Daily Archives: April 12, 2011

Antioch of Syria, or is that Turkey?

Antioch of Syria on the Orontes River was founded by Seleucus I Nicator in 300 B.C. Antioch became a Roman city in 64 B.C. and capital of the new province of Syria. It became the third largest city of the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria.

After Jerusalem, Antioch was the second great center of Christianity in New Testament times and where the disciples of Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3; 14:26-28; 15:1-41; 18:22-23; Gal. 2).

Antioch is now called Antakya and is part of the HatayProvince of Turkey, but is near the border with Syria. The area became part of Turkey in 1939.

The photo below was made from the bridge crossing the Orontes River with a view east toward Mount Silipius. Click on the photo for an image suitable for use in presentations.

Antakya, Turkey. Antioch of Syria of the New Testament. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View east toward Mount Silpius from the Orontes River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A church called the Cave Church of St. Peter honors Peter’s visit to the city (Gal. 2). This is a late Roman Catholic addition to the city, having become a Catholic church in 1946. Not the best choice, I think. Peter’s association with Antioch did not turn out too well. At first he ate with the new Gentile converts, but under pressure from James of Jerusalem played the hypocrite and withdrew from the Gentiles.

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (Galatians 2:11-13 ESV)

I suggest you read Galatians 1 and 2, for a more complete account of this event.

From here the great journeys of Paul to take the Gospel to the Gentile world began (Acts 13:1-2).