Domus Ecclesiae Churches
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Domus Ecclesiae Churches
Page 165

Agape Love Sign

Basilica drawingAmong the reasons for the church's transition from ordinary homes to domus ecclesiae churches which were literally "house churches" were the size of the community and the diversity of activities being undertaken. By 250 AD, for example, believers in Rome numbered approximately thirty thousand people. Growth such as this necessitated the remodeling of existing structures.

Formal Seating

Agape Love SignChristian churches needed also to accommodate a diversity of activities and this left its special impact on architectural features. In the "Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development" edited by Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, the Agape Feast separated from the Eucharist, called the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion. This was formerly the meal that preceded the service which meant that dining arrangements and culinary facilities in the domus ecclesiae were no longer needed.✞

Dias and Throne

Domus EcclesiaeInstead of an informal household arrangement, formal seating was then implemented including a throne, with the orientation toward the dais or the raised platform for the bishop or leading elder. A distinction was made between catechumens and full members, and particular features, such as baptismal fonts, were added. In this way, the transition was made from meetings in homes to "house churches."

"Domus Ecclesiae Churches"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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