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Church of St Thomas

The church of St Thomas is halfway up a mountain about 2 kms from the road north of the village of Altinsac.

On the south side of Lake Van near Altınsaç, this lonely church stands among monastery ruins in a beautiful setting. It was first mentioned in the 15th century, though it may date from the 11th century. A reliquary containing remains of the Apostle Thomas are supposed to have been brought here via Edessa (Urfa). He preached in India where the Saint Thomas Christians, also known as Syrian Christians or Nasraniare are still active in Kerala. From the village of Göründü, says Brian McKee in his photo-essay in Cornucopia 54, you simply follow the shoreline until you come to a cove at the end of the road. Look up to your right and there is St Thomas, high on the hill. It’s about 45 minutes hike to the top. He advises you take a torch if you think darkness might fall before you return to your car.

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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