by James Peterson
The term church can take on different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In this article, the term church is used to refer to the building that is used for religious activities, specifically worshiping services. The term is often used by Christians to refer to religious buildings. Although the term is often used by Christians, it can be used by religious groups too. When in need of understanding the history of most churches Westfield NJ is the best place to visit.
The earliest church that can be identified was a house church that was founded somewhere between 233 and 256. Today, the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites is one of the oldest churches in the world that has survived to this day. The church is located in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Most of the buildings that were initially meant for worship have now been converted to other uses. The reverse has happen to some buildings that were initially meant for other activities.
The term church originated from the language of Greek. Its refers to anything related to Jesus. The word ecclesia was being used more in the English language before it was dropped for church. However, the word remained in use in Latin, Greek and other languages. That is why languages such as Italia, Portuguese, French, and Spanish, which are derived from the Latin language still use words derived from ecclesia.
Breton, Irish, Welsh among other Celtic languages as well as Turkish also started using the term ecclesia and they still do to this moment. Conversely, church was adopted in English instead of ecclesia. Churche was the initial spelling prior to its change to church. Derivatives of the word church are also in use in other languages like Scottish, Russian, and German.
In accordance to the Bible, construction of churches was not done by the earliest Christians. The books of Acts and both first and second Corinthians state that people who believed in Christ could gather in temples, homes, and synagogues. Western European communities are responsible of starting the construction of church buildings. This started during the 11-14 centuries.
Medieval churches served more functions apart from worshiping. Other communal activities were also performed in the buildings. Some of the activities include acting as halls for meetings and banquets. Sometimes they could be used for holding mystery plays and fairs. In addition to that, when it was harvesting period, the buildings could be used for threshing and storing grain. Renaissance saw a lot of these structures constructed in Europe before the Americas followed suit.
Churches are typically constructed in the shape of a cross in their architectures. The architecture comprises of a long rectangle, two rectangles on the sides, and a smaller rectangle at the front. The front rectangle serves as the sanctuary or alter space. The rectangle is the place where the congregation sits.
There are many different types of church buildings. Basic examples are cathedrals and basilica. A cathedral is a church, normally Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, or Catholic. It is usually the place that houses the seat of the bishop.
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