Aya Tekla Church

Aya Tekla Church, also known as Aya Thecla or Aya Thekla, is a ruins site of an ancient church in Mersin Province, Turkey.


Ata Tekla Church at 36°20′N 33°56′E / 36.333°N 33.933°E / 36.333; 33.933 is just south of Silifke (Seleikos of the Antiquity) in Mersin Province. Distance to Silifke is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and to Mersin is 85 kilometres (53 mi). Travellers to the church follow the Datça-Mersin highway running parallel to Mediterranean coast. The church is 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) north of the highway.[1]


Main article: Thecla

Thecla (Apostle and protomartyr among women) was one of the followers of Saint Paul whose origin was Tarsus about 110 kilometres (68 mi) east of the church. Thecla who was originally from Konya (Iconum of the Antiquity) lived around Silifke, in a location, now called Meryemlik (meaning of Virgin Mary). There is a cave on a small hill next to Silifke which is believed to be her home in her later years. The grave in the cave probably belongs to her.[2]

The church

Up to 312, Thecla's cave was a secret pilgrimage center. The church was built in 460-470 AD by the Byzantine emperor Zeno and the church was devoted to her. The church and the other related buildings such as bath are now in ruins the only standing element being, a part of the abscissage.


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