Lydia’s Baptism at Philippi

March 28, 2015

We leave momentarily for Turkey. Yesterday we visited Philippi, where Lydia and her household were the first converts. Luke writes in Acts 16:

11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

West of Philippi is the Krenides River, where the women would have been gathered for prayer, and where Lydia and her household were baptized into Christ.

At Krenides River at Philippi. Setting of Acts 16.

At Krenides River at Philippi. Setting of Acts 16.


From Kalambaka Greece

March 26, 2015

Yesterday we visited Corinth, and then made the long drive to Delphi, and then made the longer drive to Kalambaka, home to the “Hanging Monasteries.”

At Delphi we were especially interested in the Galillo Inscription.

Gallio Inscription. Delphi Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Gallio Inscription. Delphi Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Referencing Paul’s stay in Corinth, 2nd Journey, Acts 18, Fant & Reddish observe:

Thanks to an inscription that was found at Delphi concerning Gallio, the Roman governor (proconsul) in Corinth, the dates for this visit can be established.  Gallio seems to have taken office in July of 51 C.E. and served only only one year. Since Paul was forced to appear before Gallio due to a complaint lodged against him by the Jewish synagogue in Corinth, he likely arrived there in early 50 C.E. and departed in late 51 or in 52 C.E.

Today we are to make our way on up to Berea and then  to Thessalonica.


Athens, cont’d.

March 25, 2015

This morning we visited the Acropolis Museum, opened to the public in 2009.

The Acropolis Museum (Greek: Μουσείο Ακρόπολης, Mouseio Akropolis) is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on its feet, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies on the archaeological site of Makrygianni and the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens (Wikipedia).

You can see archaeological excavations at the entrance to the museum.

Excavations at Entrance to Acropolis Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Excavations at Entrance to Acropolis Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Among the interesting exhibits are the original Caryatids which originally stood as support columns at the Erechtheion on the acropolis.

Original Caryatids at Acropolis Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Original Caryatids at Acropolis Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Yet another exhibit was the Brèal Cup. The inscription reads: “Olympic Games 1896. Marathon trophy donated by Michel Brèal.”

Brèal Cup at Acropolis Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Brèal Cup at Acropolis Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We were able to visit Mars Hill, and there I read Paul’s sermon in Acts 17 to our group. See previous posts here and here.

We had a “bonus” this afternoon, getting to see the changing of the guard at the royal palace.

Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace, Athens, Greece. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace, Athens, Greece. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The Evzones is a special unit of the Hellenic Army, also known as Tsoliades, who guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential Mansion. Through the historical movement of Greece, the Evzones have become symbols of bravery and courage for the Greek people. The Presidential Guard, as the unit is now called, was constituted in 1868 and has taken many names through centuries (Guard of the Flag, Royal Guard, etc). The duties of the soldiers are part of a ceremonial nature. Every soldier guards for about an hour, 3 times in total every 48 hours. Throughout these 60 minutes, they have to stand perfectly still until it is time to switch with another guard. During the changing, they work in pairs so they can perfectly coordinate their moves. The steps that the official ceremony requires at the time of changing are carried out in really slow motion to protect their blood circulation after 60 min of immobility. The soldiers of the Presidential Guard are selected according to their height, excellent physical condition and psychological state as well as character and morality, as they follow a hard training before they become part of this honorary unit. The training lasts for one month and includes exercises to keep the body and mind still. Apart from staying still, the soldiers must also not make any face or eye move and must not show any expression. Source: http://www.greeka.com

Tomorrow we are scheduled to leave early for Corinth, then on to Delphi, and from there to Kalambaka as we travel to northern Greece (biblical Macedonia) to “walk in the steps of Paul.” Thanks for following our travels.

Inside


Greetings From Athens Greece

March 24, 2015

My group arrived safely in Athens this afternoon and all of our luggage arrived as well! We are thankful.Newark seems a bit distant now.

Gathering at Newark International. Photo by Donna Keith.

Gathering at Newark International. Photo by Donna Keith.

Everyone was tired following the overnight flight. A good dinner was welcome!

Dinner at Metropolitan_IMG_0171Donna Keith

Dinner at Metropolitan in Athens. Photo by Donna Keith.

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Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Gate in Athens. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

En route to our hotel we saw the Arch of Hadrian, which was constructed in honor of the emperor following the completion of the temple of Zeus. Hadrian  walked through it the arch  to attend the dedication of the temple in AD 131. The western side of the arch has the inscription, “This is Athens, the city of Theseus.”

Tomorrow is scheduled to be an all day tour of Athens. We plan to post photos from our biblical study trip as time (and internet) permit.


The Meteora and Kalambaka

March 5, 2015

Kalambaka is a municipality in the Trikala regional unit, part of Thessaly in Greece. Today the attraction here is the Meteora monasteries which are located in the town. Meteora means “suspended rocks” (Eye Witness Travel Guide) or “things hovering in the air” (Greece, by Facaros & Theodorou); the word is etymologically related to “Meteorite.”

The Meteora has a massive cluster of natural sandstone towers which were used as early as AD 985 as a religious retreat. At least 24 monasteries were funded here; today there are six major Meteora monasteries (Greek Orthodox).

Monastery of Rousanou at Meteora, Greece. Photo by Dennis Jarvis.

Monastery of Rousanou at Meteora, Greece. Photo by Dennis Jarvis.

