DAY 5 – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17:
Once again, we were blessed with a brilliantly sunny day, with highs a little warmer in the mid 50s. Upon leaving, we opened the day with a devotional from I Corinthians 3 about being the temple of God.
Departing Kalambaka, we drove about 3 hours to Thermopylae (Thermopolis) where the famous battle between the 300 Spartans and Xerxes & the Persians took place. The battle scene that took place in 480 BC was a small narrow pass between the mountain range and the Aegean Sea (today the sea has receded about a mile. In the story, Leonidas and 300 fighting men (along with another 700 Thespian fighters) tried to hold off Xerxes at this pass. The Persians prevailed against Leonidas as a traitor informed Xerxes of a secret pathway that led to the surrounding of these courageous Spartans. However a year later, the Persians met their defeat at the sea Battle of Salamis. All there is to see today is a monument of Leonidas along with two other men symbolically representing the Spartan mountains and river.
Entering the Parnassus mountain range, we drove towards Delphi. The windy road up and down the mountains provided spectacular views. We passed through the town of Arahova, the primary ski resort village here in Greece.
Following lunch, we arrive at the archaeological / classical site of Delphi. In classic Greek mythology, Delphi was considered the navel of the world. Today, next to Athens and Olympia (that we’ll visit tomorrow), Delphi is the leading classical site in all of Greece. The site of Delphi was simply amazing! Although the path to the stadium was closed for renovation, we saw many things in this site built on the edge of the mountain. This included the Treasury, the theater, and the Temple of Apollo. The oracles of the gods took place in an inner / underneath area of the temple itself. Across the road on the lower part of the city is the gymnasium and the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. All of these ruins date primarily between the 7th (the first Temple of Apollo) and the 4th century BC (what is seen today). Although Delphi is not mentioned in the Book of Acts, it is hard not to believe that Paul was here or at the very least familiar with the city.
Following the visit of the site, we entered the Museum of Delphi. Here we saw many amazing artifacts from the site of Delphi. This included various reliefs of the gods (Zeus, Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite) as well as Hercules. The gold horde found near the temple was also displayed. The face of Apollo is pictured here. Other artifacts included the horses from the pedement of the Treasury, figurines, a large bronze “chariot man” dating to 476 BC (given to Apolllo as a present), and the famous Inscription of Gallio. The inscription describes Claudius writing about of receiving advice from a procounsul named Gallio. He was the Roman senator who dismissed the charge brought by the Jews against Paul in Acts. Thus, the inscription serves as an important archaeological marker in reconstructing the chronology of Paul’s life and helps date Paul’s presence in Corinth to about 50-52 AD.
After the museum closed (4 p.m.) we drove into the modern city of Delphi just 5 minutes away. After checking in, many walked back to town, enjoying some free time and shopping. The view of the Adriatic Sea to the west at sunset was amazing.
Following dinner at 7, we gathered once again for a brief meeting of singing and sharing.
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18: DELPHI, OLYMPIA