Oldest Churches in the World (History & Photos)

Last Updated on 24th March 2021 by admin

The oldest churches and their remains are not just historical landmarks but they help to understand the rise of Christianity and the immortal believes of God’s disciples in a bygone era. Churches witnessed the marvellous evolution as well as the expansion of Christianity religion on the entire planet. The concept of churches came into existence after the demise of Lord Jesus Christ. Disciples of Jesus (later known as Christians) spread His teaching and doctrines to the whole world through a commonplace church. Church (Greek word ekklesia) is the place of congregation or assembly of believers. In this article take a look at some of the oldest churches in world history.

Here is the list of Oldest Churches in the World:


17) St. Basil’s Cathedral

Location – Moscow, Russia

Construction- 1561

photo source: Flickr

The cathedral is one of the prodigious acts of art and elegance, the most impressive building in the history of architecture, craft, and design. St. Basil’s church is a true icon of Russia and also one of the famous tourist attractions in the world. The phenomenal image is also known as the Church of the intercession of the Mother of God. The four chapels witnessing a historical struggle against Kazan. The unique structure symbolises the divine form of the kingdom of God. The most beautiful church on the planet has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site


16) Milan Cathedral

Location- Milan, Italy

Constructed- 1386 AD

photo source: Flickr

Milan is the house of earlier Christian churches, the symbol of struggling tolerance and liberty of Christianity during the Roman realm, civil wars, invasions, and natural calamities. Milan cathedral now exists as one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The ancient structure has undergone multiphase constructions resulted in a divine work of interior design and architecture.


15) Hagia-Sophia

Location – Istanbul, Turkey

Constructed- 532-537

photo source: Flickr

Hagia-Sophia Church has also known as the “Church of the Holy Wisdom” a place to enlighten the soul and mind. The entire structure described the enormous religious transformations made over the centuries. One can see inscriptions of Islam and minarets as well as iconographic mosaics, the true source of understanding of Christianity religion and believes, indicating the prevalence of two different religions at different times. Today the marvellous structure is surrounded by a beautiful garden. The holy place is designated as the historical area of Istanbul by UNESCO.


14) San Lorenzo Florence

Location – Florence, Italy

Constructed- 393AD

photo source: Wikimedia

San Lorenzo was the oldest cathedral in the city with large space to accommodate many people. Modern architectural design is based on the classical model of churches in Rome. Beautiful aesthetics and calmness of place inspire and rejuvenates mind and soul to eternity. It is the most beautiful church known in the list of oldest churches in the world.


13) Basilica of St. Pierre-aux-Nonnains

Location – Metz, France

Constructed- 380 AD

photo source: Wikimedia

The basilica of St. Pierre-aux was constructed on Roman Gymnasium stood in the 4th century; the structure was actually converted to Holy Church in the 7th century. On the same foundation, the ancient roman architectural style has brought beautiful reconstruction and redesigning to bring every element of the building into a heavenly state. The oldest church of France is still in amazingly good condition.


12) Panagia Ekatontapiliani

Location- Parikia, Greece

Constructed – 4thcentury

photo source: Wikimedia

Ekatontapiliani means “Church of 100 doors”. There is the main church building dedicated to “Virgin Mary the bearer of son Jesus”. A yard surrounding the church contains baptistry and monks’ cells. The church is the centre of the religious festival held on 15th August, where people celebrate the sacrifices of Jesus and the triumphs of Christianity.


11) Church of our Lady Mary of Zion

Location- Ethiopia

Constructed – 4th century

photo source: Wikimedia

The church was built to worship the Virgin Mary. Ethnic Ethiopian paintings beautifully illustrated the sacrifice of Mother Mary. She was an iconic and ideological figure as the creator of God. Church of our Lady Mary of Zion was renovated several times and today you can visualize it as vibrant, divine and an astonishing work of architecture and design.


10) Cathedral of Trier

Location – Trier, Germany

Constructed- 340 AD

photo source: Wikimedia

Germany is not only famous for the beautiful Castles in the world, but also for “The Cathedral of Trier”, which is Germany’s oldest Cathedral. It has a huge campus and pilgrims all over the world visit and stays here. The church is the most prestigious treasure of Germany for several reasons –

  • It is the house of the “Holy Robe”, that was brought by St. Helena and it is in the form of a written document.
  • Another important relic is the “Holy Nail” presumed to be used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
  • Skull of St. Helena.

Cathedral of Trier got its name listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site.


9) Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere

Location- Rome

Constructed- 340 AD

photo source: Wikimedia

The holy place is dedicated to honour and worship Blessed Virgin Mary as the saviour of the people. The magnificent design and carving truly depicts the phases of the Virgin Mary’s life and as a great soul-bearing God. Basilica of Santa Maria Church replaced many elements of ancient style with modern church designs giving a sleek masterpiece representing the highest level of faith.


8) Church of Holy Sepulchre

Location- Jerusalem

Constructed- 335 AD

photo source: Wikimedia

The church was founded by Constantine the Great. The holy church was believed as the place of the renaissance of Jesus Christ. It is one of the most popular and devoted Christian pilgrimage destinations. Earlier it was the temple of Jupiter and Venus, later on through reconstruction and redesign it was converted to a church. According to believers after the transformation into the church roman freed from its ruins. According to St. Helena, mother of Constantine, Jesus Christ was buried at this place. The Church of Holy Sepulchre was rebuilt several times and one can find evidence of several phases of history on its inscriptions and graffiti.


7) St. Peter’s Basilica

Location- Vatican City, Rome

Constructed- 326 – 360AD

photo source: Wikimedia

St. Peter was one of the Apostles of Jesus, who vowed to spread the teaching of God. It is believed that he was murdered and buried at this place, where the church St. Peter’s Basilica stands today. It is one of the famous churches due to its great historical importance and huge Elysian structure that can accommodate more than 50000 people at a time. The famous artist Michelangelo dedicatedly poured awe-inspiring work of art for the love of God and honour of His disciples.


6) Church of the Nativity

Location- Bethlehem, Palestine

Constructed- 330–333 AD

photo source: Flickr

Church of the Nativity has been and still is worshipped as the most pious place in the history of Christianity. It is the birthplace of Jesus Christ and the primitive most foundation of the Christian religion. The Church offers an extraordinary influence on believers as the place is associated with the founder of their existence and identity as Christians. The place bears great historical as well as universal significance that is the reason in 2012 Church of the Nativity inscribed in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.


5) Mar Sarkis Church

Location- Ma ’Lula, Syria

Constructed – 325AD

photo source: Wikimedia

Mar Sarkis is the oldest Catholic Church converted to a monastery and convent. It is one of the oldest known monasteries in the world. Many of the churches of the earlier period were transformed into monasteries for the spreading of Christianity and its teaching as well as to preserve the historical glory of the place.


4) Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Location- Vagharshapat, Armenia

Constructed -301-303 AD

photo source: Flickr

Etchmiadzin Cathedral was built over a pagan temple, and it was under the administration of the supreme head of the Armenian Church and considered as a popular pilgrimage place of Christianity. According to legendary writer Agathangelos the saint Gregory the illuminator envisioned Jesus Christ with his golden hammer strike the place to show the site of the construction of the holy cathedral. Due to great historical importance cathedral was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Site.


3) Megiddo Church

Location- Tel Megiddo, Israel

Constructed- 3rd century AD

photo source: Wikimedia

Megiddo Church remains are the oldest reported. Many of the pieces of evidence shed light on early Christianity’s struggle and origin. The Church contained inscriptions telling “God’s close Akeptuous offering table to Jesus”. Mosaic containing amazing figures and images found during the excavation that is irresistible to believe. Mosaic is well preserved for historical significance.


2) Aqaba Church

Location- Aqaba, Jordan

Constructed- 293 – 303 AD

                                                                                 photo source: Wikimedia

Aqaba Church is one of the oldest churches in history. According to Archaeologists, A double-storey building was unique in its architectural style with arched-shaped doors. It had the capacity to accommodate up to 100 worshippers at a time. The entire structure was made out of bricks and mud. The Church was refurbished and brought to function several times before its complete demise by a catastrophic earthquake.


1) Dura-Europos Church

Location – Dura Europos, Syria

Constructed – 233 – 256 CE

 photo source: Wikimedia 

The dura-Europos church is also known as the “Earliest Christian House Church”. It is the oldest Christian church in the world with an assembly hall for the congregation of the Jewish community. It consisted of ancient figurative wall painting that depicts animal and human figures. There was another small room transformed into the baptistery. It was richly attired with paintings that signify the miracles of Jesus that he promised his disciples. Historical paintings and sculptures found in the Dura-Europos church were now preserved at the Art Gallery of Yale University.

The word Church defines Christian community and believes as a whole. Holy Churches of the world reveal the great history of the struggle of the evolution of Christianity. These are the amazing example of aesthetically adorned architecture and miraculous paintings shed light on the origin of Jesus and Christianity.

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