“We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33AD to 70AD,” said Archaeologist Abdul Qader Hussan, head of the Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies.
The discovery was “amazing”, Hussan told The Jordan Times.
“We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians: the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ,” the scholar said.
The early Christians, described in the mosaic inscription on St. Georgeous floor as “the 70 beloved by God and Divine”, are said to have fled from Jerusalem during the persecution of Christians, to the northern part of Jordan, particularly to Rihab, he added.
Citing historical sources, the expert said the 70 lived and practised their rituals in secrecy in this underground church.
We believe that they did not leave the cave and lived until the Christian religion was embraced by Roman rulers.
“It was then when St. Georgeous was built,” said Hussan.