Orthodox Christians trace their roots to the First Seven Ecumenical Councils, which were held between 325 and 787. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 is regarded by Orthodox as the final interpretation of Christian dogma. Today, the Orthodox Church recognizes this council as the most important document in the history of Christianity.
Dura-Europos house church in Syria
The oldest known Christian house church was the Dura-Europos church, which is found in Dura-Europos, Syria. It is believed to have originated from a house that was converted into a Christian church during the late first century. The church was active between 233 and 256.
The baptistery in the Dura-Europos house church was a modest room with a baptismal font. It was decorated with Christian paintings, including one of Christ as the Good Shepherd. While many early Christian churches had no pictures, the Dura-Europos church baptistery is an example of a Christian tradition of not abiding by the strict rules against images in the early centuries of the Christian church.
The Dura-Europos house church was built around 240 CE as part of a wealthy house. It was a place of worship for the Christians of Dura-Europos and was heavily influenced by the nearby Synagogue.
Midyat in Egypt
Midyat is the oldest orthodox church in Egypt, and it is located in the region of Tur Abdin, which is a spiritual center for Christians. The region was once home to eighty Syriac Orthodox monasteries, though only seven remain active today. The town of Midyat has around 100,000 people, and the Mor Barsarmo Church distributes consecrated bread after evening prayer.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the most important Christian church in the predominantly Muslim country of Egypt. Before the 7th century Arab conquest of Egypt, the Coptic people were known as Aigyptios. However, they were forced to abandon this name after being conquered by the Arabs, and the name became a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian minority. In the 19th century, the church began calling itself Coptic Orthodox, a term that distinguishes it from the Greek-language Roman Catholic Church. Its teachings have been adopted into the curriculum at many government schools in Egypt.
Jerusalem in Syria
The Syrian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian denominations in the world. Founded in AD 430, it is a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church and in communion with Rome. It also has ties with other Christian denominations, including the Armenian Patriarchate, Catholic Church, and Coptic Church. Its patriarch is based in Beirut, Syria, and it has an active community of about 350 people. In November, riot police were called in to break up a fight among monks. Today, the Syrian Church is a member of the World Council of Churches and is a participant in ecumenical circles.
Syria’s Christians were influential in the development of biblical literature. Syrian Church scholars delved into the depths of the Bible and unraveled its mysteries. They translated the Bible into Syriac and conducted extensive studies. Their scholarly work enriched the libraries of both East and West. They produced countless volumes of commentaries and interpretations on the Bible.
Antioch in Syria
Antioch in Syria is home to the Syriac Orthodox Church, the oldest orthodox church in the world. The church’s name is derived from the Syriac language, dt’ swryyt’ rtdwksyt, meaning “the orthodox church of Antioch”. The name has been translated to English in the past, and the name is still widely used in English-speaking countries.
The Antioch patriarchate became split in the eleventh century, when the Greeks broke away from the Antioch Patriarchate. The Greek patriarch now resides in Damascus, and the city of Antioch has lost its political importance.
Wadi El Natrun in Egypt
The oldest orthodox church is located in Wadi El Natrun in Egypt, an area that has been considered sacred to the Coptic community for centuries. Ancient Egyptians mined natron in the area, and the Holy Family visited it during their flight into Egypt. The location has since been the official residence of the Coptic patriarch, who is elected from amongst the monks of the area.
The oldest church in Egypt is the Abu Menas basilica, which was built in the sixth century. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wadi El Natrun is also home to the Coptic Orthodox Paromeos Monastery, the oldest surviving Christian monastery. This monastery was founded by St. Macarius the Great, who was known for his dedication to the monastic life. The name, “al-Baramus”, comes from the Coptic Christian word pa-Rameos, which means “that of the Romans.” It is believed that the first Christian monastery in Egypt was founded by St. Bishoy in 320 AD. His parents were deeply religious and believed in God. According to their beliefs, the angels from the Lord appeared to them, asking them to establish a Christian