GPS coordinates: 32.27942, 35.88785
Structure is visible in Google maps.
The principal church is a basilica with three parallel internal apses; it has an atrium at the west end and a chapel against the northwest corner. A mosaic inscription in the middle of the nave gives the dedication to SS. Peter and Paul and the name of the founder, Anastasius, whose name appears also in mosaic inscriptions in the nave and in the north aisle. No date occurs in any of these inscriptions, and as the mosaic at the east end of the nave where dates are generally found has disappeared almost completely,
Most of the area enclosed within the atrium was under cultivation, and this portion of the edifice had evidently been much destroyed by secondary buildings. The only evidence of a colonnade was found at the west end of the church, where there were two column bases on a stylobate and four damaged Ionic capitals. Traces of a pavement of square and octagonal blocks appeared in front of the central door into the church; bits of mosaics were found to the south. It is uncertain how the portico should be restored, and the arrangement suggested on the plan is to be received with reserve. The wall on the north side had two doors, a small one near the colonnade and farther west a larger one flanked by two niches, which was the principal entrance to the whole precinct. A passage at the southwest angle of the atrium leads to a cave under the city wall.
From east to west the external measurement of the church is 31.80 m. The north aisle is slightly wider than the south aisle and measures about 3.75 m. on average. The nave, measured from column base to column base, is exactly twice this. The intercolumniations vary slightly but average rather less than 2 m.
Except at the east and west ends, not more than three courses of the walls remain, varying in thickness between 0.80 and 0.90 m. Inside the walls were plastered, except in the chancel, and some painted floral designs were found. There were three doors at the west end, a door on the south side, and a door on the north leading into the chapel. No traces of molded jambs to the doors came to light, but the lintel of the central door at the west end, an old architrave now in three fragments, is still lying there. It was impossible to determine whether the door on the south side opened on a porch or on a small room, as only the foundation courses remained.
There. were eight columns carrying arcades on either side of the nave and two responds. The bases of the columns were in position, but they vary in height and section, as do the drums which had evidently been made for other bases. Of the eleven capitals which remain, nine are of orthodox second or third century Corinthian pattern. The tenth, found near the east end, has a large calathus, fine twisted cauliculi, an enriched abacus, and fleurons decorated with naturalistic flowers. The eleventh, found near the west end, is an interesting example of earlier work, with well-spaced acanthus leaves, heavy twisted cauliculi, a bust, and a plain but well-profiled abacus.BB One fine pilaster capital of good second-century work, with an enriched abacus, came from a respond at the east end. A number of voussoirs from the arch of triumph were found in the chancel. Both the nave and the aisles were paved with mosaics.
The church ended in three internal apses and the chancel in front of them differed in plan from those previously described. The chancel rail enclosed rather less than one bay in each aisle and the two easternmost bays in the nave, but in the central portion the rail ran inside the lateral arcades and was not continued up to the east wall, so there was no division between the three sections. The fittings of the chancel were better preserved here than in any other church. Two panels and two posts of the screen, all of limestone, were still in position across the south aisle, and across the north aisle there were the stumps of three posts and three panels made out of some shale-like material. A doorway led from the chancel into the nave in front of the altar, but there were none leading into the aisles. Thus the chancel, although it has three. apses, was not designed for the “entrances” according to the modern use. At the north and southwest corners of the rail there were sockets for the legs of tables.
The chancel was originally paved throughout with stone slabs, but no pattern can be distinguished except a circle surrounded by four octagons in the middle of the north chamber. The wall of the central apse, which was revetted with limestone or marble., is surrounded by a double range of seats increased to three in the center. Above the raised section there is a cross in a circle carved in relief, standing on a conventional Calvary. Immediately in front is a reliquary formed of a square block fixed in the floor. The top of it is recessed to carry a lid and contains three rectangular cavities. On the north face. of the block is a fragment of marble revetment, but there is no trace of the altar, which probably stood west of the reliquary where the stone paving is interrupted.
The remains of a large ambo with at least three steps were found in front of the chancel on the south side. Two pierced stone panels which were found nearby, may have belonged to it.
The chapel on the north side is of the usual type. It was entered through an anteroom by doors in the west end of the north aisle and the west walk of the atrium. It had a chancel of the usual type with a screen. There was a niche in the middle of the apse. The floor was paved with stone and marble fragments. Several molded blocks belonging to the string course which marked the spring of the apse semidome were found.
Carl H. Kraeling, Gerasa, City of the Decapolis; an Account Embodying the Record of a Joint Excavation Conducted by Yale University and the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (1928-1930), and Yale University and the American Schools of Oriental Research (1930-1931, 1933-1934) (New Haven, Conn.: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1938), 251–54.
