KAVALA - PHILIPPI - THESSALONIKI - BEREA - CORINTH.
Following the vision of the Macedonian man Paul received
at Troas, St. Paul journeyed to Neapolis. He landed here
with Timothy and Silas. It may be that Luke the
Evangelist, also joined Paul here at Neapolis. This
ancient city of Neapolis was later renamed Christoupolis
because it was the first European city to accept
Christianity. In the Roman period, the city acted as a port for the important Roman
garrison at Philippi about fifteen km. away.
Inside the walled village of the Cavallo of the Ottoman Empire Muhammad Ali (1769-1849) was born. Ali was the Egyptian ruler of peasant revolt of 1805. As a result of the revolt, Muhammad Ali eventually broke with the Ottomans and established the last dynasty on the Egyptian throne that ended with King Fuad in 1953 (with the rise of Nasser).
The city has several important churches that attract visitors: the Church of St. Paul (established 1928); and the Church of St. Nicholas, which was converted to mosque under Ottoman occupation. Beyond the churches, other historical sites of interest include: the "Old Quarter" named Panayia, after the Virgin Mary Church that once stood in the district. The fortress is from the early Paleologian Byzantine revival 13th CE. The former "Imaret" is one of the largest Muslim buildings in Europe. Other important Ottoman buildings include the "House of Muhammed Ali" and the Kameres Aqueduct, built by Suleiman.
|Philippi: The city had been founded by
Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, in 368 BC.
originally on the site of a place called Kreniides, a
very ancient city. It was chosen for its strategic site
to command the road from Europe to Asia, the East to the
West. For this same reason one of the great battles of
history was fought much later at Philippi; Here, Antony
defeated Brutus and Cassius, and thereby decided the
future of the whole Roman Empire.|
Paul's trip into Macedonia brought him from the harbour at Neapolis, (15 km.). This strategic Roman city became the place of the first established church congregation, with early converts to Christianity.
Luke apparently joins Paul, Silas and Timothy in Neapolis. Acts 16:12 records the arrival of the Gospel to Macedonia through Paul's Second Mission Journey. With no synagogue in the city, Paul goes to proseuche (a temporary place of prayer) to observe Sabbath. The stream off of the Gangites River was the place where Paul came upon Lydia. Here Paul preached his first sermon and baptized the first Christians on European soil(Acts 16:12-18).
Paul uses citizenship as protection (Acts 16:37-38). The conversion of the Philippian jailer is another important story from the journey (Acts 16:21-33). Paul and Silas were thrown in prison for casting the spirit out of a Fortune teller(Acts 16:16-40) when a strong earthquake gives the prisoners a chance to escape. If they do, the jailer would suffer a heavy penalty. As he prepares to kill himself, Paul calls out that everyone is still there and preaching a short sermon he converts the jailer as well. The church at Philippi became a chief financial supporter of Paul's ministry, and the congregation established here was one of the earliest to flourish in Greece.
|Amphipolis: Paul passed by Amphipolis on his Second Missionary journey on his way from Philippi to Thessaloniki. Some scholars suggest that Paul lodged overnight here, but the text is not specific on this point. There is no record of his preaching here. It is likely the city was not evangelized until a generation after Paul, but nevertheless became an important Byzantine Christian site.|
|Apollonia: Paul and Silas passed also through the village of Apollonia on their way to Thessalonica, and may have lodged there. The village of Apollonia in Macedonia was located along the Via Egnatia, 44 km. of Amphipolis.|
The port city of Thessalonica (now called Thessaloniki)
was constructed on the Thermaic Gulf and became
the main seaport and naval base of Macedonia. The city was named after
(Thessalonike, daughter of Philip II and half sister of Alexander the Great).
The position of the city only improved with the
completion of the "Egnatian Way" which made the
port easily accessible to other Macedonian cities. The
"Via Egnatia" ran through the city and can
still be seen today. Strabo the geographer (C1 BCE) in
"Geographic Elements" referred to Thessaloniki
as the "Metropolis of Macedonia".
