Christian Women in Turkey – A History

A Survey of Notable Christian Women in Asia Minor and Anatolia from 33CE to 2021. 

Roman Provinces in what is now Turkey

Since 2017 I have been writing about notable Christian women who have lived from 33CE to the present day in what is now known as Turkey. In 33CE the country was part of the Roman Empire and then through the edict of Constantine the Great, the Emperor of the Roman Empire Christianity became the preferred religion. Constantine the great established Constantinople in what is now Istanbul and until 1453 that city was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. From 1453 to 1923 Constantinople became Istanbul the capital of the Ottoman Empire. In 1923 Turkey became a secular republic. Through all the different regimes and eras that have held sway in what is now known as Turkey there have been Christians living and working in the area.

Some of the stories of these Christian women are on this website. The finished book will contain 53 mini-biographies.

I am in the last stages of preparing my book about Christian Women for publication. The video below is a presentation about a small selection of these women that I made to my local church.

An overview of Christian Women in Turkey – A History.
A Survey of Notable Christian Women in Asia Minor and Anatolia from 33CE to the Present Day.

Thank you for your interest in Christian Women who have lived in modern day Turkey down the ages. The English version of this book should be available by October. It is hoped that a Turkish version will be available next year.

19 July – Macrina the Younger (327 – 379)

On 19 July the Anglican Church celebrates the life of Macrina the younger and her brother, Gregory Bishop of Nyssa. Macrina the younger is named after her grandmother and was also named Thecla by her mother Emmelia. From a young age she took a lead in establishing a monastic settlement on the family estate in Cappadocia. She is one of the well known Cappadocian Women – from the same family as two of the Cappadocian Fathers! Gregory (of Nazianzus) is the third Cappadocian Father from another Cappadocian family of remarkable women. 

Macrina was the eldest child, her brothers, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil the Great are two of the Cappadocian Fathers. She was a great influence on them.  Persuading Basil to be a priest rather than become a rhetorician.

Macrina was probably born in 327AD into a long-established and wealthy Cappadocian family whose faith in Christ had been tried and tested during Diocletian’s persecutions in 303-4. Her father died when she was about 12 years old.

According to her brother Gregory‘s ‘Life of Macrina’, she seems to have taken responsibility for running the family estate and eventually set up a monastic settlement for women.  Gregory’s ‘Life of Macrina’ was written by Gregory as a eulogy to his sister, in the text Gregory records his visit to her as she was dying.

Macrina was noted for taking on menial, ordinary jobs such as preparing bread for the household.  At a young age she committed to remaining a virgin and remaining unmarried. Her mother also gave her the name Thekla, after a Christian woman from Iconium (modern day Konya) who was converted through listening to the Apostle Paul’s preaching. Thekla was a martyr who braved much in her commitment to Christ.

Anglican Collect for today:
Lord of eternity, creator of all things, in your Son Jesus Christ you open for us the way to resurrection that we may enjoy your bountiful goodness: may we who celebrate your servants Gregory and Macrina press onwards in faith to your boundless love and ever wonder at the miracle of your presence among us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen