Bishop Phocas of Sinope (AD 117)

Phocas served as the bishop of Sinope on the Black Sea coast. Around 117, during a time of Christian persecution under emperor Trajan, Sinope’s governor commanded Phocas to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ, but he refused. As a result, Phocas was tortured and enclosed in a hot bath where he died. In the 300s, Balatlar Church in Sinope was built over a Roman bath complex. Today, on one of the church walls you can see some poor-quality frescoes of Jesus, Mary, and the apostles. Blather Church was a major
early church pilgrimage site and is possibly the location of Phocas’ martyrdom. Since 2010, archaeo- logical work there has continued.