5th century Underground Church Unearthed in Cappadocia, Turkey
A team of archaeologists working for the Nevşehir Castle Urban Transformation Project in Turkey recently unearthed a church in the underground region of Cappadocia, located in Turkey. The church is speculated to be around 1500 years old as it holds wall paintings of the Ascension and the Last Judgment. The paintings depict Jesus's crucifixion and his ascension to heaven. They also have references to the killing of evil souls. The city of Cappadocia on the other hand, was discovered by archaeologists in 2014 and is the home to some of the longest tunnels stretching up to seven kilometers.
Mehmet Ozhanli, the head of the Archaeology Department of the Suleyman Demirel University mentioned that the remains of the church were discovered by the team during an excavation project. He also said that the structure was originally constructed as a Pagan temple, but was turned into a church. As of now, only the upper parts of the structure have been excavated, giving access to only a few paintings. The experts believe that the discovery is likely to play a major role in changing Orthodox history.
Turkey: historic fifth-century church discovered in underground city of Cappadocia https://t.co/4o3A7tURA5
— Marcel, de passage.. (@MacerlTaude) January 28, 2016
This is not the first time that a church has been unearthed in the area. In fact, five more churches have been previously discovered in the same underground city, adding to the significance of the place for Christians. The region is assumed to have been the capital of Pisidia. The archaeological work will however, be paused for a while to ensure that the paintings are not affected by winter humidity. The work will continue in spring, and efforts will be made to restore the structure and clean it up. The restoration work will largely focus on fixing the walls and getting rid of the debris around the building. Once the work is complete, the church might be opened as a pilgrimage center, bringing more attention to the historic city of Cappadocia.
Pisidian Antioch, belonging to the Roman Colony, was the first city to become a Gentile Christian community. The Christian community in the region was formed by Barnabas and Paul in 50 A.D. It was named the capital of Pisidia in 295 A.D.