Unfortunately, most of the Philadelphia ancient city remains under the modern settlement called Alaşehir today. In the Roman Period, Philadelphia was called “Little Athens” due to the abundance of temples and festivals held in the city. One of the most magnificent monuments of the city today is the Church of St. John, of which only three parts have been preserved. This basilica type church, which was built in the 6th century, underwent several repairs through time.
It is accepted that the Philadelphia (Alaşehir today) church was founded by Attalos the Second, the king of Pergamon Kingdom (Bergama today). This ancient city, known as Alaşehir today, had an important place in the world of trade as a crossroads between the western regions and inner regions of Asia Minor.
Saint John Church, built in the name of Saint John the Evangelist is one of the 7 churches belonging to the first ages of Christianity. Only three of the six giant pillars have survived to our time. The 5-meter high fresco apostle portraits of the piers are difficult to see due to irritations caused by time and forces of nature. The colorful painting of a group performing a ritual in front of the Virgin Mary on the pier wall falling to the east is also difficult to distinguish due to irritations.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
Letter to the Church of Philadelphia
I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
This is God’s word.