Gab es „Hauskirchen“? Anmerkungen zu einem Phantom

Were there “house churches”? Notes on a phantom

Treść artykułu: Pobierz | Czytaj

Strona: 13 - 48

Publikacja w numerze: 38 (2018) nr 1

Autor: Stefan Heid


Our picture of Christian community development in the first three centuries is still dominated by the idea of the so-called house churches. In this view, the mission of the apostles, especially in the cities, had been successful among wealthy citizens: they converted to the new faith and made their city residences available for Christian gatherings. The landlord (pater familias) also became the head of the liturgy. As a result, it had come within the cities to multiple Christian communities and a decentralized building activity. The house church theory thus presupposes a plural Christianity, which builds up from private circles. The article argues that this view is fundamentally vulnerable. It has no basis in the New Testament. The four passages on which Paul allegedly speaks of house churches (Rom 16:5, 1 Cor 16:19, Col 4:15, Phlm 2) have nothing to do with it, because they simply speak about the house community. The entire patristic literature of the first three centuries knows of no house churches. Therefore, it is not surprising that in all the cities of antiquity, including Rome, until well into the fourth century, only one place of the Eucharistic celebration can ever be detected (once one ignores the problem of Christian special groups). Historically, therefore, what Ignatius of Antioch establishes at the beginning of the second century is verified: the basic principle of ecclesiology is that in a city there is always only one bishop, one altar and one Eucharistic celebration. There is thus no private, autonomous liturgy of house churches, but only the episcopal liturgy of all the Christians who live in that city.