This group of steep, towering rocks in the center of the Plain of Thessaly is a “unique geological phenomenon”. . .”created by a series of upheavals in the earth’s crust, and the landscape is of unique interest” (Greece: Between Legend and History, p.178).

The town of Kalambaka is situated on the foot of the Meteora peaks.

Kalambaka, Greece. by Mzmona - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KAlambaka.jpg#mediaviewer/File:KAlambaka.jpg

Kalambaka, Greece. by Mzmona. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KAlambaka.jpg#mediaviewer/File:KAlambaka.jpg

While these are not biblical locations, they are sites of interest as one is in Greece visiting those places mentioned in connection with Paul’s 2nd and 3rd Journeys in Acts.


Delphi, Greece

February 17, 2015

Though Delphi is not a biblical city, this site was of great importance in antiquity. The

Seat of an important oracle and temple of Apollo at least as early as the seventh century, Delphi received pilgrims from all over Greece. She was enriched, too, as numerous city-states sent their votive gifts and erected shrines there. The Pythian Games, in honor of Apollo, were held at Delphi every four years. (Pfeiffer, The Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands).

This photo shows the theater of Delphi. At bottom center is the temple of Apollo.

Delphi Theater. Photo by Leonidtsvetkov at en.wikipedia

Delphi Theater. Photo by Leonidtsvetkov at en.wikipedia

Fant and Reddish point out,

When it is surrounded by blooming almond trees in the spring, Delphi is surely one of the most beautiful places in the world. The ancient Greeks agreed and described it as the center (literally, the navel, omphalos) of the world.

The Sacred Precinct of Delphi comprises, in addition to the temple of Apollo, an impressive theater, the Bouleuterion (council chamber) of the city, numerous treasuries of Greek cities that held valuable offerings to Apollo, and many monuments and altars. From the entrance, the Sacred Way leads uphill between the bases of monuments that celebrated military victories and more than twenty treasuries that held votive offerings. The Treasury of the Athenians (510 B.C.E.) has been reerected in the form of a Doric temple. The Temple of Apollo itself was originally built in the 7th century B.C.E.; it burned to the ground in 548 B.C.E. and was rebuilt in 531 B.C.E.  

This later temple collapsed from an earthquake in 373 B.C.E. Only the foundations of the third temple (346–320 B.C.E.) remain today.

Here is a photo of the Sanctuary of Athena. This tholos, or rotunda, was build early 4th century BC.

Sanctuary of Athens at Delphi. Photo by By KufoletoAntonio De Lorenzo and Marina Ventayol. Wikipedia.

Sanctuary of Athens at Delphi. Photo by By KufoletoAntonio De Lorenzo and Marina Ventayol. Wikipedia.

One very important artifact in the Delphi Museum is the Gallio inscription. Gallio is the Proconsul of Achaia before whom Paul stood for trial at Corinth as related in Acts 18:12ff. For a photo of this inscription click here.

Click images for larger view.


Seneca the Younger, Gallio’s Brother, Column at Corinth

February 12, 2015

Among the ruins visible today as one visits biblical Corinth, is a portion of a column bearing the name of Seneca.

Column fragment at Corinth bearing Seneca's name (Latin Ceneka). Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Column fragment at Corinth with Seneca’s name (Latin CENEKA). Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Seneca is of interest to students of Acts, because he is the brother of the Proconsul Gallio, before whom Paul stood trial at Corinth (Acts 18:12-17). Usually when Paul was brought before rulers for his gospel teaching he was promptly beaten and often imprisoned (2 Cor. 11:23-27). However here at Corinth Gallio could see that Paul was not a law-breaker, and threw the case out.

Wikipedia has this info on Seneca:

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca /ˈsɛnɪkə/; c. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature.

He was a tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, he may have been innocent. His father was Seneca the Elder, his elder brother was Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus, called Gallio in the Bible, and his nephew was the poet Lucan.

The mention of Gallio in the text (Acts 18) is helpful in dating the events at that point in the ministry of Paul.

Gallio was the proconsul [Grk. anthupatos] of the Roman senatorial province of Achaia (Acts 18:12). Proconsuls generally served two-year terms, and such appointments offered potentially great financial rewards. Achaia’s administrative center was Corinth, a newly rebuilt city at the time and a busy commercial and transport center. The city had as many as 200,000 residents, and the province of Achaia may have had several million subjects. . .

An inscription at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi indicates that Gallio’s time in Corinth may be dated to AD 51–53. Thus, Paul’s appearance before Gallio probably occurred in the spring or summer of AD 51. (The Lexham Bible Dictionary).

In an article entitled “Paul, Dating, and Corinth: The Gallio Inscription and Pauline Chronology,” Gardner Gordon wrote:

Gallio’s younger brother, Seneca, was a philosopher, and apparently an inflammatory one. In AD 41, Emperor Claudius exiled this young thinker to the isle of Corsica. Usually, such disgrace tarnished the entire family. Whatever political ambitions Gallio may have had were effectively derailed by his brainy brother’s banishment. But in AD 49, Seneca was ushered back to Rome with a grand purpose: he was placed in the imperial court as the tutor to Claudius’ nephew and royal successor, a young, impetuous Roman named Nero. Undoubtedly, it was at this time that Seneca was instrumental in helping to secure a political post of proconsul for his older brother, Gallio.

That article may be read in its entirety by clicking here.

I have several posts on biblical Corinth, with photos and brief articles. Use search box at upper right.

Click image for larger view.


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