Archeologists have unearthed remains of a church in an ancient city in the Mediterranean province of Isparta, head of the team said on Monday.
Associate Professor Mehmet Ozhanli, the head of Suleyman Demirel University's Archeology Department who heads excavations in the ancient city of Pisidian Antioch, said they had discovered remains of a church during their excavations.
"We have found the remains of a three-nave church one and a half meters below the surface," Ozhanli told AA correspondent.
Ozhanli said the building was constructed as a Pagan temple, however it was converted to a church after the spread of Christianity.
"This is the fifth church we have brought to daylight in this ancient city," Ozhanli said.
Ozhanli said this recently found church was also below the Men Temple, and the number of churches in the area rose to six.
"This indicates that this area was an important center for Christianity, and it was the capital of Pisidia," Ozhanli said.
Pisidian Antioch (also called Antioch-of-Pisidia) was a major Roman colony that was visited by St. Paul on his First Missionary Journey. Pisidian Antioch marked an important turning point in Paul's ministry, as the city became the first to have a fully Gentile Christian community.
Situated on the southern foothills of the Sultan Mountains, Pisidian Antioch was spread over seven small hills in a manner reminiscent of Rome. The city was founded in the early 3rd century BC by the Seleucid dynasty.
It was one of 15 different cities named "Antioch" after several members of the family with the name Antiochus. The original settlers of the new Hellenistic city came from Magnesia on the Meander, a town near the Aegean coast.
The inhabitants of Antioch at this time were a mixture of Roman veterans and their families, descendents of the earlier Hellenistic settlers, and people of Phrygian and Pisidian background. Several of the Romans from Antioch became members of the Senate.
Around 50 AD, Paul and Barnabas visited the city and established a Christian community. The city continued to prosper in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and in 295 AD it became the capital of Pisidia, a new province created by Diocletian. The theater was enlarged and anew agora and porticoes were built.
Antioch was the seat of the bishops of Pisidia, including Bishop Optimus who attended the Council of Constantinople in 381. There is no evidence of any churches before the 4th century, and Christians were actively persecuted under the governor of Pisidia in the early 4th century, Valerius Diogenes. But by the end of the 4th century, when persecuted had ceased, Antioch had between one and three church buildings.
Archaeological interest in Pisidian Antioch has been ongoing since its re-discovery in 1833 by British Chaplain F.V.J. Arundell.
Turkey's president accused Europe of not doing its part to help share burden of refugees
Two British journalists were detained by Turkish security forces for allegedly having links to 'terrorist organization'
Turkish embassy in South Africa uses Victory Day celebrations in Pretoria to showcase country’s defense industry
Gut-wrenching photo of drowned Syrian boy washed up on beach in southern Turkey moves Turkish dailies Thursday
Two police injured and a third is in critical condition after they were attacked by a rocket in eastern Turkey
National Security Council statement calls for safety zone to resolve refugee crisis
General Assembly to hold extraordinary session Thursday to discuss motion to extend military mandate in Iraq and Syria
Turkish dailies cover police raid on Koza Ipek Holding, suspected of providing financial support to 'Gulenist Terror Organization'
Two F-16 jets destroyed PKK firing positions in area after one soldier was killed and two were wounded
Turkey and Iraq have launched a joint investigation to examine those responsible for the kidnap of 18 workers from Baghdad
Members of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is designated as a terrorist group, are believed to be behind the attack
Agency provides assistance to poor, victims of disasters, refugees from Syria whose numbers have swelled to about 2.5 million
EU calls for 'independent and transparent investigation' on two British journalists
Tuesday's dailies mainly cover the new rewards offered to those in Turkey who provide information regarding terrorists
An operation is currently underway with police raiding Koza-Ipek, a business that has close tiled to US based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
'Turkey, in terms of combating ISIL and dealing with the inflow of Syria refugees, has been above and beyond what we might expect,” says State Dept.