Thessalonica was a wealthy city and had a Roman, Greek and Jewish population. Paul came to Thessalonica from Philippi (probably in 50 CE). He went to the synagogue for three Sabbath days (Acts 17:1-9). In Thessalonica, some proselyte Greeks and the chief women believed Paul's preaching. The Jews who did not believe caused uproar in the city and assaulted the house of Jason in order to bring out Paul and Silas. The people took Jason (Paul's host) and other believers to the rulers, accusing Jason of harbouring traitors to Caesar. Jason and the other brethren were given a bond on the agreement that Paul would leave the area. Paul and Silas were sent away immediately by night to Berea.
The preaching of the gospel in Thessalonica was very important and facilitated the spreading of the faith to all of Macedonia (1 Thessalonians 1:8). From Paul's letters to the Thessalonians it was evident that their faith was known throughout the region. Aristachus and Secundus (of Thessalonica) believers labored with Paul (Acts 20:4; 27:2).
After his departure, Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica. The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians were written in Corinth after Timothy offered a good report concerning the welfare of the church. Paul may have revisited Thessalonica and mentions his intention to visit in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:5). This church suffered persecution (1 Thessalonians 2:14). Other important figures of the Thessalonians included Jason, Gaius, Secundus, Aristarchus and perhaps Demas (Acts 19:29; 20:4).
after Paul's preaching, the Christian community thrived
in the city. One tradition says that Sopater, son of
Pyrrhus, was the first convert of the Berean church
(mentioned in Acts 20:4). The other tradition is that of
the "Synaxar" (Orthodox Calendar of the Saints)
that refers to Karpus (one of the 70 Disciples) as first
Bishop of the city. The city was considered one of the
most important in the region, with several beautiful
churches including frescoes as old as the 12th century
Paul fled in the night from Thessalonica to Berea (Acts 17:10) and taught in the synagogue there (during the Second Mission Journey). In the synagogue he found people who were eager to receive the Gospel and compare it with the Hebrew Scriptures. Luke notes that many believed, and includes that "honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few" (Acts 17:12) came to Jesus. The reception was probably a true respite to the Apostle and his team, but it was short-lived. Jews who did not believe the message of Jesus preached by Paul came to Berea from Thessalonica when they learned Paul continued ministry there. They stirred up the people against Paul, causing him to once again flee, this time to Athens. Paul left Silas and Timothy to care for the believers in Berea and in Thessalonica for a short while.
In the modern city stands a "Triptych monument" in remembrance of Paul's work. The monument includes three steps that were removed from a salvage dig at a nearby school property. The steps were reputed to have been from the location of the ancient synagogue. The display is made of colorful mosaic tile and displays three panels: the Macedonian man vision, Paul, and the address to the Bereans.
Because Paul spent more than one and one half years at
Corinth during his Second Mission Journey, the city
remains important to students of the Book of Acts.
Corinth had harbours on each side, with Cenchrea on the
east end, and Lechaeum on the west. Thus the city's
natural location made it a very wealthy commercial and
The city also enjoyed a long and important history among Greek city-states from the Neolithic through Archaic Periods. Scholars agree that a Neolithic settlement was located near the Peirene Spring from about 4,000 BC. By the Classical Period, Corinth was one of the city-states, ranking with Sparta and Athens in value, though not as militarily strong. The strategic position and economy aided the city in becoming a key player in many alliances.
