Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cave Church in Turkey Caving In

ZENIT - Cave Church in Turkey Caving In
The Cave Church of St. Peter, considered the first Christian church in Antioch, has been closed due to structural concerns.

Capuchin Father Egidio Picucci, noted historian of Turkey and the Early Church, confirmed Sunday to L'Osservatore Romano that Turkish authorities closed the church March 1 due to risks that the structure could cave in.

Also known as St. Peter's Grotto, the church is a natural cave on the western face of Mount Stauris, which towers over Antioch.

After the collapse of large sections, said Father Picucci, “the possibility that further collapses could constitute a serious danger for the security of visitors led the museum directors -- for the Turkish government St. Peter’s Grotto is only a museum -- to take these measures.”

It is widely believed that St. Peter himself dug the cave as a place for the first community of Christians in Antioch to gather.

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