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Greek Mystery of a “Lost Church” in Ancient Nicaea


A group of archeologists recently discovered a Church on the shore of the Lake İznik. İznik, historically known as ancient city of Greece called  Nicaea, is a town and an administrative district in the Province of Bursa, Turkey. The town lies in a fertile basin at the eastern end of Lake İznik where the remains of an ancient basilica have been discovered.

The big church was built under the name of St. Neophytos a beloved Christian in the middle ages. According to the pundits’ calculations, the church collapsed during an earthquake that occurred in the region in 740. The church was built in honor of St, Neophytos who was killed as a Christian Martyr by Roman soldiers in 303 before the Edict of Milan, and a proclamation that permanently established religious toleration for Christianity within the Roman Empire.

The remains of the basilica were discovered while photographing the city from the air to take inventory of the historical and cultural artifacts.

The experts explain that St. Neophytos church was built at the place where the beloved saint was killed. The probable date of basilica’s construction cannot be determined precisely but it could have been built after 313.

Uludağ University Head of Archaeology Department, Professor Mustafa Şahin said that “There is one more date, which important for us. It most likely could have been built in 325 after the first council meeting in İznik. In any case, we think that the church was built in the 4th century or a further date. It is interesting that we have gravures from the middle ages depicting this killing. We see Neophytos being killed on the lake coast.”

He added “There were rumors that people in İznik were asking for help from the body of Neophytos when they were in difficulty.”

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