biblical history of turkey

Biblical History of Turkey

What was Turkey in the Bible and Biblical History

Biblical History in Turkey is more connected than most people think! The first thing coming to mind when we think about Christian historical places usually in Israel.  Considered to be the Holy Land because it was where Jesus lived and died, before him it was the land of Abraham, also the promised land conquered by Joshua.

When Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians and the temple destroyed in 586 BC, many Jews were dispersed outside of Israel during the Jewish diaspora.

Later Asia Minor/Anatolia (now Turkey) became home to numerous Jewish communities. A Hellenistic kingdom called the Seleucids settled 2000 Jewish families in Phyrigia and Lydia in 240 BC. Paul’s family was probably settled in Tarsus.

A circular letter sent by consul Lucius recorded in 1 Maccabees 15:16-24, mentions numerous communities in Asla Minör ( How Turkey is mentioned in the Bible)  with Jewish people. Although the archaeological remains of the three synagogues found in Turkey – Sardis, Prime, Andriace– all date after the 4c AD, after synagogues are known from the literary evidence.

 

Sardis church is one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse

Sardis church is one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse

Another book of the bible mentions Turkey with the name of Adramyttium, the book is:  Acts 27:2

“We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.”

Within two decades after Jesus, the gospel spread northward to Antioch, a city located in southeastern Turkey. Here the believers were first called Christians. For the rest of the first century, the land of Turkey became the center for the growing Christian movement

The three great apostles – Paul, Peter, John– are all linked with churches in Asia Minor ( currently Turkey). As we look at the Bible, there are a number of references to Anatolian regions and cities in the Old Testament and Apocrypha, and two-thirds of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament were either written to or from Asia Minor.

Because of this area’s strategic geographical role in the early church history, it is not an exaggeration to call Turkey ‘the Holy Land of Asian Minor’s as Frank Clark did in the title of his book on the Seven Churches. You can also check Private Biblical Seven Churches of Turkey Tour in 5 Days 

Seven Churches of Revelation Biblical History

Seven Churches of Revelation

A good example of how Turkey is a great place to understand well Christianity in the early stages is one of Istanbul greatest historical marks Hagia Sophia, was initially a church, and during the Ottoman Empire the Iconic Hagia Sophia Turns Into a Mosque, currently, Hagia Sophia is turned to a mosque after decades of being a museum, the decision was made last year by the president and with the support of the Muslim community.

Hagia Sophia by Engin Akyurt - Unsplash

Hagia Sophia was initially a church before turned into a Mosque.

Another important center for early Christianity in Ephesus one of the Most Important Archaeological Sites in Turkey In apostolic times, Ephesus was one of the cities of the Roman Empire where Christianity was most widespread Paul of Tarsus and John the Evangelist preached in the city.

Now that you know how Turkey was called in the bible, you will be happy to know that although Turkey is a predominant Muslim nowadays, no matter your religion you will very much welcome and will be able to check out the sightseen related in the bible.

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