The date of the founding can only be determined by internal evidence. The ground plan, the three apses, and the size of the chancel, are like those in the church of Procopius (526-527 A. D.). The mosaics, the florid character of the scroll border, the plastic fret and town pictures, connect it even more closely with the church of St. John the Baptist (531 A. D.), and the sketchy drawing of the towns may indicate that it is the later of the two. The miscellaneous character of the architectural detail at the builder’s disposal suggests the same conclusion, and the plain slabs of the screen compare unfavorably with the fragments of screen slabs in Procopius’ church. Now Procopius’ church was built when Paul was bishop of Gerasa, and he was still bishop in 533 A. D. when SS. Cosmas and Damianus was constructed. It seems likely, therefore., that Anastasius, the builder of SS. Peter and Paul’s, may have been Paul’s successor, and the date of this church about 540 A. D.
In later times, before its abandonment and after the mutilation of the mosaics, the floor of the church was repaired, partly with plain tesserae, partly with gray cement. At this time a low seat was built against the west wall. Still later the atrium was put to secular uses. The three doors in the west wall were blocked up–those at the sides with squared stones, that in the middle with column drums and miscellaneous blocks-and secondary walls were built across the east walk. Both in the atrium and in the northwest chapel a quantity of domestic objects, both in pottery and metal, were found. The finds included two Arabic coins of the eighth century.
Carl H. Kraeling, Gerasa, City of the Decapolis; an Account Embodying the Record of a Joint Excavation Conducted by Yale University and the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (1928-1930), and Yale University and the American Schools of Oriental Research (1930-1931, 1933-1934) (New Haven, Conn.: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1938), 251, 254.
Browning, Iain. Jerash and the Decapolis. London: Chatto & Windus, 1982.
Crowfoot, J. W. Churches at Jerash: A Preliminary Report of the Joint Yale-British School Expeditions to Jerash, 1928-1930. British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Supplementary Papers 3. London: British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1932.
———. “Jerash, 1929. Progress Report, 16th March to 4th April.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 61, no. 3 (1929): 179–82. https://doi.org/10.1179/peq.19184.108.40.206.
———. “The Churches of Gerasa, 1928, 1929.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 62, no. 1 (1930): 32–42. https://doi.org/10.1179/peq.19220.127.116.11.
Kraeling, Carl H. Gerasa, City of the Decapolis; an Account Embodying the Record of a Joint Excavation Conducted by Yale University and the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (1928-1930), and Yale University and the American Schools of Oriental Research (1930-1931, 1933-1934). New Haven, Conn.: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1938.
- Reliquary in chancel
- Ambo on the south
- The aisles and nave were paved in mosaics.
- The chancel was originally paved throughout with stone slabs, but no pattern can be distinguished except a circle surrounded by four octagons in the middle of the north chamber.
- Three west entrances
- South entrance
- North entrance to ante room of north chapel (diakonikon?)
- Attached south room to the west??
- Attached north chapel to the west
- Protruding apse
- Entrances from the east on either side of the apse
- Π-shaped chancel
- Multiple entrances on all sides
- Ambo on the south
- Exterior chapel to the north
- Π-shaped chancel
- Inscribed mono-apsidal
- Rooms on both sides of the apse
- West entrance
- Ambo on south
- Baptistry in room south of the apse or in the south aisle
- Separate south chapel
- South entrances from side rooms/chapels
- Τ-shaped or bar-shaped chancel
- Tri-apsidal usually inscribed
- Altars in the side apses
- Relics and Reliquaries
- Ambo to the north
- Baptistry outside off the atrium or the north aisle
- Marble furnishings (high status imperial association) and imported fine wares
- Decorative elements on chancel screens [specify]
- Separate north chapel
Syrian to Roman conversion
- Τ-shaped or bar-shaped chancel replacing Π-shaped chancel
- Side apses inserted into rooms adjacent to the main apse
- Separate north chapel (suppressed south chapel)
- Liturgical furniture with decorative motifs like those at St. Clemente in Rome
or bar-shaped chancel
- Tri-apsidal usually inscribed
Altars in the side apses
- Relics and Reliquaries
- Ambo to the
northsouth (as in other churches at Gerasa) Baptistry outside off the atrium or the north aisle Marble furnishings (high status imperial association) and imported fine wares
- Decorative elements on chancel screens [specify]: Two panels and two posts of the screen, all of limestone, were still in position across the south aisle, and across the north aisle there were the stumps of three posts and three panels made out of some shale-like material. A doorway led from the chancel into the nave in front of the altar, but there were none leading into the aisles.