“You will find that the closest people in friendship to the believers are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’” Feast 5:82 | Holy Quran
Antioch was one of the most significant metropolises in the eastern Mediterranean of Rome’s territories and was known as the foundation of Christianity due to the consequence of its permanence and the fundamental part that it performed during the advent of both Judaism and Christianity. The earliest Christian church in the history of planet earth was constructed in the ancient city of Antakya, Turkey, in 1100 A.D., and renovated in the nineteenth century. Antakya -Latinized in the modern day as Antioch – is believed by many to be the early framework of Christianity. The formation of this original church in Antioch can be linked directly to the Holy Bible, Acts 11:25-28 “Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. And in these days Prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.”
Paul the Apostle, labored in Antioch, Turkey and, thus, as a result, the people of Antioch in Turkey were converts for the first time in history and declared themselves as “Christian” translated in Turkish to “Hristiyan”. Custom regards the first Apostle, Peter, as the initial establisher of the church in Antakya, or Antioch, and, furthermore, Christian folklore suggests that, the gospels of the evangelists Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, were first preached by St. Peter, at the Church in Antakya, Turkey.
Let us arrive to northern California, Forty-five minutes east of San Francisco in the Bay Area, to the town of Antioch. Originally, in the 1850s, the Smith Brothers discovered the area and determined to name the town “Smiths Landing.” Years later, upon the construction of several Christian churches, they were determined to name the town “Antioch”, after Antakya, Turkey; the city of the original Christian church. Contemporary Antioch, California is known for having the most number of Christian churches in any given city of the east Bay Area.
It is also momentous to note that, the city of Antioch is faced directly across from the infamous Mount Diablo, also known as, in its English translation from Spanish, “Mount Devil”. History states that in the late nineteenth century, a group of native Americans mysteriously vanished in the mountain with no explanation. This enigmatic occurrence caused the citizens of the area at that time to result in determining that the disappearance of these native Americans was the work of the Devil, since these native Americans never reappeared. According to Mark Cunningham, in his book The Green Age of Asher Witherow, “The conventional view is that the peak derives its name from the 1805 escape of several Chupcan Native Americans from the Spanish in a nearby willow thicket. The natives seemed to disappear, and the Spanish soldiers thus gave the area the name “Monte del Diablo”, meaning ‘thicket of the devil.’ Monte was later misinterpreted by English speakers as mount or mountain.”
Beyond the mysterious disappearance of these Native Americans, it’s worth emphasizing the position of the mountain and its phenomenal views spanning all the way to the San Francisco Bay. The infamous mountain is filled with trails where couples and families can enjoy hikes and walks. Tourists and Bay Area citizens often visit the mountain to hike the summit or drive to its peak which reaches three-thousand eight hundred forty-nine feet. Facing the eastern direction of the Devil’s mountain is the city of Antioch, with its wide variety of symbolic Christian crosses stemmed high and proud on churches and worship halls sporadic throughout the city of Antioch, California.