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September 22, 2020

Previously Submerged Ancient Church Under Turkish Lake Discovered in 2014 Has Now Resurfaced

Submerged church in 2014
 

In 2014 a basilica in northwest Turkey, hidden underwater for centuries and believed to be dating back to the 4th or 5th century AD, was discovered after aerial photographs of Lake Iznik, where ancient Nicaea was located, were taken, revealing the submerged ruins of the Roman church, only 20 meters from the banks of the lake.
 
It is estimated that the church was submerged into the lake during an earthquake in the year 740. Several important artifacts have been found since excavations began in 2015 with the aim to exhibit the ruins of the basilica as part of an underwater museum.

In a turn of events, dropping water levels have now brought it very close to the surface, after a drought affected the region.

 
Resurfaced church on September 20, 2020

The church is now believed to have been dedicated to Saint Neophytos of Nicaea, who was martyred in this area in early Christian times, and this church was likely built over the place of his burial. Many graves have been discovered in the area of the church as well. Saint Neophytos is commemorated in the Orthodox Church on January 21st.
 
It should be clarified, news reports of these latest events have reported Saint Neophytos was martyred in Nice, France. This is false. He was martyred in Nicaea of Asia Minor, where the resurfaced church is located.