Biblical Turkey Guide
The city of brotherly love, Philedelphia, was founded by Pergamon king Attalos II for his brother Eumenes. Attalos wanted his new city to become the center of the Greco- Roman Civilization. After being annexed to the Roman Empire, the city was a strong ally of Romans who often changed the name of the city during the time of certain Emperors helping to the city. Philadelphia stayed always faithful to Christian Faith till end of its history. Since it was a famous city for its grape production; naturally, the most important divinity was the god of Vine, Bachus. After the great earthquake of 17 AD, the city was rebuilt with the help of Emperor Tiberius who changed the name of the town to Neo-Caeseria. Ancient writer Strabo who visited the area wrote that the city suffered from so many earthquakes, so people of Philedelphia lived in their farm houses in the countryside. During the time of emperor Vespasianus, the city was named after the Empress name, Flavia.
Attalos II, the king of Pergamon, established the city on the flanks of Tmolus mountain and by the Alasehir River for his brother Eumenes and naned it Philedephia, the city of brotherly love. His aim was to spread the Greek Culture and language towards the east. So Philedelphia was the city of a mission. After the death of Attalos III who left his kingdom to the Romans, Phileselphia became a Roman city.
The city was famous because of wineyards and its wine production. Dyonisus, the God of Wine was the most important divinity of the city and god's figure appeared on the all Hellenictic and Roman coins.
The city was destroyed by several earthquakes and the ones in 17. AD and 23 AD were the strongest. Geographer Strabo who wrote the year 20 AD mentioned that the city was being shaken by many earthquakes and mant Philedephian houses were destroyed beause of these terrible eartquakes. Strabo also mentions that Philedeplhians who were very afraid lived in small huts instead of their homes.
The city received Imperial help after the major eartquake of 17 AD. Emperor Tiberius helped to reconstruction of the city. After the help of the emperor, the city was called Neo Caeseria.
During the rule of Vespasianus (70/79), the city was named after the wife of the empeoror and called "Flavia".
During the Roman cetuires, Philedephia became a great center of education and culture and for a while it was called little Athens.
There is no mention of the first establismet of the Philedelphian Church. Acconding to tradition, the church in Philedephia was either established by Lucius, the relative of Paul or by Demetrius sent by Saint John. Like Symyina church, Philedelphia stands out because of its faitfullness. Although Both churches were poor and weak and they suffered from the Jews but they were full of life and vigor.
Some historical notes and events related to Philedelphia
105 AD. Saint Ignatius wrote a letter to bishop of Philedelphia prasing him/
His silence is more effective than words of the people who spoke with the vain words"
In the third century AD. like Thyatira, Philedelphia was one of the strongholds of Montanist heresy. and one of the principal tenets of Montanist heresy was the Promised new Jerusalem would descend and be established in the vicinity of New Jerusalem.
325 Philedephians take part in the E Council of Nicea.
421 Philedelphia sent its bishop to Ephesus.
Phildephia was the home town of four Byzantine Emperors from Angelos family. During the 12 and 13 centuries
12. century, Seljuk Turks under the Malik tried to capture the city, but they failed.
German Emperor Frederic Barbarossa visited Philedelphia and stayed few days during the third crusade.
1176. After the fierce battle between the Selcuk, arrival of Crusaders.
1204 When Contantinople fell into hands of 4. Crusade, Philedelphia stayed as center of major feodal power and a local kingdom was established there .
Despite of permennat attack from growing Ottoman state, Philedelphia stayed under the Byzantine hands till end of the 14th century
1304 Turkish siege was broken by the Catalan Grand Company
1390 Ottomans captures Philedephia which was the last Byzantine city to be captured.
1401 During the devestation of Asia Minor by Tamerlane, the king of Mongols, Philedelphia was attacked and many Christians fled to Venice where there is colony of 4000 inhabitants..
The city stayed faitfull till end. Philedelphians defended their city heroicly all these centuries. It was the last city captured by Ottomans. this followed the fact Philedelhia was the strongest of the 7 churches. There is nothing bad to say agauint this church.
In 1671 Thomas Smith visited the city. He mentioned the existence of 4 active churches. But he said that many churched had been converted into mosques and the church of Saint John was turned into a dump where offals of slaugtered animals were thrown.
Few years later, Paul Rycaut visiting the city mentions that there were 12 churches in Philedelhia.
In 1785 a Euroean visitor to the city mentions the local skill in dyeing tecniques which was considered as best in the whole country.
In 1826 there were 3000 Muslim and 300 Christian families.
From 17th century onward, travellers visiting Philedelhia repetedly mentions the city wall contructed with the bones of Christians martried by Bayazid in the vicinity of Saint John Church.
1860 Norof mentioned 5 active churches.
st. George, the nativity of the virgin, st Theodore, Micheal, Marina and two churches were in ruins Saint John and Naum the Prophet.
1922 there were no Christians living in Philedelphia since 1922.
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