Because of its stance against the expansion of Roman power, the Roman General Mummius laid the city waste in 146 BCE. By 46 BCE, Julius Caesar re-colonized the area and gave it the status of Roman capital of Achaia. From that time Corinth enjoyed much freedom as an independent city. The city had a large theater and was frequented by the Emperors of Rome for the Isthmian games. Several scholars note the population may have exceeded 400,000 for some of the Roman period. Another important attraction to the Roman city was in the Acrocorinth. This hill, about 1886 feet above the plain, formed a natural and impregnable defense for ancient Corinth. By the time of the Romans such defenses were not so important, but the establishment of the great temple of Aphrodite and its numerous temple prostitutes (the number in some sources is reported at more than 1000!) made the place notable to ancient historians. The city agora or market place boasted nightclubs or bars (33 taverns have been excavated). The city was known for luxury, pleasure and especially immorality - a key to concern of Paul in his letters to the Corinthians. The city was a mixture population (Greeks, Romans, Jews, Italians, etc.) and attracted thousands by its reputation for "base" entertainment. Important trade links were maintained with Italy and Asia Minor via Ephesus
Paul's initial visit to Corinth was on his Second Missionary Journey, when he arrived from Athens about 50-51 CE. He spent one year and six months there while working as a tentmaker and lodged with Aquila and Priscilla who moved to Corinth after the expulsion of Jews from Rome by Emperor Claudius (49 or 50 CE). Paul told Timothy and Silas to remain behind to strengthen churches when Paul was forced to leave Berea and they rejoined Paul in Corinth from Macedonia. When they arrived, Paul was busy with forming the new congregation of followers as he " reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." He began preaching in the Jewish community and when the leadership opposed him he departed from the synagogue and taught the disciples in the house of Justus located next to the synagogue. Among those who believed was the chief synagogue ruler, Crispus.
Paul was assured by a vision that Jesus would protect him if he remained in Corinth at the ministry task. Shortly after the vision the message was tested. He was brought to the judgment (bema) seat before Gallio (the newly appointed deputy of Achaia) by some local Jewish leaders who accused him of persuading people to worship God contrary to the law (Acts 18: 12-16). Gallio chose not to involve himself in the matter and drove them away. This judgment seat that Paul was brought before has been uncovered in the center of the market place or agora. There were two lower steps that surrounded a high platform (five feet or so), covered with marble. The platform was more than thirty feet long, and had been restored by archaeologists.
The friends Paul met at Corinth (Aquila and Priscilla) became true partners in ministry. No doubt their encouragement helped to revive the Apostle after the terrible experiences associated with his second journey as he came into Macedonia and Achaia. In addition to their encouragement, we have record of their continued ministry after they departed Corinth and went to Ephesus. A Messianic teacher named Apollos taught about Jesus to the local believers, but taught about the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla knew from listening to Paul the message had progressed further and took Apollos aside and explained to him the more complete information. Perhaps during those conversations Apollos gained the desire to move on to Corinth, for he continued the work that Paul had started there and was mightily used to further the ministry. (see Acts 18:23,24,26-28;19:1)
Paul's Epistle to the Romans was written in Corinth. (Romans 16:23) Paul was evidently staying with a man named Gaius, Paul's host, and aided by the amanuensis Tertius who was scribed the letter. The first and second epistles to the Thessalonians were also written from Corinth (I Thessalonians 3: 6-7). Timothy returned from Thessalonica with reports on how the ministry progressed after Paul's forced departure.
Paul wrote the first Epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus some time later. Timothy may have been the bearer of this letter to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 4:17). In the second Epistle to them (see 2 Corinthians 7) it appears that Paul may have sent Titus with a 'painful letter' that Paul had written to the Corinthians, rebuking them for tolerating immorality in their midst. That letter is widely believed to be "lost" and not part of the record of the New Testament. It appears that Titus may have gone to Corinth with this letter or he may have gone after the letter got to the Corinthians and was able to receive from them, their earnestness to be right before God and deal with the sin issues. The second Epistle to the Corinthians, which may be actually a third letter, was written from Macedonia by Paul, which amongst other commended the Corinthians for their good response to the 'painful letter'.
and his companions visited Cenchrea after nearly eighteen
months of ministry in Corinth, during the Second Mission
Journey. The city was a small port located more than two
miles south of Isthmia and about six miles east of
Corinth. It was constructed along the road from Isthmia
that leads south to the "Baths of Helen" of
antiquity. Cenchrea functioned as the eastern harbor of
the Corinthians for shipping on the Saronic Gulf. Corinth
also had another port, Lechaeum, to the west of Corinth
on the Corinthian Gulf. Ships were safely guided between
the two harbors to avoid the danger of sailing around
Cape Malea. As a town frequented by seafarers, Cenchrea
was also a sacred town to Poseidon.
