The 10 Oldest Churches in the World

1. Dura-Europos church

The Dura-Europos church holds the distinction of being the earliest identified Christian house church and is included in our list of the oldest churches in the world. It is situated in Dura-Europos, Syria, and dates back to 235 AD. French and American archaeological teams excavated the site of Dura-Europos in the 1920s and 1930s.

The 10 Oldest Churches in the World

Determining the oldest churches in the world requires careful consideration of definitions, distinguishing between the oldest surviving building and the oldest Christian church congregation. Furthermore, it’s important to differentiate between church buildings that have been continuously used as churches and those that have been converted for other purposes, as well as between churches that have remained active and those that were closed for extended periods. Additionally, early established congregations that have maintained continuous existence are distinguished from those that have ceased to exist.

2. Megiddo church

The Megiddo church, discovered in Tel Megiddo, Israel, is among the oldest church buildings ever found by archaeologists. It dates back to the 3rd century AD when Christians were still facing persecution from the Roman Empire. Notably, a well-preserved mosaic measuring approximately 54 square meters (580 square feet) was found, featuring a Greek inscription that declares the church’s consecration to “the God Jesus Christ.” The mosaic also displays geometric figures and fish, which is an early Christian symbol.

The 10 Oldest Churches in the World

3. Monastery of Saint Anthony

It is considered one of the oldest monasteries globally and was established by the followers of Saint Anthony, widely regarded as the first ascetic monk. Located approximately 334 km (207 miles) southeast of Cairo, the Monastery of St. Anthony holds great significance and has played a pivotal role in shaping various Coptic institutions and promoting monasticism in general. Over the years, several patriarchs have emerged from this monastery, and it continues to receive hundreds of pilgrims daily.

Monastery of Saint Anthony

4. Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains basilica

The Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains Basilica, located in Metz, France, is an ancient church building constructed in 380 AD, making it one of the oldest churches in Europe. Originally designed as part of a Roman spa complex, the structure underwent conversion into a church in the 7th century, becoming the chapel of a Benedictine monastery. In the 1000s, a new nave was added, accompanied by further interior renovations. However, during the 16th century, the building served as a warehouse until its restoration in the 1970s.

5. Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion

The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, affiliated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, holds immense importance in Ethiopia. Its original construction is believed to have taken place during the reign of Ezana, the first Christian emperor of Ethiopia, in the 4th century AD. Throughout history, the church has undergone several reconstructions. It was destroyed by Queen Gudit in the 10th century and later demolished by Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi in the 16th century. Emperor Gelawdewos rebuilt the church, which was further expanded by Fasilides in the 17th century. The church is situated in Axum, within the Tigray Province.

6. Cathedral of Trier

The Cathedral of Trier, located in Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, stands as the oldest cathedral in the country. This remarkable edifice boasts an exceptionally long lifespan, with various eras contributing to its design over time. Notably, the center of the main chapel incorporates Roman brick laid under the direction of Saint Helen. Rather than being rebuilt entirely, the cathedral gradually expanded and evolved through different periods. Its dimensions, measuring 112.5 by 41 meters, make it the largest church structure in Trier. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, the Cathedral of Trier stands as a testament to its rich and diverse history.

7. Church of Saint Simeon Stylites

The Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, situated approximately 30 kilometers northwest of Aleppo, Syria, is a well-preserved church that traces its origins back to the 5th century. Simeon Stylites once stood, who was a renowned hermit monk. Popularly known as Qalat Seman, meaning the “Fortress of Simeon,” the church attracts visitors with its historical significance and architectural beauty.

8. Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, located in Istanbul, Turkey, has a complex history. Originally serving as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica since its dedication in 360, it became a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople during the period of the Western Crusader-established Latin Empire, from 1204 to 1261. In 1453, after the conquest of Constantinople, it was converted into a mosque and remained as such until 1934 when it was secularized. Subsequently, on February 1, 1935, it was reopened as a museum. Hagia Sophia is a cherished cultural landmark, representing the convergence of various religious and architectural influences throughout centuries of history.

9. Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai

Saint Catherine’s Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Sinai in Saint Katherine city, Egypt, holds a significant place among the oldest functioning Christian monasteries worldwide. This Orthodox monastery, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, shares the title of the oldest working Christian monastery with the Monastery of Saint Anthony, located across the Red Sea in the desert south of Cairo. Nestled in the Sinai Peninsula and surrounded by a gorge, Saint Catherine’s Monastery maintains its sacred presence and attracts visitors from around the world.

10. Church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity, located in Bethlehem, holds the remarkable distinction of being one of the oldest churches that have continuously operated throughout history. Built over the cave traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, this site holds immense significance for Christians worldwide. The church’s enduring presence and sanctity also make it revered by followers of Islam. As a symbol of faith and a place of pilgrimage, the Church of the Nativity showcases the enduring spiritual heritage associated with Bethlehem.

22 responses to “The 10 Oldest Churches in the World”

  1. jamesgeevarghese Avatar

    Very nice to see , very good

  2. Diana Avatar

    I ask to if you can put my mother Carmen Carrasquillo in prayer in your church to heal her from cancer and to take away her very bad pain.

    Thank you
    Diana Trilla

  3. Kevork Avatar

    This article is flawed. The oldest built church in the world is Etchmiadzin Cathedral of Armenia. Many other churches in Armenia and historic Armenia currently occupied by Turkey and Azerbaijan exist as well. In addition church architecture also has its roots in Armenia.

  4. Abraham Buyuksal Avatar
    Abraham Buyuksal

    There are quite a few older churches in the world that is much older than the churches listed above.
    one example is that The Mor Gabriel Church in Mardin, Turkey that was built in 347 and it is still operating. It is a Syriac Orthodox church that still operates till today.

    I do not understand how this was not listed here as one of the oldest church in the world. As well as other churches that belong to Syriac Orthodox Church are much older than many of these listed above.

  5. fitness Avatar

    Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and detailed information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  6. rafat Avatar

    the most ancient church in the world is in jordan, rihaab, northern region of jordan, it ages 1950 years ago.

  7. jenny Avatar

    wow very unbelievable churches.they atract me….. but.. did you see the sand chuch in egypt? I saw it in personal.yeahhhh

  8. jon marisa Avatar

    very ugly churches!!! if youd see them youll s*** brixx

  9. seta Avatar

    The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the oldest state-built church in the world. The original vaulted basilica was built in 301–303 by Saint Gregory the Illuminator when Armenia officially became the first Christian country in the world.

  10. Ara Avatar


  11. Mark Avatar

    How can you be missing St. Thaddeus church in Iran and Echmiadzin in Armenia? HORRIBLE ARTICLE!!!!

  12. Armenoid Avatar

    How can you miss St. Thaddeus Church in Iran and Echmiadzin in Armenia? HORRIBLE ARTICLE! Exprees forgot to mention in abovementioned list (above) Armenian churches. Exprss.

  13. rej Avatar

    very nice………beauty…..thanks lot…….

  14. rockraj Avatar


  15. Isak Avatar

    We have many syriac/assyrian churches and monasteries which are far older. Mor Gabriel In Mesopotamia was built in 397 AD!

  16. mihret Avatar


  17. jisso Avatar

    worlds first church was founded by saint thomas in palayur, kerala in the year 57 ad

  18. Jitendran Avatar

    Church in kodungallur, kerala, India established in AD 52.
    By St. Thomas apostle

  19. nasir karim Avatar
    nasir karim

    Oh God very beutifull churches…thanks for shareing!

  20. Atakan Avatar

    What a terrific aclirte. How come I am not surprised? You are a special young lady and we are proud of your accomplishments. Just an aside – Danielle, our granddaughter, went to Lafayette to see if she would like to go there next year. She is a senior at Randolph and coincidentally, it was recommended she visit St. Joes in PA and that is where she was today. I believe she included it in her top 3 schools. God bless you in all you do.Luv ya, Aunt Fran and Uncle Jim

  21. fritz widener Avatar
    fritz widener

    Thought-provoking writing – I was enlightened by the information , Does someone know if I could possibly get a fillable a form version to fill out ?

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