Extended Christian Households
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Emperor Constantine 188

Sain Paul

Statue of ConstantineExtended Christian households were the only model of "church" known in the Early Centuries. There were very few church buildings as we know them today. Extended Christian households continued until the religious freedom during the reign of the Emperor Constantine at the beginning of the fourth century, specifically 313 A.D. Saint Paul in Romans 16.23 writes of extended Christian households, "Gaius welcomed me and the whole church into his home." Paul says in Romans 16.5 concerning Priscilla and Aquila's extended Christian household, "Greet the church that meets in their home." The fact that Saint Paul also lists the names of twenty five individuals and their families, whom he seems to know personally in Romans 16.5-15, indicates the warmth and closeness of the extended Christian households in the vicinity of Rome. Roman and Greek societies were founded upon extended Christian households in the early centuries A.D. This consisted of a family or several families with grandparents, parents, children, teenagers and widowed relatives, as well as servants, slaves, many babies and infants living together. Extended Christian households also appear to have embraced other childless couples, small family units and visiting Christians.

"Extended Christian Households"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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