Seven Churches of Revelation (or Asia, or Apocalypse) are in the Aegean Region in Turkey. According to belief, John the Apostle came to Ephesus with The Virgin Mary who was entrusted to him after Jesus died. Here, John spent most of his time serving Jesus and working at the Ephesus Church.
Pressure exerted on the church was increasing at the times; John was thus exiled to Samos Island, which when looked at from Kuşadası seemed close enough to reach by swimming. During this period, John wrote Revelation, the last part of the holy book. In this chapter, seven churches that stand in Anatolia are discussed, including:
- Efes (Ephesus)
- İzmir (Symrna)
- Eskihisar (Laodicea)
- Alaşehir (Philadelphia)
- Sart (Sardis)
- Akhisar (Thyatira)
- Bergama (Pergamum)
Sections 2-3 of the Revelation have explicit messages for every one of the seven holy messengers of the seven churches. The message of every one of the seven letters is coordinated to the holy messenger of the specific church that is referenced. In the Revelation, holy messengers may be referred not only as angels, but also humans.
The letters in the Book are straightforward for each church: after addressing the church and identifying himself, the Lord shows his knowledge about the church. Then he repeats His reprimand and gives a promise, with an advice: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”. The promise is that, Christ will reward everyone who conquers each church.
Of the seven churches, Ephesus stands in the most important location. The fact that Artemis Temple is here, makes Ephesus important. Moreover, the area reflects the Roman period and Ephesus was the coastal town of that era. Other important places there include The Virgin Mary House and The Virgin Mary Church in Ephesus.
In ancient times, İzmir was valued not just countrywide, but worldwide. The city itself was built according to a specific aesthetic plan, and it boasts extreme natural beauty and a variety of natural structures, along with a healthy trade thanks to its active port. The people of Izmir provided clothing and food to aid the Romans when they were fighting battles in the war of 153 AD. That’s why the wealthy İzmir families, as well as the Christian church, are mentioned as important in the holy book.
Laodicea is an area where ancient stadiums and streets have survived until today, in Denizli. During the Roman Period, Laodicea carried high importance due to its water channels and water towers.
Philadelphia (Alaşehir, Manisa) was praised at the time as a place where Christians were able to keep their faith in Jesus. There are Smyrna and Philadelphia Churches about which nothing bad was written in the letters. In ancient times, the city was famous for its wine and featured many temples and chapels. Because a volcanic mountain stood near Philadelphia, tufa mixed into the soil over time and supposedly increased the region’s fertility.
Sardis (Salihli, Manisa) was established on an area where rich and magnificent structures were built. The city paint, fabric, and jewelry trade was substantial, and it is the city where the first coins in history were minted. Ruins, hammam, and the Artemis Temple are here.
Thyatira (Akhisar, Manisa) was established by the Lydians. Not much was shared about the religious history of Thyatira, but it is known that people who were oppressed because of their religion were not welcome here.
Pergamum (in İzmir, Bergama) has a bright history. In a letter, the city was cited as ‘’the place where the throne of the devil takes place’’. Christians of the time in this region are praised in the book as they did not succumb to religious oppression and thus never gave up their religion. As one of the biggest cities of the region, only Ephesus can compete with Pergamum in terms of size.