AND THE WINNER IS – THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY
Bethlehem, West Bank (565 AD)
Yes, Bethlehem, the place where it all began, is home to the reigning champion of the world’s oldest church. Although the very first church built by Constantine in the 4th century was destroyed during the Samaritan Revolt, the 6th century replacement built by Justinian is still standing. Completed in 565 AD, the Church of the Nativity has been damaged by wars, political unrest, earthquakes, and the ravages of time. But other than some repairs and additions, it stands today much as it did at the time of its completion. Moreover, it has remained in near-continual use as a place of worship all the way until the present day. The Church of the Nativity is considered by most Christians as the second holiest site of their faith. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
If anyone out there is aware of any purpose-built church that is older, still essentially intact and still in use, please mention it in the comments and I will update the article accordingly. Thanks!
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