Saudi Jeans posts on the existence of the ruins of Christian churches in Saudi Arabia, linking to sites that provide photos of an 4th C. CE Assyrian church in Jubail and one in Jeddah of unknown date.

There are also reports of pre-Islamic ruins of synagogues in Najran province, where Christians warred with Yemeni Jews in the 6th C. CE.

Churches in Saudi Arabia

While Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow people of religions other than Islam to practice their faiths publicly here, the land of the Kingdom could be the home of one of the oldest churches in the region.

The Assyrian International News Agency website recently published some photos of what they called the Jubail Church, of which its ruins were accidentally unearthed in the 1980’s by a group of people attempting to dig their vehicle out of the sand. The website claims that the government has acknowledged the existence of this church but will not issue permits to visit it.

October:12:2008 - 10:55 | Comments & Trackbacks (3) | Permalink
3 Responses to “Ancient Churches in Saudi Arabia”
  1. 1
    Perplexed Said:
    September:02:2010 - 14:11 

    You have a very interesting concept at work on this website.
    I admire the approach of painting a picture of Saudi Arabia using “just the facts, ma’am” approach.
    Here is my list of “facts” that I hope someone can research in more detail and post a report here.

    1. Saudi Arabia did not exist until 1927(?)….when the US and UK conspired to end the Kingdom of Hijaz and allow the Tribe of Saud to enter Mecca like conquerors.
    2.Saudi Arabia has essentially re-organized the whole concept of “Islam” into a Political System of Law administered by Imams whose authority derives from…….I just dont know???
    3. Mohamed’s natural lineage descends from an arabic tribe known as the Hashemites……The only Hashemite I know of ….is King Abdulla of Jordan……and he’s half English!
    4. The whole Shi’ia vs Sunni warfare thing has, at its heart, a conflict over who will be supreme leader of the Islamic Political System………asassination after double-cross after assasination…….Shi’ias believing only a Hashemite having a “divine right” to lead the political system……..while Sunnis(such as the Tribe of Saud) assert that the supreme leader should be elected thru a process I dont understand……but conveniently enough…..the Tribe of Saud argues that their King can lead the entire Islamic Political System.

    So, by now, I suspect many readers who endured this entire post, are starting suspect that I have prejudged the entire matter….
    I say I have not…..
    I say that I have phrased several observations, that if countered adequately, will help resolve the POLITICAL tensions that exist between Saudi Arabia and its Western Neighbors.

  2. 2
    John Burgess Said:
    September:02:2010 - 16:46 

    I’ve somewhat different line on Saudi Arabia.

    1. While the UK diplomatically recognized Saudi Arabia in 1927, as part of its policy to control the Persian Gulf and to thwart Russian moves in the area, the US did not recognize it until 1931. By 1927, the Al-Saud controlled all of Saudi Arabia, ruling it as the Kingdoms of the Hejaz and Nejd–it changed its name in 1932. There was no conspiracy. Prior to recognizing it in 1931, the Kingdom was essentially invisible to the US. As it became internationally recognized, the US was persuaded that there might be some trade opportunities there. Recall, oil wasn’t discovered until 1938, so this was regular trade in commodities and retail goods. While not expert on UK diplomatic relations, I don’t see ‘conspiracy’ there, either: in 1927, Abdulaziz was de facto head of the state; the Treaty of Jeddah just made him de jure leader in British eyes.

    2. The First Saudi State, of 1744-1818, sought to reintroduce what it saw as the close cooperation between church and state that existed during the time of the Prophet.

    3. The Hashemites are a branch of the Quraysh. The Prophet is usually identified with the Quraysh tribe that ruled Mecca in the 7th C. CE. Both tribes trace their origin to a leader named Quraysh, who is said to have been a direct descendent of the Prophet Ismail and thus the Prophet Ibrahim.

    4. The Shi’a believe that the successor to the Prophet is chosen by God alone; Sunni’s believe that the community is the correct party to choose the most honorable of its members as successor. The Shi’a do not generally consider themselves ‘Hashemite’, though they do consider ancestral lines of descent from the Prophet and his family as important as do Sunnis.

    The Al-Saud–who did not exist as a tribe at the time of the Prophet–do not aspire to lead ‘the entire Islamic Political System’. They think their manifestation of Islam is the sole correct one and should serve as an example for all other Muslims. They’re certainly willing to expend resources to help others see the light, whether through purification of their current Islamic practices or through ‘reversion/conversion’.

  3. 3
    Sandy Said:
    September:02:2010 - 18:31 

    I believe the Jordanian Royal family (Hashemite) migrated to Jordan from Hijaz.

    It’s also my understanding that the Shia believe the successor to the prophet should have followed the Prophet’s family- Ali. Either way, the split was over political/spiritual leadership. Other differences have also evolved over time.

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