Center of Christianity in the Heart of Islam

As I mentioned before, I have been learning about Ancient and Medieval Church history from the Covenant Theological Seminary.  What has been so interesting to me is that Turkey is a real center for Christianity.

Paul spoke to the Ephesians in Ephesus (and his letter is in our bible now.)  He also travelled to many other cities such as Perge, Derbe, Lystra, Antioch. John died in Ephesus.  Peter built the first Christian church there in Antioch.  Philip lived in Heirapolis, and was killed with him family there.

Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople, later named Byzantium, later named Istanbul.  The Council of Nicea was in Turkey (and is now known as Iznik, between Bursa and Istanbul).  As I previously mentioned Montanus lived in Turkey; Tertullian, author of the Trinity doctrine, spent time in Turkey and was a follower of Montanus.  In short, Turkey was overwhelmingly Christian, and often was more important than Rome in influencing the direction of Christianity.  Many of the greatest christian theologians either spent a great deal of time in Turkey, or were born there.  Christianity was declared as the official religion in 380, during the reign of Theodosius I, and destruction of pagan temples was legalized.

Gradually, Christianity in Turkey disintegrated, so that when the Islamic Ottomans finally conquered the Byzantine Empire in 1453, it was inevitable that what had been a predominantly Christian region would be no more.  In 1900, Turkey had a population that was 22% Christian.  Today it is about 0.3%.

How could such an important center of Christianity change so radically?


6 comments on “Center of Christianity in the Heart of Islam

  1. Interesting. Do you think you could post the links to these articles?

  2. As I mentioned before, Covenant Theological Seminary is what I’ve been listening to. Their website is http://www.covenantseminary.edu/

    You can download their podcasts with iTunes for free. Ancient and Medieval Church History is what I’ve been listening to. I don’t have a nice short website to visit. I have been listening to a semester’s worth of classes (so about 20 out of 30 hours so far) so there is nothing concise.

    However, this one is pretty cool.


  3. Interesting post. Just goes to show how after many years, everything changes. In ways we never expect and sometimes cannot fathom. History is our teacher. Do you think we are learning?

  4. Solzeye,

    Your comment brings to mind the prophecy that SLC will be one of the most wicked cities in the last days. Most mormons will probably have a hard time believing that what happened in Turkey could happen here too.

  5. Do know the reference to the SLC prophecy. I have heard that one before too. I think the disitegration of Chistianity in Turkey was due to the same reasons it disintegrated in the Americas as detailed in the BOM.

  6. I found one here, and it references

    — Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor in the First Presidency, May 1868, in Deseret News, 23 May 1931; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1930, p. 58-59

    I’m not sure the reasons are quite the same as in the BOM. Perhaps it could be considered that way. It seems that Muhammad and his armies were quite effective.

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