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Turkey Sacred Sites Tour
Lecture Series

Pre-recorded — Monday, April 24 at 7:00pm
Eric Huntsman: “The Second Rome: The Beauty and Culture of Byzantium”

No one in Late Antiquity or the Middle Ages called themselves “a Byzantine.” Instead, Byzantine is a relatively modern term used by scholars to differentiate the Greek-speaking, Christian culture of the Eastern Roman Empire from its earlier predecessor. The name comes from the strategically-located Greek colony of Byzantium, which Constantine later made his capital, expanding it in A.D. 324 and renaming it after himself as Constantinople. Until the city’s fall in 1453, and even beyond during the centuries of Ottoman Turkish occupation, its inhabitants still called themselves Rhomaioi or “Romans,” but it was a new, unique Christian culture. Just as Constantinople literally bridged Europe and Asia, Byzantium combined the west and the east, producing a rich culture that produced stunning architecture, mosaics, other art, and a deep spirituality that still persists in Eastern Orthodoxy.


Monday, May 8 at 7:30pm
Christine Isom-Verhaaren: “Lord of the Two Lands and the Two Seas”

The Ottomans expanded from a small polity in Western Anatolia to rule an empire that included lands in Anatolia, the Balkans, and across North Africa. Their empire lasted for 600 years and has left a lasting impact throughout the region. Their capital, Istanbul remains one of the great cities of the world with a skyline characterized by the domes and minarets of the exquisite mosques built through the patronage of members of the dynasty including the Princess Mihrimah, daughter of Suleyman the Magnificent.


Monday, May 22 at 7:30pm
Kristine Frederickson: “Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World”

In his short 3-year public ministry, Jesus Christ worked assiduously to elevate the status of women, improve the circumstances in which they lived, and open their hearts and minds to embrace an eternal salvific perspective on life. The status of women in the ancient Mediterranean world informs the Messiah’s liberatory actions toward them, their discipleship, and their continuing role in His Church after His death. In this lecture, these conditions will be explored in the context of Jewish, Greco-Roman, and Hellenistic beliefs regarding women.


Tuesday, August 29 at 7:00pm
Dan Peterson: “When the Bishops Took Charge: The Council of Nicea and Its Sisters”

With the passing of the general authorities of the ancient Church (the apostles), local authorities (bishops) and eventually emperors felt obliged to step into the leadership vacuum. Lacking organized quorums, they convened councils, which functioned rather like political conventions. All of the seven “ecumenical councils” of ancient Christendom met in what is today Turkey. In the absence of revelation, the debates and the voting in these councils drew on scripture mingled with (mostly Middle Platonic) philosophy to define doctrines and enforce unity—with results that continue until our day.


Monday, September 11 at 7:00pm
Kent Jackson: “The Seven Churches of Revelation”

John addressed the book of Revelation to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. The churches were located in seven different cities, each with its own history and each with its own challenges in keeping the Christian faith. This presentation will be a tour of those cities and an examination of John’s messages to them.


Monday, September 18 at 7:00pm
Gaye Strathearn: “Some Insights into the Development of Christianity in Asia Minor”

Modern Turkey was an important seedbed for much of the early growth of the church. Although we always wish for more ancient sources, we have a substantial corpus of material that provides valuable insights into Church formation in the area. This lecture will primarily discuss the first two centuries in Asia Minor focusing on the New Testament Acts and Epistles, but also turning to non-canonical texts (the letters of Ignatius and Pliny, the apocryphal acts of the apostles) and archeology that helps us better appreciate the importance of this region. In doing so we will include brief discussions on issues such as Jewish/Gentile interactions, early Christian use of house churches, the role of women in the early church, and the development of Christian identity.

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