Leaving Cappadocia, the pilgrims made our way into the land where the apostle Paul brought the Gospel to Asia Minor. Along the way, we stopped at Zelve, a spectacular series of ancient churches carved out of the rock at the bottom of a stunning, deep, and narrow canyon.
Christians worshiped in these churches for over fifteen hundred years, from the fifth to the beginning of the twentieth century. The religious who prayed the Divine Office at the Direkli monastery enjoyed a breathtaking setting and a safe place from raiders over the centuries.
On to Konya, a modern city built over the lost remains of ancient Iconium.
The Apostle Paul memorably preached the Gospel in Iconium and Antioch of Pisidia during his first missionary journey. The ruins at Pisidia Antioch are impressive. We followed Paul’s footsteps up the ancient Roman roads and gathered around the remains of the church built over the synagogue where Paul shared the Good News of Christ. It was powerful to hear the story told in Acts 13.
Luke recounts in Acts that the message of Christ was so powerful that the second time Paul preached in the synagogue, ‘all Antioch’ turned out to hear about Jesus. Some of the Jews were so upset that they stirred up the authorities and drove Paul and Barnabus out of town.
We spent a good part of the afternoon driving through beautiful, orchard-filled valleys to the remains of Biblical Colossae. The site is not yet excavated, but we were thrilled to stand on that ground and read portions of The Letter to the Colossians. We hiked to the top of the hill under which the remains of Colossae lie, and beheld an amazing sunset over the Lycus Valley.We arrived late at the lovely Colossae Hotel in Pammukake for a late but delicious dinner.
First Photo: Direkli Monastery Zelve
Second Photo: Antioch