Into Turkey– Part Thirty One

Into Turkey– Part Thirty One December 17, 2022

There is really virtually nothing to see in Konya of direct relevance to the study of the NT, though nearby you can go to a caravanserai and see the whirling dervishes, which is fascinating.  Instead of doing that on this trip we went and visited perhaps the oldest church in all of Turkey, and one founded by Queen Helena, on her way from Constantinople to build churches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem…. The church is in the charming little village of Sille just north of Konya, and this church was continuously operating into the twentieth century and is quite beautiful and well worth the visit.

People originally lived in caves in this area…

Here are some homes from the early twentieth century or before.

And there are endless shops…

And a pretty stream runs right through the middle of the main street

When we go up to one of the high points of the town, you find the church which has a crusader outside.  This was a Greek Orthodox church. But what happened was, in the negotiations in the 20s between Turkey and Greece (some of their differences still haven’t been settled with both Greece and Turkey claiming Cyprus) the agreement involved deporting all the Greeks from Turkey back to Greece, and all the Turkeys living in Greece (no matter how long) back to Turkey.   The end result was that almost overnight all the Greek Orthodox Churches in Turkey ceased to function.  It wasn’t due to persecution, it was due to political agreements.

Here’s God the Father with his Trinity symbol on his head, and below Christ and St. John the Baptist, who in the Orthodox tradition is a Christian saint…

The archangel Michael, Mary and the baby Jesus

Below is a reading table from which the Scriptures would be proclaimed with images of Jeremiah on the right and Isaiah on the left.

An altar cloth left behind.

The ride to Perga, Aspendos, and Antalya is long, a good three hours minimum, watching trucks pass us with all sorts of produce and also along the way we saw a big volcano and stopped at a caravanserai.

Just as a reminder a caravanserai is a place where caravans moving along the spice road would stop for the night, feed their camels, and eat a good meal….  This one is a big one…

There is an outer court for the animals, and inner court for the people and the eatery.

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