Today was our first full touring day here in Greece., a country of about 12 million. Most in the group slept well, helping with overcoming jet lag. The weather here in this northern province of Macedonia (one of 6 provinces in the country of Greece) was very nice, with a mix of sun and clouds, and highs in the low 80s.
“We literally walked in the footsteps of Paul today at Philippi. We visited the theater and the agora (marketplace) where Paul was when he visited this city on his second mission journey (Acts 16)!”
Following an incredible breakfast, we left at 7:40 and drove northeast out of Thessalonica to Philippi. We passed by Amphipolis Apollonia on the way (Acts 17:1-2). Part of this highway we took took the exact same route as the ancient Egnatia Way, the primary road used in Paul’s day.
We arrived at the archaeological site of Philippi in the mid-morning. Here we saw a number of Roman ruins, including the theater (dating actually to the 4th century BC and built by Phillip II), a few Later Roman basilicas, the agora (marketplace), and many pillars. In front of the suggested ancient prison (although it dates to the 2nd century AD though), we read from Acts 16 about the imprisonment of Paul and Silas. It is remarkable to consider they we singing praises to God during this challenging time. Following seeing the site we ate lunch on the premises.
Just outside the ancient walls of Philippi we enjoyed a stop at the Zygaktis River. Here we read from Acts 17 about the conversion of a certain Lydia of Thyatira, the seller of purple cloth. After God opened her heart, she and her household were baptized here in the river. Lydia was the first convert on European soil! We also shared a few songs together as well as visit the Greek Orthodox chapel located here.
Kavala / Neopolis
Driving the the coastline, our last stop was Kavala. In Paul’s day, this port-city was called Neopolis. Paul and his companions (Luke & Timothy) sailed into this port from Troas (in Turkey today, see Acts 16). Here we saw the modern day harbor, the monument dedicated to Paul, and the Roman aqueduct and Byzantine castle.
From here we drove back to Thessalonica along the beautiful coastline of this area of northern Greece. The ride back to our hotel took about 2 hours. We enjoyed dinner together and a free evening. Some went down to the city square to enjoy some Greek culture
DAY 4 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: THESSALONIKI, BEREA, VERGINA, KALAMBAKA