(Part 2 of the series, Following Apostle Paul's Missionary steps, a journey taken by Shirley Jones with a group from Christ Community Church)
After our first two days of traveling, following the beginning of Paul’s second half of his second missionary journey, we had an enjoyable time visiting various sites. We saw Thessaloniki's agora, the Church of St. Demetrius, the Museum of Archaeology, the Byzantine Museum and the Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda. This is where Paul established the Church of Thessaloniki (Acts 17:1-9) and later wrote two letters to the Thessalonians.
We had an afternoon to explore modern-day Thessaloniki’s town square, shop and have lunch. The open market was most fascinating and certainly quite different than our U.S. markets.
Our next day's stop in Berea, in Greek, spelled Veria
, we continued Paul’s second missionary journey. Here Paul preached in the synagogue (Acts 17:10-14
) where “they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore, many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.“
It was interesting to visit an 1850 Jewish synagogue in the Jewish quarter of Berea that is the oldest in Northern Greece and one of the oldest in Europe.
From Berea, we temporarily deviated from Paul’s second missionary journey where he left and went to Athens. We turned Southwest and traveled 172 miles to Actium on the west coast of Greece. We drove past Actium where Octavian Augustus defeated Anthony and Cleopatra in the famous battle of 31 B.C. Shortly after Octavian Augustus defeated them, the city of Nicopolis (“City of Victory”) was established in 29 B.C.
Visiting Nicopolis gave us the privilege of visiting the ruins of the Roman province where Paul spent the winter sometime between 64-66 A.D.; this was between his first and second Roman imprisonments. Paul had invited Titus, a beloved disciple and fellow worker in spreading the gospel, to join him in Nicopolis (Titus 3:12).
As we drove to Nicopolis, we could see parts of a Roman aqueduct that ran from a spring at the Larous River (35 miles north of Nicopolis) to the nymphaeum in Nicopolis (Roman sanctuary/gathering place dedicated to the worship of the water nymph gods).
This aqueduct was built by Octavian Augustus to solve the problems of supplying water to Nicopolis. The amazing aqueduct, part of which is still maintained for use today, certainly did require advanced, technical expertise and precise skills of the laborers who built it.
The amazing fortifications and remains of buildings with their intricate, intact tile floors display the phenomenal abilities of the artisans hired to build the city. Today one can view the theater, stadium, gymnasium, odeion, and see where the aqueduct ends at the nymphaeum.
Prevesa, the Greek city only four miles from Nicopolis, was where our group spent the night. We had free time to walk through the many quaint side streets of the city, stroll to the bay and we all enjoyed a pleasant evening walk to the shoreline where we dined together.
(Next week, read the continued journey of Shirley and the group that explored first century artifacts.)