TURKEY Between Two Worlds






A Macedonian colony was established in Thyatria (Strabo, XIII, 4). The Greek deities especially worshipped in Thyatria including Asclepias, Dionysus, Artemis, and above all Apollo, in whose honor athletic games were instituted.



Thyatira became an early center of Christianity. The apostle Paul visited the city on a number of occasions during his missionary travels. Lydia, the woman converted by St. Paul at Philippi, was from Thyatira (Acts 16:13-15), and the church at Thyatira was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 2:18-29).




The Emperor Vespasian began great undertakings at Thyatira; it was also visited by Hadrian in the year 123, and by Caracalla in 215


We know from testimony given by St. Epiphanius that at the beginning of the third century almost all Thyatira was Christianized. A bishop of Thyatira attended the Council of Nicea in 325 and the Council of Ephesus in 431.



The bishopric of Thyatira was subject to that of Sardis as late as the 10th century; it is not known when it disappeared. In the Middle Ages the Turks changed the name of Thyatira to that of Ak-Hissar (the White Fortress), which it still bears.



Thyatira, modern Akhisar, is located 67 km inland from the Aegean Sea. It is the fourth of the seven churches addressed by John (Revelation 2:1829).


Although an important city in its own right, at times it protected Sardis 59 km, to the south, from Pergamum 75 km to the northwest - and at other times it was controlled by the rulers of Pergamum to protect the southeastern approach to their city



Near the center of Akhisar, visible archaeological remains are located in a fenced off rectangular city block. From coins it is evident that guilds of bakers, bronze smiths, wool workers, potters, linen weavers and tanners were active in the city. Such guilds would often hold banquets that included the eating of food offered to idols and participation in immoral sexual acts (cf. Rev. 2:2024).

Lydia, converted by Paul in Philippi, was a dealer in purple cloth from Thyatira (Acts 16:1115). Evidently the purple used to dye the cloth was from the local "madder" plant, and not from the murex shellfish from Phoenicia.









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