Thyatira

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The city Thyatira is one of the seven city addressed in The Revelation of Jesus Christ to St. John. Thyatira was located in western Asia Minor in the province of Lydia, in the general area through which the Apostle Paul conducted his missionary journeys. The name ‘’Thyatira’’ means “the castle of Thya”. Thyatira was also the home town of St. Lydia of Thyatira.

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History

The town of Thyatira was the re-foundation of a small settlement on the Lycus River by Selucus Nicator early in the third century before Christ. The Thyatira is located in the northern part of the Lydia in what would become the Roman province of Asia. On the trade routes of western Anatolia, the town developed into a commercial trade center in the valley of the Lycus. In earlier times the town was considered a pagan holy place, with temples dedicated to the Lydian sun-god Tyrimnos and, later, to Sambethe. Some have associated the Sambethe temple with Jezebel the prophetess mentioned in Rev 2:20.

At the start of the Christian era, Thyatira was noted for its strong trade guilds that were closely connected to the pagan religions of the area, religions that involved pagan customs and associations with immoral practices. Among the guilds the dyers guild was one of the stronger ones. It may have been this guild that Lydia of Thyatira, “as a seller of purple” mentioned in Acts 16:14, was a member before leaving for Philippi. The nature of these guilds was such that they greatly opposed Christianity and stressed conformity to paganism. Yet, even though the “prophetess” Jezebel may have tried to beguile members of the church in Thyatira her success seemed minimal as the Christians of the seven cities, which includes Thyatira, are greeted gracefully by John (Rev 1:4).

Today

Nothing of the ancient city of Thyatira remains in the Republic of Turkey. Near the Turkish city of Akhisar the ruins of a Byzantine church bear witness to the presence of the gospel in this area. Nearby are the ruins of a castle, probably the castle for which Thyatira and Akhisar were named. In Turkish Akhisar means “white castle”.


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