Paul and his companions set out from Troas and sailed across to the island of Samothrace, and on to Neapolis the next day. Paul landed on the European mainland for the first time in 51AD. Paul travelled inland along the Via Egnatia to Philippi where he first preached the Gospel. Paul and Silas continued their preaching in Thessalonica and Berea. Paul alone left for Athens where he preached in the synagogue and discussed with the Greek philosophers in the ancient agora. Paul moved on to Corinth where he lived and worked with Aquila and his wife Priscilla. During the 3rd Missionary Journey, Paul and Timothy made Ephesus their base for three years. The places that Paul visited are still existing as well as his message.
Kavala (Ancient Neapolis)
During Paul’s day, Neapolis (meaning ‘the new city’) was a prosperous port serving the city of Philippi. Today, Kavala is a beautiful and historic town built amphitheatrically along the length of the sea. It boasts a unique character combining the modern contemporary buildings on the west side of the city to the traditional old houses of the eastern side. You can still stroll along the busy harbourfront with its countless fishing caciques moored along the waterfront or relax at nearby bustling harbourfront eateries.
Philippi was valued in antiquity for its nearby gold mines. The city prospered in the Roman imperial era and after a visit from Paul, became an important centre of early Christianity. Philippi continued to flourish as a major Byzantine city.
Today, you can still walk on the original route of the stone-paved Via Egnatia, stroll across the remains of the Roman forum, see the remains of the two Basilicas and sit in the Roman theatre. You can see the traditional site of Paul’s prison which is an old water cistern that was transformed into a small church. Neaby is the unique octagonal Baptistery of St Lydia, built beside the River Zygaktis. In the book of Acts, Paul and Silas went to the riverbank just outside the city and began to speak to the women gathered there.
On reaching Thessalonica, Paul and Silas preached in the Jewish synagogue on three consecutive Sabbaths. Not surprisingly, this caused a turmoil among some of the Jews. Once again, Paul and Silas were forced to escape from Thessalonica in the night.
Thessaloniki is now the second largest city in Greece full of life and vibrancy. When you climb up to the Byzantine walls, you see a sprawling city with the old and new coexisting wonderfully. You cannot miss the White Tower, the former prison, standing along the beach promenade. You can see several monuments including the impressive circular Rotunda, the famous Arch of Galerius, and the restored ancient amphitheatre, an arched street and a marketplace at the Roman Forum.
Veria (Ancient Berea)
In Paul’s day, Berea was a prosperous Roman city with a large Jewish community. Today, the modern Saint Paul’s Tribune (“Bema”) features two modern mosaics – one depicting the vision of a man from Macedonia and the other showing Paul preaching to the citizens of Berea. The mosaics are located at the top of Paul’s steps where it is believed that Paul addressed the crowd.
Athens, capital and largest city of Greece, is a city full of colours and surprises with elements of ancient glory. Monuments of all historical periods are spread around the town, from ancient times to modern era. Do not miss the Acropolis standing on the highest spot of the city. Just below the Acropolis is the Areopagus where Paul delivered his famous speech about the identity of “the Unknown God” as recorded in Acts 17. Other city highlights include the impressive Hadrian Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Panathenaic Stadium and the imposing Hellenic Parliament House at the east side of Syntagma Square. Admire the neoclassical architecture as you walk through Plaka and the multicoloured Monastiraki with its flea market.
Stop by the famous Isthmus that connects the mainland of Greece with the Peloponnese Peninsula. The Isthmus is 6.5km wide and the Corinth Canal is constructed at the narrow point of the Isthmus. Here is where the Aegean meets the Ionian Sea.
The ancient town of Corinth was one of the richest towns in Ancient Greece where Paul lived and preached for two years. You can see the ruins of various buildings including the Agora, the 6th century Temple of Apollo, baths and a basilica. The Corinth Archaeological Museum provides a comprehensive view of finds from the archaeological site.
Kusadasi (which means “bird island”) is a lively resort town in the Aegean region of Turkey. It is the coastal gateway to Ephesus.
Paul and Timothy lived in Ephesus for three years. They stayed in the home of Aquila and Priscilla. Paul preached in the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus but when some of the Jews began to criticise, Paul abandoned the synagogue and moved to the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus. Ephesus had many pagan temples, the most important of which was the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of Ephesus. See the marble latrines of the ancient public toilets. Sit in the Great Theater that could 25,000 spectators, possibly the largest outdoor theatre in the ancient world. Follow the Priest’s Way to the celebrated façade of the Library of Celsus.
The House of the Virgin in Selcuk
Tradition says that the House of the Virgin Mary is where Mary, the mother of Jesus, spent her final days of her life. The small stone building consisted of a bedroom and a kitchen. Currently, the restored house serves as a chapel.
The Basilica of Saint John in Selcuk
It is believed that John spent his last years in the area and he was buried on Ayasuluk Hill. The once-great basilica was built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6thcentury. It stands over the traditional burial site of John. It is an atmospheric site with excellent hilltop view.
Greece should be in every traveller’s wish list. The country is the perfect place for an enjoyable holiday. Greece is famous for its beautiful landscape, long coastline with amazing beaches, sunny weather and rich history. Plus, Greece is also a significant biblical place that traces the footsteps of Paul on his journey to spread the word of God.
Paul’s missionary journeys changed the world, and when you, too, follow In the Footsteps of Paul, you will see the New Testament coming alive in a whole new way!
See the ancient marketplaces of Thessaloniki and Philippi, explore the archaeological ruins at Delphi, stand on the spot in Berea where Paul preached, take in the awe-inspiring views of Meteora, enjoy an exciting four-day Greek Isle cruise to Mykonos, Patmos where John wrote the Book of Revelation, Rhodes with its Crusader-era Masters Palace, Heraklion, beautiful Santorini, a stop in Kusadasi with a chance to see fascinating Ephesus, view the ruins of Corinth where Paul lived and worked with Priscilla and Aquila, and see the Acropolis and Mars Hill where Paul stood to deliver his famous Areopagus sermon about the ‘Unknown God’.