Day 3 – April 2
We departed from the hotel in Kavala (ancient Neopolis) after a wonderful sunrise and breakfast overlooking the Aegean Sea. After briefly stopping to see the Church of St. Nicolas and the aqueduct in this port city, we drove about 30 minutes to traditional Bapistry of Lydia (Acts 16). She was the “woman of purple” who lived in Philippi. On Paul’s second mission journey (50-53 AD), she responded to the Gospel message and was baptized in the river.
The ancient site of Philippi includes many structures one would expect to find in any Roman city – a forum, agora (marketplace), bathhouses, and a theater. Philippi is a huge site located prominently on the Via Egnatia, a 600 mile-long ancient road connecting Constantinople (Istanbul today) with Macedonia. This city named after Phillip II (Alexandria the Great’s father) and is fairly-well preserved archaeologically. One structure, although only traditional, is identified as the “prison cell” of Paul and Silas. It was here where songs of praise were heard at midnight (Acts 16). As a result, the jailor and his household become converted to Christ. While this is probably not an ancient prison, it’s amazing to read this transformational event within the city of Philippi!
From here we drove about 2 hours along the ancient highway to Thessaloniki (biblical Thessalonica). Reading again from Acts, we recalled how Paul preached here for three weeks on the Sabbath to the Jewish community here. Some Jews and God-fearing gentiles accepted the kingdom message, while others opposed it, causing Paul to seek the refuge of the house of Jason. From here, Paul would leave for Athens.
As for us, we boarded the bus and drove another 3.5 hours through a more mountainous inland area of Greece to Kalambaka. This is where the famous Meteora monasteries are located. Seeing them from a distance, we are looking forward to climbing up to one of the six monasteries tomorrow. We arrived at our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 – April 3
We plan to see the famous Meteora monasteries in Kalambaka, and then drive to Athens.