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Sunday, November 3, 2013

TURKEY: Discovered cave of the Apostle Paul

 


CAPPADOCIA. – Crossing the country southwards from the birthplace of Aquila towards that of St. Paul, we traverse the wide and varied region which formed the province of Cappadocia, intermediate between Pontus and Cilicia.  The period of its provincial existence began in the reign of Tiberius.
Its last king was Archelaus, the contemporary of the Jewish tetrarch of the same name.

Extending from the frontier of Galatia to the river Euphrates, and bounded on the south by the chain of Taurus, it was the largest province of Asia Minor.  Some of its cities are celebrated in ecclesiastical history.  But, in the New Testament, it is only twice alluded to, once in Acts (Acts 2:9) and once in the Epistles (1 Peter 1:1). From: The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul by W. J. Conybeare and J. S. Howson; People’s Edition (Hartford: The S. S. Scranton Company, 1906), p. 214.  Originally published in 1862.


  


Lystra is located 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the city of Konya. It is in the north of the village of Hatunsaray and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of a small town called Akören. Lystra is the ancient name of the village where Apostle Paul visited. The present name is "Gökyurt" which is a village of the Meram district of Konya. 

There are ancient ruins such as a church with a big cross marked on the wall, a winery, house-like buildings and ruins of a city located over the top of a hill which is locally called "Alusumas" where another church ruin exists. According to locals, the hidden city was constructed over the hill to hide from enemies of ancient Anatolia. This site is still awaiting excavation.

   Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey


Paul preached the gospel in Lystra after persecution drove him from Iconium. Here Paul healed a man lame from birth.The man leaped up and began to walk and thus so impressed the crowd that they took him for Hermes, because he was the "chief speaker," and his companion Barnabas for Zeus. 

The crowd spoke in the local Lycaonian language (Acts 14:11) and wanted to offer sacrifices to them, but Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes and shouted that they were merely men. They used this opportunity to tell the Lystrans of the Creator God. 

Soon, however, through the influence of the Jewish leaders from Antioch, Pisidia and Iconium, they stoned Paul and left him for dead. As the disciples gathered around him, Paul stood on his feet and went back into the town. The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe; but on the return part of their journey, they stopped once more at Lystra, encouraging the disciples there to steadfastness.


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