A2c Danny Ricketts discovered that the world is small,
after all, when he met another Danvillian,
of 529 Chatham Ave., in Turkey, where both
are stationed in the armed services.

Together, the pair has visited Europe on several
weekends, European Istanbul being only two hours away
from their stations in Asia. On different occasions, they
have traveled the history-rich land of Turkey.

Recently, Ricketts visited the town of Iznik (formerly
Nicaea) where two Ecumenical Councils were held. He
tells of his visits in a letter to the Register.

The famous second Ecumenical Council met in that city
in 325. It was presided over by the emperor Constantine
and 318 bishops were in attendance from all the major
seats of Christianity: Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem,
Damascus, Rome, Corinth and Constantinople.

At this session, the Christian leaders condemned the
doctrine which maintained that Christ was only "like a
Father." The doctrine, written by Arius of Alexandria,
decreed that the divinity and humanity of Christ were not
truly human nor divine; that God only existed from the
beginning of time.

It was then that the Nicene Creed was formulated,
asserting for all time the lordship and divinity of Christ:
"Begotten of the Father, not made" and "Being one
substance with the Father and was incarnate."  
(The following article is from "The Register" (Danville, Virginia) December 27, 1962)
Richard Rowland and Danny Ricketts in 1962
Ricketts strolled over the site of the former Church of Saint Sophia, which was the setting of the seventh
Ecumenical Council in 725 under Constantine VI. This council condemned Iconoclasts who wanted to remove
all images and symbols in the church and did so without the approval of the Church Council. The council
re-affirmed the governing authority of the councils and leaders of the church.

Like Istanbul, Iznik was guarded by a double row of walls encircling the city. Spaced out along the length of
the walls of Iznik are 244 towers where the defending troops were quartered during a siege. These towers
reminded Ricketts of the churches along Danville's Main St., "although they are on a much larger scale." The
walls of Iznik originally were constructed in 315 B.C. but have been repaired and strengthened several times.
Danny Ricketts mimics statue 1962
The Danvillians in Turkey also are learning much of the history and traditions of other major religions,
particularly the faith of the Moslems. About 98 per cent of the country's present inhabitants are of that belief.
Among the sights in Turkey that have impressed Ricketts the most, he wrote, is the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I,
which he describes as the "prettiest mosque in Istanbul." Located on the east side of the Hippodrome, it is the
only mosque in the world with six minarets (the Mosque of Mecca has seven). Its well-matched minarets contain
16 balconies where 16 muezzins climb up spiral stairs to call the faithful to prayer.

The Blue Mosque was built in 1616 A.D. It is described by Ricketts in the following fashion: "The beautiful mount
of domes is climaxed by the mighty central dome surmounted by a glittering gold pinnacle. The niche over the
main gate is filled with Turkish stalactites of geometric design carved in marble. There are huge bronze gates
decorated with geometric, floral and calligraphic design. In spite of their terrific weight, they move as if on ball
bearings - a Turkish engineering marvel."

"North of the forecourt is a square iron reservoir on the marble floor. In the water one can see live fish
swimming around. This is an old Turkish method for checking their source of drinking water, instead of using
chemicals. If the fish are alive, the water is said to be good enough to drink."

"The doors are wood with inlaid ivory and mother of pearl. Walls are decorated with beautiful Turkish tiles,
ceilings with delicate frescoes, columns and floors with marble. The royal boxes for the sultans are marble,
precious and sacred stones. The stunning prayer rugs are soft blue, red and green. Blue is the predominant
color on the domes, giving the mosque its name, the Blue Mosque."

"The clocks by the huge columns at the entrance are among the numerous gifts of Queen Victoria to Turkey.
She supported the nation during the Crimean War which ended with the victory of Turkey and her allies in
1854-57 A.D."
Another of Ricketts' recent excursions took him to Bursa, a city of about 86,000 and about three hours away
from Istanbul. There tourists can buy old coins (first century up) by the bucketful for pennies each. "Articles of
brass, copper and jade can be purchased at reasonable prices because it is off the 'beaten track' for tourists,"
he wrote.

At Bursa, Ricketts tells of visiting a large indoor pool containing warm mineral water.  "The room was filled with
steam and there were quite a few young ladies paddling around in the water," he wrote. "It was, I suppose you
call it, a 'super-duper Turkish bath.' "

Although now living in the land of the Moslems, Ricketts found that the Christmas season was much in
evidence.  "I was surprised to see Santa Clauses, trees and other decorations in store windows in Istanbul," he
noted.  "One large department store there had a large tree at each window five stories high."

He also reported that it looked as if they were to have a white Christmas there, too.  At the time of his writing,
the tops of the hills were covered with snow.

Nonetheless, he added, "You can see some wonderful sights but there's no place like home and that's where
my heart is - Danville by the Dan."
This Christmas season found two young Danville men trodding soil where important
chapters in the history of Christianity were written.