winds:

4th Century Assyrian Church in Saudi Arabia (Assyrian International News Agency)


The ruins are known as the Jubail Church and are acknowledged by the Saudi government, who will not issue permits to visit it because 'the site is being excavated.'





In any case, the original ruins contained four stone crosses, which later went missing, though the marks where the crosses were are still visible. The ruins are thought to date from the 4th century, which make them older than any known church in Europe. Not much else is known but speculation is that it was in some way connected to one of the five Assyrian Church of the East bishoprics which are known to have existed in this area of the Gulf in the 4th century.







The photographs were taken by Robert and Patricia McWhorter during 1986 shortly after the ruins were partially excavated and protected by the Saudi Department of Antiquities.




I went to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and searched for Church of Jubail, guess what?



It goes without saying that there were no results for that (as well as just "Church"), nor for the same search on the World Heritage Site either.

The oldest standing Church in the World not mentioned by either the Saudi Commission for Antiquities nor the World Heritage Site.

I find that very odd!

Note in the pictures the barbed wire fence, obviously to "Protect" the building, more likely to stop interested parties finding out that Saudi Arabia had one of the World's first Churches, and also that the current Oldest Standing Church n the World can still be found in this strictly Muslim country.

All the best ATS, Kiwifoot!


[edit on 10-1-2010 by kiwifoot]




posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:44 PM
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I saw a video that SA has the rock of moses, the one where he split the rock and the lake came out. Bibles lying to us! Ha.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:56 PM
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There are older churches, recently for example dating from the third century, in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba a church was found.

Other buildings used for Christian gatherings during the first century and a half following Jesus' ministry have been unearthed, this Jordanian church is thought to be the oldest specifically built for prayer.

The church crumbled during an earthquake in 363 and then was buried by desert sand since.

Megiddo,and Mt Nebo, only mosaic floors and some columns have been uncovered dating also from the 3rd century AD.

Christian rituals were prohibited in the Roman Empire prior to the year 313 AD however the catacombs of Rome for example where they buried their dead are indeed considered a church today (but were a cemetery then), these date back to 50 AD.

Either way, The Suadi Church is an important archaeoloigical site. This little pearler you've shown still has walls!! Thank you, its adorable.
It looks like it does have work being undertaken I can see clearing or upkeep of pushing back the sands. I'll make some enquiries.

Cheers Z




[edit on 10-1-2010 by zazzafrazz]



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 04:06 PM
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Originally posted by zazzafrazz
There are older churches, recently for example dating from the third century, in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba a church was found.

Other buildings used for Christian gatherings during the first century and a half following Jesus' ministry have been unearthed, this Jordain church is thought to be the oldest specifically built for prayer.

The church crumbled during an earthquake in 363 and then was buried by desert sand since.

Megiddo,and Mt Nebo, only mosaic floors and some columns have been uncovered dating falso rom the 3rd century AD.

Christian rituals were prohibited in the Roman Empire prior to the year 313 AD however the catacombs of Rome forexample where they buried their dead are indeed considered a church, these date back to 50 AD.

Either way, The Suadi Church is an important archaeoloigical site. This little pearler you've shown still has walls!! Thank you, its adorable.
It looks like it does have work being undertaken I can see clearing or upkeep of pushing back the sands. I'll make some enquiries.

Cheers Z


Hey Z!

Thanks for that info, I'll be reading up on those examples asap.

I wondered how important the "standing" distinction was, but nevertheless it is the oldest!!

I think the photo's were taken in the 80's, it would be very interesting to see the site as it is now.

All the best, Kiwifoot!

[edit on 10-1-2010 by kiwifoot]



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 04:20 PM
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Any really old buildings that they find are cool, but as far as this being shocking in some way or a reason for a Muslim nation to be embarrassed by it, I just don't understand why.

This church is from the 4th century so Saudi Arabia wasn't a Muslim nation at that time. Also I think someone needs to update wiki, as according to your quote it states that not even archaeologists are allowed there which obviously not true.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 04:25 PM
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Here are a couple of Articles on the Jordanian Church.

www.telegraph.co.uk...


dsc.discovery.com...



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 04:30 PM
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Originally posted by Majiq
Any really old buildings that they find are cool, but as far as this being shocking in some way or a reason for a Muslim nation to be embarrassed by it, I just don't understand why.

This church is from the 4th century so Saudi Arabia wasn't a Muslim nation at that time. Also I think someone needs to update wiki, as according to your quote it states that not even archaeologists are allowed there which obviously not true.


Hey mate, while you are right in that Saudi Arabia wasn't Muslim at this point, Saudi Arabia wants the world to believe they went from Paganism, directly to Islam (I'm trying to find a link to that).

It really is a big deal to them, a Christian Church in the middle of the birthplace of Islam.

All the best, Kiwifoot!



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by blupblup
Here are a couple of Articles on the Jordanian Church.

www.telegraph.co.uk...


dsc.discovery.com...



Cheers for that, much obliged.

Very interesting, the Jubail Church is still standing which is what makes it unique, but for age the Rihab cave Church has it beaten hands down!

All the best, Kiwifoot!



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 06:00 PM
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Originally posted by kiwifoot
It really is a big deal to them, a Christian Church in the middle of the birthplace of Islam.

All the best, Kiwifoot!


If it is such a big deal to them then why are they excavating it? I'm not say that it isn't as I don't know, but if I were the ruler there, and it was that big of an issue to me I would just destroy whatever was left of the church, and be done with it.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by Majiq
If it is such a big deal to them then why are they excavating it?


I think, at least as I understand it, that the authorities have sealed the site up, not allowing anybody in because it is "under excavation", slightly different from actually being excavated!



I'm not say that it isn't as I don't know, but if I were the ruler there, and it was that big of an issue to me I would just destroy whatever was left of the church, and be done with it.


Good point, but I suppose there would be international condemnation if such an act was carried out. I don't believe they want to publicly destroy it, that's why they're leaving it up to the desert to do it!

Just my theory, no ore proof than you of course mate!!!


All the best, Kiwifoot!



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 01:53 PM
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Beautiful. You think its being hushed up?



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Beautiful. You think its being hushed up?


I believe so Sky.

I mean imagine the Catholic Church finding the oldest Mosque in the middle of the Vatican!

I don't know if it's a concerted cover up, or just an effort in trying to let the sands of the desert eventually drown the proof.

But the fact the Commission of Antiquities has nothing on it, and the lack of general info out there regarding this building, well I can't see another conclusion really!



[edit on 11-1-2010 by kiwifoot]



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 07:20 PM
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Thank you for the post, very educational as well as the posts by other contributors here. It really does look like it is being cleaned up in the photos. If the Saudi government were in some ways offended by it, wouldn't they blast it and claim vandals or somesuch? Iconoclasm is the most popular way of erasing opposing art/history/religion. If I were in the Saudi government, the first thing I'd do is propose building a hotel right next to it and charge Western visitors.






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