Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Dura-Europos Church |
When Christians met in houses

Dura-Europos Church is drawn from Chapter Ten, beginning on page 265, of Volume Two, A Pinch of Incense of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit

Buried during a Persian attack 17 centuries ago, a home reveals the splendor of a very early Christian church

Dura-Europos Church - When Christians met in houses

Dura-Europos Church - When Christians met in houses
The excavated ruins of a third-century house-church at Dura-Europos, in what is now Syria, provide great detail about early Christian life. The building was buried under mud, and therefore preserved, during a Persian attack in about A.D. 256. Inside were a baptistery font and large-scale wall paintings, shown here in a reconstruction in the Dura-Europos collection of the Yale University Art Gallery.

In the 1930s, in what is now Syria, archaeologists carefully uncovered a remarkable ruin: a private home that had been converted into a Christian church seventeen centuries before, in the early 200s. The building, which had lain buried since Persian warriors attacked the Roman town of Dura-Europos where it sat, is one of the oldest Christian churches known to exist. Its walls are covered with large-scale paintings of themes familiar to today’s Christians–Christ walking on the water, Jesus healing a paralyzed man, Jesus as the Good Shepherd–along with Old Testament scenes. The home’s central room, used for the church services, could hold about one hundred people, and it features a small stone basin–too small to stand in–that held water for baptism. Among the wall paintings is a depiction of five women who have come to the tomb of Jesus after his Crucifixion. They carry large bowls, presumably for use in washing the body for burial, and they hold torches to illuminate the darkened tomb as they approach a huge sarcophagus, flanked by two large stars representing angels. Archaeologists have uncovered other such homes elsewhere, but because of the wealth of insight it offers into early Christian worship, Dura-Europos remains a spectacular favorite of both tourists and scholars.

This is the end of the Dura-Europos Church category article drawn from Chapter Ten, beginning on page 265, of Volume Two, A Pinch of Incense. To continue reading more about Dura-Europos Church from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at