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  GREECE January 2004
 Talbot Bible Lands Tour    
(NASB) Scripture
Acts 17:1
Paul at Thessalonica
1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.
Acts 17:11
Paul at Berea
11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Acts 17:13
Paul at Berea
13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds.
Acts 27:2
Paul Is Sent to Rome
2 And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.
Phil. 4:16
God's Provisions
16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
2 Tim. 4:10
Personal Concerns
10 for Demas, having loved this present world[2][Or age ], has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

"Paul addressed two letters to the Thessalonians mainly dealing with the return of Christ, probably written from Corinth.

They traveled by way of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica Acts 17:1.  We drove near Amphipolis but did not visit.  Amphipolis was a colony of Athens, of strategic importance, near the Strymon river, Lake Volvi, and the Pangaion gold mines.  Amphipolis was founded in 438/ 437 BC.  The city is intersected by the Via Egnatia  In 442 BC Amphipolis broke away from its mother city, Athens, and remained independent until its incorporation into the kingdom of Macedonia by Philip II in 357 BC.   After the Roman conquest of Macedonia (168 BC) Amphipolis was made the capital of Macedonia Prima, one of the four divisions into which Macedonia was divided. There are ruins of four basilicas and one church dating from the 5th and 6th centuries AD.  The lion of Amphipolis is a burial monument dating to the 4th century BC. It probably belonged to Laomedon, a general and close friend of Alexander the Great.[1] Apollonia is near the present day village of Nea Apollonia, another city on the Via Egnatia, about 30 miles west of Amphipolis.[2]

Paul then traveled another 45 miles to Thessalonica (modern Thessaloniki), the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia at the head of the Thermaic Gulf.  In 42 BC it was declared a free city. It became a Roman colony again in 250 AD, and in 297 the Emperor Galerius chose it as his seat of government and built his royal palace there. [3]  The church of St. Demetrius was built in the 5th century on the site of Roman baths, where according to tradition the saint was martyred in 303 AD.


(modern day Thessaloniki)

Arch of Galerius* 300 A.D. emperor in Thessaloniki

The main site we visited was the Ancient Agora in the square formed by Philippou, Olympou, Agnostou Stratioti, and Karbola Streets.  This marketplace was first used in the 3rd century BC and much of it served as the administrative center in the 2nd century A.D.  The other site was the Basilica of St. Demetrius built around 4-5th century.  At one time it was a mosque but restored to Christian. Inside it was lovely. Some parts date back to the 5th century. We went to the crypt downstairs. Before the Basilica was built this was the Roman baths and administration buildings.  A number of artifacts were displayed. There is also a holy display of the remains of St. Demitrius.

Basilica the term derives from the spice basil and meant pertaining to the king because of its sweet aroma. A basilica was a Roman administrative building. Later Christians adopted the architectural form of the basilica for their churches. A basilica is characterized by a main nave and side isles.

Narthex derives from a splint for a broken bone. An unbaptized person had to remain in the narthex.

Byzantine -- derives from Byzas who in the 7th century AD was the founder of the city of Byzantium (Constantinople or Istanbul). In 330 AD the Roman Emperor, Constantine transferred the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium and renamed the city. Constantinople. Thus a Greek city became the capital of the Roman empire. The period known at the Byzantine era is from 330 until 1453 when the Turks defeated the Greeks. In 396 the emperor Theodosius split the empire into two: the eastern empire (capital at Constantinople) and the western empire (capital at Rome). The eastern empire was Greek. Latin was forgotten and the church of the East developed a special emphasis on church art or icon painting.


Saint Demetrius was a third-century man born of wealthy and devout parents. His father was the commander of the army at Thessalonica who, upon his death, insured that his only son, Demetrius, would succeed him as commander. It seemed that at this point in his life, Demetrius had everything he could ever hope for: wealth, a promising career, the admiration of countless men and the respect of the Emperor. He was made Duke of Thessali.

