Among the hundreds of buildings damaged or destroyed by the earthquakes that recently shook Turkey and Syria was the Antakya Mesihçiler Kilisesi church in Antakya, the modern iteration of the city of Antioch, which the Bible identifies as the place where followers of Jesus were first called Christians.
The church building the congregation used was a rented one; they began construction of a new building last year. The congregation is now meeting at the new building, which is still undergoing construction. Pastor Elmas Akin said that even though Antioch is destroyed, “a new Antioch” will be built and that they have already been gifted a new building by God and that building did not suffer any damage.
The Christian Post reports:
“Nothing is left,” Pastor Elmas Akin of Antakya Mesihçiler Kilisesi church in Antakya, the modern form of Antioch and the capital of Hatay Province in southern Turkey, told CBN News. “And this has been our church for 23 years. All those years of love and caring for everyone. Everything is gone completely.”
On Feb. 6, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed over 47,000 people and damaged thousands of homes in Turkey and Syria.
Despite the devastation, Pastor Elmas says there’s hope.
“There’s no more Antioch left, but there will be a new Antioch,” Elmas said. “God has already given us the building for it, and there’s no damage to that church.”
She added, “Please pray that God will see us through to the completion of the new church building, where the need is so much more evident.”
The Bible mentions two cities named Antioch: Pisidian Antioch and Syrian Antioch.
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