An unexpected rainy day that deserves 2 photo collages. We began our morning on the coast in Kavala just 10 kilometers from the ancient city of Phillippi. I got up early for a short jog on the sea wall and had a lovely time except the few hundred meters being chased by the unclaimed dogs of the town. Apparently a good shout and calmly (and quickly) moving away and returning another way calms the canine horde.
We then headed to the ancient city stopping first at the town of Lydia and the chapel and baptismal site of Lydia, the first European convert (Acts 16). There we had a remembrance of baptism liturgy using water from the same stream where Lydia was baptized. We also remembered those who had been with, or should have been with, some of our group in the Holy Land in 2016 who have since claimed the promise of their baptism.
We toured in the rain the ancient city of Phillippi. Visiting the historically recognized prison of St.Paul and Silas (Acts 16) recognizing the inherent dangers of preaching a new word in an established culture and religious climate. We then visited the octagon church dating from the 4th century and it’s cross shaped baptistry and fresco with dedication to Paul.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a traditional local Taverna in Doxato before heading to Thessaloniki. We had a city tour including the white tower and statue of Alexander the Great on the water front. Then we climbed the hills to the old city and saw the vista from the traditional place where Paul is said to have preached for the first time in Thessaloniki.
Our last stop was St. Demetrius Church. Demetrius was a Roman soldier who rose to pro-consul of the city of Thessaloniki. He then converted to Christianity in the early 4th century. When persecution returned he refused to recant and was run through with spears. His martyrdom is a source of encouragement and civic pride in this city that has seen many challenges to their Orthodox faith.
Tomorrow we travel to Vergina and the burial mound of Alexander’s father Phillip (the namesake of Phillippi). Then to Meteora where we will see the monasteries built on impregnable cliffs where Christian leaders waited out persecution. #NTNL #BWTX #InMissionTogether