You are here:Home-Resources-Counsel of Chalcedon Magazine-1997 Issue 8-God's Way to Revival: The Letter to the Church in Sardis

God's Way to Revival: The Letter to the Church in Sardis

Sardis was one of the great cities of the ancient world. Its seemingly impregnable setting, upon a 1,500 foot plateau overlooking the Valley of Hermas, and its proximity to major thoroughfares, made it readily defensible and a rich center of commerce and industry. Sardis, called Hyde by Homer; was twice captured by foreign armies. Guarding the only true access to the city, the southern plain, its defenders neglected to watch the rear cliffs. Erosion had worn a narrow crevice in the steep natural walls, and enemy invaders successfully scaled them and took the city from behind. Sardis was famous for hot springs which bubbled from the base of the front hills of Mt. Tmolus. These healing waters were an integral part of their religious practices as well. The resurrection cult of Sybil was celebrated through the life-renewing powers of these springs. In A.D. 17, the city was devastated by an earthquake. The Roman Emperor Tiberius contributed vast sums of money and suspended local taxes for five years in order to rebuild the city. As a result, emperor worship was incorporated into Sardis' religious practices.