A team of archaeologists during excavations at the site of the ancient city of Priena discovered an ancient church, whose age may be 1600 years.
According to archaeologists, the discovered church is one of the first Christian churches erected at the dawn of Christianity. About this сообщает the Global Orthodox edition with reference to the Daily Sabah.
The head of the team of archaeologists who discovered the church is Ali Altyn from Bursa Uludag University. According to him, the peculiarity of this church is that it was built for mass worship.
Its base is made of stones small in size and decorated with mosaics with geometric motifs. Inside the walls were covered with paintings of a longitudinal nature, which were applied in several layers. This indicates that the church was visited not only at the very beginning of early Christianity, but also up to the beginning of the Byzantine era.
Further investigation demonstrated that the building had a rectangular shape. The church was built on the place where the cemetery had been for many years.
According to archaeologists, representatives of the first Christian community of Prien were engaged in the construction of the church.
Priene is one of the twelve Greek city-states of the Ionian Union, it was founded at the end of the second millennium BC. Archaeologists have been exploring this Asia Minor polis of Hellas since the end of the XIX century. For its unique preservation, the city was named "Pompeii of Anatolia".
In the IV century, Christianity conquered the Anatolian Peninsula and gradually became the official religion. At this time, the Byzantine Empire was being formed here, the first Ecumenical Councils were held, at which the foundations of Christian dogma were laid. In the east of modern Turkey in the IV century, Christianity was adopted by the Armenian population of the western part of Greater Armenia. In the west of the peninsula, the Orthodox Patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch establish their residences.
Since the end of the IV century, after the edict of Emperor Theodosius of 392 on the prohibition of pagan cults, Christians began to actively use former pagan temples and sanctuaries for worship. This practice has developed both in Rome and in the provinces. Researchers believe that the same fate befell many pagan shrines in Priene, including the temple of Pallas Athena, founded by Alexander the Great.
A few years ago, Turkish archaeologists found an early Christian church at the bottom of Lake Iznik in the vicinity of ancient Nicaea, tentatively dated to about 390 AD.