Places in The Lost Scrolls

These are some of the settings used in The Lost Scrolls. I am indebted to Mr. Dick Osseman for his marvelous photographs of the Qal at Simân and Sen Piyer Kilisesi. The images are used with permission, and are available on his website at

Ankara, Turkey

The action begins here in Ankara, a metropolitan city of 3.5 million people. The city has been home to Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and the Ottoman Empire before becoming the capital of Turkey in 1923.

The city and streets of Ankara: a cultural Cuisinart of old and new.

This is the Esenboğa International Airport, where Jon arrives.

This is the Houston Hotel in downtown Ankara. Dr. Anthony Michaels has booked Jon a room here, not that he gets to stay very long.

This is Gazi Hospital, where much of the action takes place.



The Atakule, a famous observation tower featuring Sevilla’s Restaurant, which rotates 360° to give a full view of the city below.

University of Michigan

Dr. Jonathan Munro works here at the University of Michigan. The UM has over 6,000 academic staff in its employ, with a significant portion at the Ann Arbor campus. I chose this university because of their outstanding department of Classical Studies and the related fields of papyrology, linguistics, anthropology, and archaeology. Anyone who wants to learn more, I would encourage you to check out the Papyrus Collection of the Michigan Library.

Mount Athos

Mount Athos is home to a self-governing collection of twenty separate Eastern Orthodox Monasteries. The peninsula allows no women to live there. It is home to some 1,400 Orthodox monks who live either in the various monasteries, or in sketes, like Demetri Antonescu.

Qal at Simân

The Basilica of St. Simeon the Stylite is a fifth century church built near the town of Aleppo (Halab), Syria. At its center is the massive, stone column upon which St. Simeon allegedly sat for 37 years.

Originally, the pillar was said to reach 15 meters in height! Thousands of years of attention by devoted pilgrims have brought Simeon down from his lofty perch, however, reducing the column to a scant two meters.

St. Simeon was born in A.D. 386 in what is now south-central Turkey. At age 15 he decided to join a monastery, becoming an ascetic. Seeking greater seclusion to devote more time to God, he climbed atop a pillar in A.D. 422. This had the deleterious effect of raising his popularity with the faithful, who came to hear him preach from his pillar twice a day. Undaunted, Simeon kept raising the pillar, which eventually reached its fabled 15 meters. This, of course, only served to draw in larger crowds.

Simeon died in A.D. 459, and the martyrium was built within decades, completed in A.D. 475. The martyrium consists of four basilicas radiating from the sides of a central octagon, within which was enshrined the famous column. Within the walls, the Qal at Simân also included a monastery, two lesser churches, and several hostels for weary travelers.

Sen Piyer Kilisesi

One of the more fascinating sites is the Cave Church of St. Peter, in Antakya, Turkey – formerly known as Syrian Antioch. This was the church responsible for sending out Paul and Barnabas, and later Paul and Silas, on their famous missionary journeys (see Acts 13:1-3, Acts 14:26, Acts 15:35-39, and Acts 18:23). It is also the town that coined the name “Christian” to describe the followers of the Way of Jesus (see Acts 11:26).

Legend tells that St. Peter himself carved out this cave in the rock, which later housed the church… though this is unlikely. It is probable, however, that the cave was used by the early Christians in Antioch as their meeting place (the Antioch church existed long before St. Peter arrived, as evidenced by Galatians 2:11.

The Domo Tou Bibliou

Sadly, this place only occurs in the author’s imagination, though the historical characters who supposedly reference it, St. Anysius, bishop of Thessalonica and the crusader Godefroy de Bouillon are real enough. And certainly Paul’s reference to the scrolls and parchments he left with Carpus in Troas is intriguing (see 2 Timothy 4:13). Is it possible Paul was working on a canon? Who knows. If so, we have no record of it. But if you want to learn more about how we got our canon, I invite you to visit the Evidence page for this fascinating discussion.


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