Early Christianity’s birth is generally dated to the year 33 AD and to have lasted until the 325 AD, date on which the first Council of Nicaea took place. The religion had quickly spread from the Eastern Mediterranean throughout the Roman Empire, later reaching eastern regions, as far as India. Just by the end of the first century, Early Christians had already subdivided in
- and Syria.
This progression was due to the fact that many of them were merchants or had other practical reasons to travel around the world. Their “march” was closely connected to already established Jewish centers. That is no wonder, for as described by the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the first Christians were all Jews, either by birth or by conversion (cases on which the biblical term “proselyte” is used).
What is surprising, is the structure and the nature of their first settlements. They gathered in small private homes, knowns as “home churces” or “house churces”. This kind of organization was a key factor for the religion’s growth. The groups could either be independent, seeing the house church as the primary base of their community, or they could be part of a larger Christian body. In this latter possibility, the meeting style was even more advantageous, for while big congregations were banned from many countries (for example China), smaller groups could “infiltrate” and worship in peace.
Now, almost 2000 years later, one of those sacred sanctuaries has been left in pitiful conditions. It is a small cave digged in the rock, located by the borders of a small town called Cutrofiano, in Apulia, Italy.
Its walls were covered in beautiful frescoes, depicting men and women of those times. For some unknown reason, people have forgotten about its existence and no one has cared enough to restore it, not even the Vatican itself. Its pictures are gone forever, leaving just some barely visible stains of color. But the degrade hasn’t stopped there… some people have even dared to throw garbage inside and around the cave.
With these photos and video I hope to give everyone a little insight on its beauty and importance. Important not just from a merely religious point of view, but from a humanitarian perspective. This cave is a piece of history, a piece of the lives of human beings which contributed to set the path for our race’s evolution and politics, which is linked to all aspects of our modern society, including our own existence. Because of this, despite of what we believe or we don’t believe in, it’d be great if we could simply open our hearts a bit by sharing this message, so that this madness will finally stop and that this sanctuary shall never, ever be forgotten again.