Sotiria (Salvation), Antakya

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Daphne Damsel

The Roman resort of Daphne was near the ancient city of Antioch, nowAntakya, at the extreme eastern end of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

Wealthy Romans built sumptuous villas in the verdant valley overlooking the waterfall, paving the floors with exquisite mosaics.

The Greek letters read Sotiria (Salvation), for the goddess portrayed there.

The salvation of these mosaics came when the mosaics were carefully removed from the ruined buildings and reinstalled in the Antakya Museumfor all to see.

People who go to Antakya go for the mosaics, to visit ruined Daphne, now right on the city’s outskirts, and also to see a small cave-church where, legend says, St. Peter preached. The cave is thought to have been the property of St Luke, and he lent it to Sts Peter and Paul when they lived in this city for several years.

The crusaders restored it, and services are still held in the cave—salvationof a different sort.

 

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