Church of Laodicea, Turkey

Church of Laodicea

The ancient city of Laodicea, located in the Aegean region of Western Turkey, is a very important ancient city. It is only a 15-minute drive from the more known Pamukkale-Hierapolis area.

From 5500 BC Bronze Age until the 7th Century AD, there is a continuous settlement Laodicea. Hellenistic Laodicea was founded by II. King of Seleucid Antiochus in the 3rd century BC on behalf of his wife Laodicea. Other than that, Laos means society and dikos means justice in Greek. Together, it means the City of Justice. This is the old Diopolis. In 130 BC, like Ephesus and other cities, it was converted to Roman rule.

Most of the artifacts in the city today belong to the Roman period. It is one of the rare ancient cities with two theaters. Besides, the biggest ancient stadium in Anatolia is Laodicea (285m x 70m). There are 4 Baths, 5 Agoras, 5 Monumental Fountains, 2 Monumental entrance doors, Bouleterion, temples, ancient houses, latrines and many churches. As it is known, Laodicea is one of the seven churches that Saint John founded.

Laodicea was a rich city at that time. It traded with both Africa, Asia and Europe. They were sending their products to the world from Ephesus Port. Their two most important products were Black Colored Wool and Eye Drops. The most common diseases in ancient times were eye and tooth diseases. In the Bozdag region, they produced a melamine containing antimony substance from the flowing river. This was the best treatment of the eye disease at that time.

We mentioned the existence of many churches in Laodicea. The most important of these was the Holy Pilgrimage Church built in the 4th century AD. Because Laodicea was also a pilgrimage city. People were coming here to be pilgrims. Recently, one of the most important achievements of Turkish archaeologists in Laodicea was to expose this church and restore it in a wonderful way.

The church of Laodicea has 11 apse. One of them is on the East side, five of them are on the North side and other five are on the South side. It is located on the road leading to Northern Theater with Syria Street. Naos is the most sacred area of the church, and there are two Synthoronons covered with travertine, which carry the Domes. Again, 10 Columns, Prothesis, Diakonikon, Ambon, Bema are located here.

There were two doors to the church. One of them is located in the North and the other is in the South. North and South Nuts are decorated with geometric and plant motif mosaics that can be seen even today. Middle Nef is covered with marble. The baptistery is decorated with a cross and has a baptism pool. Today you can see the mosaics through the special glass terrace inside the church.

This Church also hosted a local council which was thought to be organized between 341-381 years. Although it is a local Council, 60 decisions (Law) are very important for Christianity. According to Zonaras and Balsoman, who lived in the 12th century, church fathers from many regions of Asia Province met in this meeting. At the meeting, decisions were taken which influenced the Christian world and at the same time the Ecumenical, which was universally accepted by all churches, and played a decisive role in the councils. As mentioned above, Laodicea is also one of the 7 churches. One of the letters written to these 7 churches in the book of Revelation was written in this city. Below you can read the letter that St John the Apostle and the Evangelist wrote to the Laodicea community and church.

Revelation 3:14-22 

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

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