Cat caught napping amid ancient Church Ruins in Thyatira (Western Turkey) – 2004

In the New Testament Book of Acts, we meet Lydia of Thyatira who was a business woman and a seller of purple. She and her household had moved to Philippi and converted to Christianity after meeting the Apostle Paul. Acts 16:13-15;40. Further along in the Acts, we read of Paul and Silas’ miraculous release from a Philippi prison Acts 16:16-40. They returned to stay with Lydia and her family briefly, before continuing along their journey.

Thyatira was an ancient Greek city and important cloth trade centre famous for its dyeing facilities. Thousands of marine snails were collected and boiled for days in gigantic vats, producing vibrant purple pigment for fabric.

Since apostolic times, Thyatira had been home to a significant Christian church, and was mentioned as one of the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation.

The Christian community continued there until 1922, when the city and surrounding areas were captured by the Turkish army resulting in the deaths and deportations of thousands of Christians. (Most of the deportees also died in harsh conditions.) A church in Thyatira, harbouring about five hundred souls seeking sanctuary, was set on fire. May God rest their souls with the saints!

No operational church or Christian community remains in Thyatira, and the official name for the city changed to Akhisar.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

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