Christian Basilica Building
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Christian Basilica Building
Page 166

Aula Ecclesia

Basilica PlanJohn Foster in "The First Advance - Church History 1: AD 29-500" wrote, "During the third and final stage of household development between 250 and 313 AD, larger buildings and halls called 'Aula Ecclesia', both private and public, were used. These larger buildings preceded the Christian basilica architecture of Constantine's era, and some of them may have previously functioned as 'domus ecclesiae.'" Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids added 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 AD, we heard of a few of these simple Christian buildings being built, where Christians were most numerous, in Pontus, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. But in the year 250 AD came persecution, which was Empire wide, and the Christians lost their buildings.

Sacred Place

Basilica ShellA number of the Christian basilica building remains were preserved beneath some of the churches in Rome that suggested 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 was an indisputable example of an "aula ecclesiae" in Rome. It was located on the ancient Via Aurelia, and was constructed by incorporating a large, pre-existing rectangular hall of 90 ft. by 50 ft. This particular hall dated to the beginning of the fourth century or c310 AD.

"Christian Basilica Building"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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