his first missionary journey across Anatolia, St. Paul came to Iconium (Konya),
after having been chased away from Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:51).
Its geographical position as a crossroads for major trade routes as well
as its abundant water supply made Iconium the capital city for this region.
Here, St. Paul proclaimed the Gospel and a fervent Christian community
was born. The Jews became divided
over this message so St. Paul stayed some time, with the result that many
believed. Eventually, under threat
of his life he left the city but later returned on several occasions to
encourage and exhort the people (Acts 14:1-6, 21).
The memory of St. Paul is still alive in Konya, thanks to a small church
dedicated to him. This church was
constructed in 1910 by priests "de l'Assomption" who came here to
spiritually assist the families of the French community working in the region.
St. Paul’s Konya Church is unique to this region as it is still
standing after the passage of time, during which a large number of churches were
demolished or turned into mosques when numbers of
In this church St. Thecla and St. Timothy are remembered as well.
One of Konya’s very first converts to Christianity, St. Thecla
determined to remain a virgin out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
After suffering numerous persecutions she died in Seleucia.
She is remembered in the Cathedral of Milan and her Saints Day is
September 23. St. Timothy was
a disciple of Paul’s from Lystra, a small town about 40 km. distant, who
“had a good reputation among the believers at Lystra and Iconium” (Acts
16:1-2). He joined St. Paul as a
companion during his journeys and later was made Bishop of Ephesus.
Two of St. Paul’s letters to St. Timothy are included in the New
These are but two of the First Century saints from Iconium. Others include Conon and his twelve-year-old son, martyrs
(29/5); Terenzius, Bishop and martyr (21/6);
Appolonius, crucified martyr (10/7); Marcianus martyr (11/7);
Curonotus, Bishop and martyr (12/9); Trifenna and Trifosa, both disciples
of St. Paul after St. Thecla’s example (10/ll); Anfilochius, Bishop and
companion of Sts. Basil and Gregory Nazianzas (23/11).
this small church, with its French Gothic facade, offers hospitality to groups
of pilgrims travelling the paths of St. Paul in Anatolia, thanks to the
concern and oversight of the Bishop of Izmir/ Konya and to the presence
of two resident Sisters from the "Fraternity Resurrected Jesus" in
Tavodo, Trento, Italy. Today’s
small community of Catholic Christians gather here once a week to pray and
listen to the Word of God as transmitted by the Apostles in their endless love
for our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.