A mosaic made by a freed slave to thank God written in Greek for his liberation was unearthed during the excavation at the 6th-century Church of the Holy Apostles in southern Hatay province.
The Church of the Holy Apostles was found in an orange grove in the Arpaçiftlik neighborhood by Mehmet Keleş in 2007.
After Keleş recognised historical artifacts while planting orange saplings in the grove, archaeological digs were launched in the area. With the disclosure of mosaics, animal figures, stone graves, and bone remain, expert teams, determined that the site was a church whose name was the Church of the Holy Apostles.
While digs continue in the historical church, archaeologists have recently found an area with a mosaic. The mosaic with a peacock figure also features an inscription in which a slave thanked God after being freed.
Ersoy stated that the church and mosaics reached in the area found by the person who wanted to plant orange saplings in her garden are important in terms of clarifying the 6th and 12th centuries of the city.
Ersoy continued his words as follows:
“A three-naved basilica church being unearthed here. There are mosaics on the floor of the church. We learned from an inscription that this church was named the church of the three apostles. A different mosaic area was unearthed during the excavations carried out this year. A mosaic made by a slave to thank the god after his emancipation was unearthed. There were peacocks and an inscription on the mosaic. The mosaic depicts heaven.”
Ersoy stated that there might be a large settlement in the area where the church is located, and therefore excavations will continue in the region.