Christian Basilica Buildings
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Church Built over Old Church 168

Aula Ecclesia

Basilica PlanJohn Foster in "The First Advance - Church History 1: AD 29-500" writes, "During the third and final stage of household development (A.D. 250-313), larger buildings and halls called 'Aula Ecclesia', both private and public, were used. These larger buildings preceded the Christian basilica buildings architecture of Constantine's era, and some of them may have previously functioned as 'domus ecclesiae.'" Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids add in "Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development" "Basilica buildings were rectangular in shape and had none of the formal features of later basilica architecture." About 250 A.D., we hear of a few of these simple Christian buildings being built, where Christians were most numerous, in Pontus, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. But in that very year (A.D. 250 ) came persecution, which was Empire wide, and the Christians lost their buildings.✞

A Sacred Place

Basilica ShellA number of basilica building remains are preserved beneath some of the churches at Rome that suggest earlier structures used by Christian communities. Many of these ancient Roman sites became the locations of the Christian basilicas , thereby preserving a tradition of a "sacred place." Basilica S. Crisogono is an indisputable example of an "aula ecclesiae" in Rome. It is located on the ancient Via Aurelia, and was constructed by incorporating a large, pre-existing rectangular hall (90 ft. by 50 ft.) This particular hall dates to the beginning of the fourth century (A.D. 310).✞

"Christian Basilica Buildings"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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