25 Oldest Churches in the World (History & Photos)

Last Updated on 22nd June 2022 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 beliefs of God’s disciples in a bygone era. Churches witnessed the marvelous 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 the oldest Churches in the World:

 

25) St. Basil’s Cathedral

Location: Moscow, Russia

Constructed: 1561

Image 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 witnessed a historical struggle against Kazan. The unique structure symbolizes the divine form of the kingdom of God. The most beautiful church on the planet has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

24) Milan Cathedral

Location: Milan, Italy

Constructed: 1386

Image Source: Flickr

Milan is the house of earlier Christian churches, the symbol of the struggling tolerance and liberty of Christianity during the Roman realm, civil wars, invasions, and natural calamities. The city of Milan itself has many historical things, one of which is Milan Cathedral. It exists as one of the most beautiful churches in the world and attracts many tourists from all around the world due to its beautiful structure. The ancient structure has undergone multiphase constructions resulting in a divine work of interior design and architecture.

 

23) Church of Saint Michael

Location:  Vienna, Austria

Constructed: 1220 – 1240

Image Source: Wikimedia 

The Church of Saint Michael is considered one of the oldest churches in Vienna, Austria. It is said to be that the oldest part of the church was built between 1220 and 1240. Over time, many changes have taken place, and its current structure was built in 1792. St. Michael’s Church is one of Austria’s famous landmarks that is reminiscent of Romanesque, Gothicism and other architecture. Must visit this church to see the beauty of the artistic and unique type of architecture

 

22) Notre-Dame de Paris

Location:  Paris, France

Constructed: 1163 – 1345

Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris is a medieval Catholic cathedral located on the island (Île de la Cité) of the Seine River in Paris, France. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in France. The cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus) and is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Construction of the cathedral began in 1163 and was largely completed by 1260, although it was frequently modified for several centuries thereafter.

 

21) Dalby Church

Location: Skåne County, Sweden

Constructed: 11th century

Dalby Church (Dalby Kyrka)
Image Source: Wikimedia 

Dalby Church (Dalby Kyrka) is one of the oldest churches in Sweden. It is also called the Church of the Holy Cross in Dalby, located in the Swedish province of Scania. It is one of the oldest churches in Sweden. Dalby was part of Denmark at the time when it was first built in the 11th century, and the church was commissioned by King Sven II of Denmark. The current structure of the church we see today was built over several centuries and was last renovated in the 19th century.

 

20) Greensted Church

Location:  Essex, England

Constructed: 9th or 10th Century

Greensted Church
Image Source: Flickr 

This beautiful wooden church is located in the small village of Greenstead located in near Chipping Ongar in Essex, England. It is believed to be the oldest wooden church in the world and dedicated to St. Andrew. dendrochronological (tree-ring dating) estimate that it was built in 845 AD, later re-analyzed and reset the wood to about 1053 AD. The church was reconstruction work by the Victorians in the 19th century and some brickwork was added to the building.

 

19) Aachen Cathedral

Location: Aachen, Germany

Constructed: 796 – 805

Aachen Cathedral Germany

Aachen Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church and one of the famous tourist attractions in Germany located in the old city of Aachen. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe and was built in the 8th century by the order of Emperor Charlemagne. Aachen Cathedral is a masterpiece listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list since 1978 due to its exceptional artistry and architecture. It was severely damaged in World War II, but the basic structure of the church survived.

 

18) Church of Saint Peter of the Nave

Location: Zamora, Spain

Constructed: 680 – 711

Church of Saint Peter of the Nave

San Pedro de la Nave is a medieval church in the province of Zamora, Spain. It is one of the oldest churches in Europe built in the 7th century. It was originally built near the Esla River and then moved from its original site when the land was flooded by the creation of the Ricobayo Reservoir. Relocation of the church was carried out from 1930 to 1932 under the direction of architect Alejandro Ferrante Vazquez.

 

17) Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall

Location: Essex, England

Constructed: 654 AD

Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall
Image Source: Wikimedia 

This simple-looking church is considered to be one of the oldest churches in England. The chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall Church is believed to have been built in  654 AD by St Cedd on the foundations of a Roman fort and is still in use. It is situated on the edge of the sea and offers stunning views, which makes it a beautiful destination. Apart from Church of England services, the chapel is regularly used by the nearby Othona community.

 

16) St Martin’s Church

Location: Canterbury, Kent, England

Constructed: 597 AD

St Martin's Church, Canterbury
Image Source: Wikimedia 

St Martin’s is an ancient church of England parish situated beyond the city center in Canterbury, England. It is one of the most famous destinations in England. It is the oldest church in the entire English-speaking world and is still in use as a parish church and a part of a World Heritage Site. St Martin church was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent, who died around 601. The churchyard also has some graves of many famous people of local families including Thomas Sidney Cooper and Mary Tourte.

 

15) Hagia-Sophia

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Constructed: 532-537

Image 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 beliefs, indicating the prevalence of two different religions at different times. Today the marvelous 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

Image Source: Wikimedia

San Lorenzo was the oldest cathedral in the city with a 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 rejuvenate mind and soul to eternity. It is the most beautiful church known on the list of oldest churches in the world.

 

13) Basilica of St. Pierre-aux-Nonnains

Location: Metz, France

Constructed: 380 AD

Image Source: Wikimedia

The basilica of St. Pierre-aux was constructed on Roman Gymnasium stood in the 4th century; the structure was actually converted into 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 in France is still in amazingly good condition and is one of the famous tourist attractions in France.

 

12) Panagia Ekatontapiliani

Location: Parikia, Greece

Constructed: 4th century

Image Source: Wikimedia

Ekatontapiliani means “Church of 100 doors”. There is the main church building dedicated to the “Virgin Mary the bearer of son Jesus”. A yard surrounding the church contains baptistry and monks’ cells. The church is the center 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

Image 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

Image Source: Wikimedia

Germany is not only known for the most Famous 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.

It is one of the famous tourist attractions in Germany. The Cathedral of Trier is also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

 

9) Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere

Location: Rome

Constructed: 340 AD

Image Source: Wikimedia

The holy place is dedicated to honoring and worshipping Blessed Virgin Mary as the savior of the people. The magnificent design and carving truly depict 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

Image 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 was freed from its ruins. According to St. Helena, the 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 in its inscriptions and graffiti.

 

7) St. Peter’s Basilica

Location: Vatican City, Rome

Constructed: 326 – 360AD

Image 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 works of art for the love of God and the honor of His disciples.

 

6) Church of the Nativity

Location: Bethlehem, Palestine

Constructed: 330–333 AD

Image Source: Flickr

The 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 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 which is the reason in 2012 Church of the Nativity was inscribed in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

 

5) Mar Sarkis Church

Location: Ma ’Lula, Syria

Constructed: 325AD

Image 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

Image 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 is considered a popular pilgrimage place of Christianity. According to legendary writer Agathangelos the saint Gregory, the illuminator envisioned Jesus Christ with his golden hammer striking the place to show the site of the construction of the holy cathedral. Due to its great historical importance cathedral was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

3) Megiddo Church

Location: Tel Megiddo, Israel

Constructed: 3rd century AD

Image 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

Image 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

Image 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 paintings that depict 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 the Christian community and beliefs as a whole. Holy Churches of the world reveal the great history of the struggle for the evolution of Christianity. These are the amazing example of aesthetically adorned architecture and miraculous paintings that shed light on the origin of Jesus and Christianity.

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