The seven cities in Anatolia that have a very special place in Christianity are
Thyateria, Pergamum and
Leodicea. These were the cities that witnessed the formation of the first Christian communities as it was stated in the Bible and canonical letters.
The term Apostolic Churches is used to refer to these cities early structural formation. The development in Christian teaching starts with the appearance of the Holy Ghost to the Apostles, the writing of the
New Testament. The last book in the New Testament mentions the revelation of
St. John. The main subject of the Revelation book is the end of the world. It tells the stories about the messages sent by Christ to the
Seven Churches as the Apocalypse approaches. The Seven Churches
are located in the western part of Anatolia. The book
of Revelation is also known as the Apocalypse of
St. John. In the book there are
symbolical images like the seven branched candlesticks of the Jewish which represent the Seven Churches. The
Seven Churches are listed below in the order of importance:
Efes (Ephesus) Revelation 1:11, 2:1-7, Acts 18:19-28, 19:1-41, Ephesians
Eskihisar (Laodicea) Revelation 3:12-22, Clossians 2:1, 4:13-16
Sart (Sardis) Revelation 3:1-6
Akhisar (Thyatira) Revelation 2:18-29, Acts 16:14
Bergama (Pergamum) Revelation 2:12-17
The word church in Seven Churches is not used to define a building but a community of Christians. During the time, when the Christianity was newly spread it was under the threaten of Jews and pagans. Therefore the Christians were forced to worship in the mountains, graveyards and catacombs. When the
King Domitian commanded to have the Christians tortured and killed the
Book of Revelations was written.
The number seven has an importance in many cultures and religions like seven heavens, the seven days of the week, the story of the Seven Sleepers, the combination of squares and triangles in the Pyramids and the seven branched candlestick.
Seven Churches are all in Asia
Minor because during the time Rome and around was reacting to the Christians and Christianity, economic factors were more important in Jerusalem.
Asia Minor was safer although it was the part of the Roman Empire. The area was safe because it was away from the two area. Apart from that this area had been home to many various civilizations, ethnic groups, cultures and beliefs. It was apparent that it would be easier to spread the new religion in Asia Minor.
Each church symbolizes the time which we can identify with the church's characteristics. As it was mentioned by
St John, the Seven Churches were the representatives of periods in church history.