Armenian Bible Church            

Հայ Աստուածաշունչի Եկեղեցի

Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 40322  Pasadena, CA 91114 USA

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By Thomas Cosmades


Chapter 1


            Cappadocia is a well-known province of Asia Minor known to students of history and readers of the New Testament (cf. Acts 2:1; I Peter 1:1).  The main city of Cappadocia was Caesarea Mazaca (Kayseri), administrative seat of the illustrious province and one the most important bishoprics of Asia Minor.  This is the city from where renowned church fathers emanated, such as Basil the Great, Gregory of Naziansus, Gregory of Nyssa, Eusebius Pamphili (church historian) and several lesser luminaries.

             Mt. Argaeus (Erciyesh), approximately 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) lifts its serene, majestic peak nearby. This loftiest mountain in central Anatolia, perpetually snow-capped, has always attracted the admiration of the Cappadocians and numerous travelers through the region.        To the north of Mt. Argaeus on ravishing elevated terraces lies the city of Mutalasi (Talas), which overlooks Caesarea. Talas was an important Christian center for several centuries. Near this city, below Mt. Argaeus, is the quiet town of Zinjidere, known in history as Flavianus, home of several churches and ancient monasteries.

            Zinjidere had the reputation of being a ‘corner of Switzerland’ transplanted in Cappadocia. The town of five hundred homes resembled a picturesque Swiss Alpine village with chalets and villas. It served as a resort area for Caesarea.

            Caesarea Mazaca had already ceased being a bishopric. The Greek bishop had moved to Zinjidere, making it the focal point of wide Christian activity. A Greek theological seminary was the center of training for priests who upon graduation were commissioned to serve in near and distant parishes in Asia Minor. There was also a commercial school, boys’ and girls’ gymnasiums, two Orthodox orphanages and an Evangelical orphanage for boys.

            This was home of Andreas and Eleni Serafimides, Aneta’s parents, and their six children. The parents had been converted to the Evangelical faith. Andreas had grasped the meaning and application of his faith so well that he came to be known in his town as St. Andrew.

            In pursuit of acquiring a good skill he took a long and costly journey to Paris where he was trained to be, of all things, a hat-maker! Following his return he engaged in business. His various ventures sometimes took him to remote places such as Batum in the Caucasus on the Black Sea and Athens in Greece. His heart was constantly on spiritual matters however and on the type of business which had lasting value. Finally he gave up his work, and eventually joined the British & Foreign Bible Society.  He was sent as a colporteur to Patras, Greece, where he continued his missionary service until his death in 1921.

            Aneta’s early training began in the Greek Evangelical School in Zinjidere. After graduation, the American Girls’ School in nearby Talas attracted her. This was one of the many schools in Anatolia founded and operated by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, whose illustrious entry into Asia Minor in 1821 is an epoch in modern church missions. This first American mission society had its beginnings at the Haystack Prayer Meeting at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1806, when five young men took refuge under the shelter of a haystack during a thunderstorm to continue their earnest prayer. While lightning flashed and thunder reverberated, they made their resolution to take the Gospel to the dark corners of the earth.