Early Christian communities

Early Christian communities

The pilgrim may also stop at other places, not related to a prophet in particular but rather to the history of the early Christians in Transjordan. Persecutions have driven many Palestinians families to find refuge in the towns and villages of Transjordan. Pella is particularly known for having been a venue for many of them, but Um Qais and Jerash are also other examples. The Byzantine period was a very ...

Um Al Jimal carved stone

prosperous period in Transjordan, and Christians have marked their presence and their faith by building numerous churches decorated with beautiful mosaics, with an artistic expression largely influenced by classical Antiquity. We know that many remains of this period have not been excavated yet. They are not only concentrated in urban areas but are also scattered in the countryside. In Um Al Jimal, the remains of an important Byzantine city include not less than 15 large churches and chapels, the capacity of which exceeds the number of inhabitant. Similarly, Um Al Rassas accommodated superb churches, very large in size compared to settlement population. The reason is that, in that time, people proved their faith and their influence by building religious structures. This practice still exists nowadays in the Middle East.

Cities like Jerash, Madaba and Karak were important bishoprics headquarters. Monasteries were built in high places, like the citadels of Ajloun and Karak, upon which have been established the foundations of the Crusaders castles. Many places in Jordan hold the name of Deir, which means the monastery and attest by this way that monks or hermits where living there. Um Al Rassas keeps  the uniqueness and a complete example of a 14 meters high Stylite tower. This tower has been erected next to a small church. Both structures seem to be contemporary and date back to the 6th century. It is said that a hermit lived on its top for many year, without never going down.

The Muslim rule brought a progressive decline to the Christian culture and especially to its artistic expression. Later, at the time of the Crusaders, many Christian families went back to Palestine. Nevertheless, the Christian community remains alive in Jordan, and maintains a very good relationship with the Muslim community..

mosaic floor in Um Al Rassas
Petra Monastery monumentchurch and monastic complex of Umm Es Surab with the minaret added afterwards