Duderstadt Gallery: Section 10 - Churches

The so-called Church of St. Paul, along with three other churches—two in the city and one at the nearby Sanctuary of Mên Askaênos—identify Antioch as an important center of Christianity in Asia Minor. Christianity was introduced into Antioch in the 1st century AD by St. Paul during his first missionary journey. As chronicled in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul met with mixed success in Antioch. Converting more of the city’s Gentiles than Jews, he embarked on his broader mission of spreading the word of God to the non-Jewish populations of Asia Minor.
With the rise of Christianity, churches became the recipients of substantial monetary donations. The richly ornamented 4th-century Church of St. Paul was the seat of a bishop. With its marble columns and intricate mosaic floor, this basilica visibly proclaimed the special status of wealthy donors and of Antioch as a leading city of Christian Asia Minor.
The Michigan team excavated the Church of St. Paul in 1924, and later Turkish archaeologists further explored the church, consolidated the floor mosaic in the nave, and cleared adjacent ecclesiastical structures. Every year, thousands of pilgrims travel to Antioch to visit this church. In future years a second large basilica may be on their itinerary. Discovered in 2001 by two Russian scientists using a magnetometer, this basilica, which lies over part of the earlier Roman bath complex, awaits excavation.