We woke up yesterday in the old pre-Istanbul Ottoman capital city of Bursa and, after a brief drive through the older part of the city (it didn’t even remotely begin to do justice to the place, but there is only so much that one can do), drove to Iznik, the ancient Greek Nicaea or Nikaia. En route, I lectured on the seven ecumenical councils of the ancient Christian church. A good snooze was had by all.
We looked at the ancient walls of the city, including the marvelous three-part Istanbul gate, and walked over to where Constantine’s summer palace probably stood. This is the place where the famous First Council of Nicea was convened in AD 325, and where Athanasius distinguished himself in the battle against Arianism and in defense of what became Trinitarian orthodoxy. Then, after walking through the town, we visited the Church of Haghia Sophia (the local one), where the last of the seven ecumenical councils, the Second Council of Nicea, ended the iconoclastic controversy in AD 787. After another terrific but, yet again, awfully big Turkish lunch, we continued our several-hour drive toward Istanbul, and I continued to drone on and on about the councils.
After arriving at our hotel (partially via a ferry ride on the Sea of Marmara), we had a final meeting of our group in which everybody gave impressions of the trip and reflections about it, and then we had yet another fabulous but awfully huge dinner.
Pictures to follow. I’m in a hurry right now. (Must eat breakfast!) We’re headed out in a few minutes for a cruise on the Bosphorus, and etc.
Posted from Istanbul, Turkey.