Airport Expansion Reveals the Oldest Church in Iraq

Bible and archaeology news

A 2007 expansion of an airport in Najaf, Iraq exposed the remains of the earliest known Christian church in Iraq. Originally built some 1,700 years ago, the remains require proper excavation, but the wartime discovery coupled with a lack of funding has hindered scientific study. The ruins point to a thriving Christian community in early first millennium Iraq. Some scholars believe the site to be the Arab Christian center Hira, an important center of Nestorian Christianity for centuries. Christianity was spread by the Arab Christian Lakhmid dynasty, who made Hira their capital in 266 C.E. The discovery of the oldest known Christian site in Iraq is a reflection of Iraq’s rich and diverse cultural heritage in Iraq, and Iraqi archaeologists hope to conduct a proper excavation in the future.

Archaeologists stand next to ruins which scholars think may be from the legendary Arab Christian city of Hira, just a few hundred yards (meters) from the runway of the airport in the holy Shiite Muslim city of Najaf. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)

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  • Frankie says

    I hope they find some manuscripts

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