Thessaloniki is the 2nd largest city of Greece and the capital city of the region of Macedonia.  The city of Thessalonica enjoyed the advantages of a strategic location. The famous Via Egnatia (Egnatian Way), spanning Macedonia from east to west, passed through the walls of the city. This important Roman highway facilitated  travel and commerce  between Rome and her eastern provinces.  Thessalonica was the largest city of Macedonia. It has been estimated that during Pauls time its population may have been as high as 200,000. The majority of the inhabitants were Greeks, but there was also a mixture of other ethnic groups, including Jews (according to Acts 17:1-10).

class="style3"Thessaloniki was founded by Cassander, king of Macedonia in 315 BC  The city is named after his wife, Alexander the Great's half sister.  It became the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia in 148 BC and an important harbor. Paul arrived in Thessalonica in 50 A.D. on his second missionary journey    Another large Jewish population settled in Thessaloniki in the beginning of the 16th century and their descendants suffered in the Holocaust.  

class="style3"At about 300 A.D. tetrarch Galerius Maximianus transferred the capital of his province to Thessalonica, and had a series of new buildings constructed.

Thessaloniki, is a modern industrial port, partly protected by impressive city walls.  There is a large   Archaeological Museum, housing the Treasures of Ancient Macedonia. On the seafront, there is the  16th-century White Tower, built by the Ottomans as part of the citys defense system.  The main ancient sites are the Arch of Galerius built in AD 297, and the ruins of the Roman Agora.

Southeast of Thessaloniki are the three mountainous peninsulas of Halkidiki: Kassandra, Sithonia and Agio Oros (Mount Athos).

Thessaloniki is 318 miles from Athens.

class="style3"However, there was one thing in the life of Demetrius that was more important than all these things: his love for Jesus Christ. Demetrius' secret Christianity was exposed when the Emperor ordered Demetrius, as commander of the army, to slaughter all Christians in Thessalonica. When the saint refused, the Emperor threatened him with imprisonment and execution.


Demetrius joyfully accepted his fate and would not waver. He gave away all his wealth and possessions to the poor and then allowed himself to be imprisoned and executed for his faith.  Another account says he gave a blessing and prayer to a champion who then killed a favorite of the Emperor while imprisoned in the Roman bath and so was executed.

Ancient Agora with arches*
Thessalonicaforum2.JPG Thessalonicarotundaemperormausoleum.JPG
Rotunda, emperor's mausoleum*
Th Forum.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 2.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 4.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 3.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 10.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 14.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 17.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 19.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 20.JPG
Ancient Agora
Th Forum 22.JPG
Arcade of Cryptoporticus below the Ancient Agora
Th Forum - Odeum 2.JPG
Th Forum - Odeum 7.JPG
Corridor of the Ancient Agora
Th Forum - Odeum 9.JPG
Odeion, the orchestra was covered with a special glass floor during restoration, so that the earlier phase of the chamber of deputies can be seen. 
Th Forum - Odeum 10.JPG
Odeion Theater with glass floor
Th Forum - Odeum 11.JPG
Odeion Theater with glass floor
Thessaloniki 007.JPG
Arcade of Cryplporticus exhibit below the Ancient Agora
Thessaloniki 008.JPG
Arcade of Cryplporticus exhibit below the Ancient Agora
Thessaloniki 010.JPG
Arcade of Cryplporticus exhibit below the Ancient Agora
Church of St Demetrius* 
Th Church 3.JPG
Church of St Demetrius
Th Church 5.JPG
Church of St Demetrius
Roman bath 5.JPG
Church of St Demetrius down in the Roman forum below the church
Roman bath 4.JPG
Church of St Demetrius down in the Roman forum below the church
Roman bath 7.JPG
Church of St Demetrius down in the Roman forum below the church
Roman bath 9.JPG
Church of St Demetrius down in the Roman forum below the church
ThessalonicaChurchStDemetriusRoman street.JPG
Church of St Demetrius down in the Roman forum below the church*
Roman bath 2.JPG
Church of St Demetrius down in the Roman forum or bath below the church, where Demetrius was imprisoned and martyred
Thessaloniki 022.JPG
Coins and jewelry in the Archeological Museum
Thessaloniki 023.JPG
Gold crown in the Archeological Museum
Thessaloniki 024.JPG
Brass vase in the Archeological Museum
Thessaloniki 025.JPG
Gold crown in the Archeological Museum
Thessaloniki 020.JPG
Helmet in the Archeological Museum
Thessaloniki 018.JPG
Gold crown and coins in the Archeological Museum
Aerial photograph of Toumba in the Archeological Museum
Thessaloniki 028.JPG
Battle of Troy painting in the Archeological Museum

[1] Hellinic Ministry of Culture: Amphipolis

[2] Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles, 69

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