The history and significance of a Roman colony called Pisidian Antioch is apparent in its mentioning in the Bible, as the colony was visited by a notable figure. Today, visitors come to see the ruins and explore the archeological site. In this article, you will learn more about the significance of this attraction.
According to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul went on three separate missionary quests. Pisidian Antioch (also referred to as Antioch-of-Pisidia) played an important role in the ministry of St. Paul, who visited the region while one his First Missionary Journey. It was here that he encountered what is recognized as a turning point in his ministry. The city became the first to establish a community fully comprised of Gentile Christians.
A Biblical Connection
In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas came to Pisidian Antioch early on in their first missionary journey. Arriving from Cyprus taking a route through Perga, they traveled along the Via Sebaste into the city. On the Sabbath, the pair went to the local synagogue, where they were invited to speak to the members of the congregation. The people took in their message with enthusiasm and on the following Sabbath; it seemed like the entire city gathered to hear them speak. Some converts were made, but the Jews caused issues for the men, and they were driven out of the city. From there, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. When they were on their way back, they stopped by Antioch and gave encouragement to the Christian converts.
History of Pisidian Antioch
Pisidian Antioch was positioned on the southern foothills of the Sultan Mountains , taking space across seven small hills. The history of the city is traced back to the early 3rd century BC during the days of the Seleucid dynasty. It was not the only city named after Antioch at the time. There were 14 other places given that name, which originated from several members of a family named Antiochus. The original settlers of the new city came from Magnesia , a town located close to the Aegena coast.
A Jewish historian from the 1st century BC named Josephus wrote about Antiochus III, who ordered the relocation of 2,000 Jewish families , transferring them from Babylonia to various areas in Lydia and Phrygia. His motives were because he felt they would become loyal supporters of the Seleucids. This is one of the reasons why Jews were living in the city when Paul arrived in the 1st century AD.
In the second part of “Ancient Religious Sites , Pisidian Antioch,” you will learn more about the historical changes of the city. It is here you will learn about the Roman influence on the region and the kinds of cultural aspects the city started to embrace.