In modern times it may seem like an unlikely site of three of the Seven Churches of Asia, however Manisa province in Turkey was home to many Christians in ancient times.
The ancient churches, also known to Christians as the Seven Churches of Revelation, are noted in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation.
The story goes that the apostle John was given a vision of end-time events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ and was given the instruction: “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea”.
In Manisa, you will find the ruins of the Sardes Church in the Salihli district, Philadelphia Church in the Alasehir district, and the church of Thyateira in the Akhisar district.
The ruins of these churches bring in thousands of Christian tourists to Turkey on faith tours, particularly Asians from countries such as South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.
Sardes Church is also known as the ‘death church’ because they had no enthusiasm in congregation. The message brought to this church by Christ is speculated to have been to wake up or else their name would be blotted out of the Book of Life. The ruins of the church is a popular site for tourists.
Philadelphia in the Alasehir district was one of the biggest churches of its time but today is reduced to only three standing columns. This church was one of two not rebuked by Christ.
The church of Thyatira may have been praised for their increasing faith and service but they also received a stern warning from Christ and ordered to repent for showing tolerance for the woman called Jezebel who called herself a prophetess.