Excavations were begun in 1963 by the American School, University of Chicago and Indiana University under the auspices of Professors Scranton and Ramage. The city had not been excavated because it had been a military area until that time. Though extensive excavations still need to be carried on at the site, the port was positively identified by coinage. The coinage depicts the harbor as surrounded by porticoes with a significant storage capacity. Above the site was a Roman period Temple thought to be of Tyche (fortune). On the wide pier that stretched about five hundred feet into the sea, a Temple of Isis and a piscinae (fish tank) were located. Further away, about half a mile from the harbor was the monument for a "Tomb of Regulus", the chief patron of the city and first president of the Isthmian games. The tomb was about 20 years old when Paul visited here.
The port has some important New Testament connections, as it was the site of Paul's completion of a vow, as well as the home of Phoebe (Rom. 16:1,2). Since vows among Jews were often completed with a shaving of the head, it appears that Paul had completed a private vow. Some scholars believe the vow was to remain in Corinth (despite the pagan and degraded surroundings) until God indicated that he should leave.
Excavations also reveal a thriving Byzantine presence. A complex of that period was located including at least two churches. The site appears to have been completely destroyed by two devastating earthquakes, in 365 CE and 375 CE. A small dock and a partially submerged Basilica are all that are easily seen today, though other remains are exposed in bulks on the hill just north of the harbor area.
Patmos: The island
during the period of Roman rule had become a penal colony
for the political agitators. It had been intentionally
depopulated as the penal establishment grew. It is in
this period the New Testament records that John dwelt
here. In the text he is sent here because of "the
Word of God and testimony of Jesus", terms which are
used later in the Book of the Revelation (6:9; 20:4) in
reference to persecution. Eusebius records that John was
banished by Emperor Domitian in 95 CE, and released 18
months later under Nerva (cp. Ecclesiastical History
The regional capital of the Dodecanese islands has a long and important history. The island was first inhabited in the Neolithic era. During the Bronze Age (3000-1150 BCE) three early cities were formed on the island: Kamiros, Lindos and Ialysos. The island traded gold jewelry and ceramics decorated with oriental motifs or plants and animals in stylised form. A school of sculpture was developed (Colossus of Rhodes - one of the seven "wonders of the world"; the "victory of Samothrace by Pythekritos; and Laocoon - now in the Vatican). [*The Colossus was probably built at 100 to 150 feet high in 302-290 BCE, but fell into the harbor during an earthquake in about 226 BCE, and was finally scrapped in 657 CE.]
Paul harboured here (though most believe at Lindos) in about 57 CE (Acts 21:1). There is no record of any missionary work by Paul on this island. By that time Rhodes had diminished considerably to a small port but retained its beauty and marks of former prosperity as well as some important schools. Great Roman students taught on the island included Cicero, Lucretius, Julius Caesar, Tiberius Caesar and Marc Antony. Diocletian declared it a province in 297 CE.
Much later, the Crusader Period (1000-1450 CE) brought a period of stability (and building) to the island. In 1309 it fell into the hands of the Knights of St. John and became again a maritime power - symbolized by its magnificent medieval town and castle with the Palace of the Grand Masters. This period lasted until the fall under Sulieman II in 1522 CE. The buildings of the period mimic the buildings of Avignon, France. Likely this period also saw the creation of the Rhodes faience (brilliant enamels on ceramic plates probably originated in Lindos - or borrowed technology from Nicea).
In the Modern Period (1830-present) the island was taken from the Turks by the Italians in 1911 and they annexed it to protect the route to African colonies. They were responsible for much of the restoration on the island seen today. It was occupied by Germans from 1943-45, taken over by the British, and made part of Greece on 7 March 1948.
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