The days have been cloudy and cool, but we have hardly noticed as we move from site to site, drinking in the history of Macedonia.
We began the morning with a visit to Vergina, where the Royal Tombs of assasinated Philip II and Young Alexander (father and son of Alexander the Great) were discovered in 1977. The stunning burial wreaths (oak leaves for men, myrtle leaves for women) worked in brilliant gold caught our eyes. As Christians, our treasures are in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy...
On to Veria (or Berea...Greeks pronounce "V" as "B') where we found 3 Byzantine style mosaics dedicated to the Apostle Paul by the people of present day Berea. To our surprise, a Pauline actor appeared, dressed in a red robe and white cloak, quoting the Apostle's words with emotion. In Acts, Luke mentions in chapter 14 that "the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness, and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true..." I wondered if I was as eager to study God's Word? Do I use it as a magnifying glass to compare God's Word to man's?
Before we left the area, we stopped to use the WC at a cafe' nearby...of course, we bought an expresso and 3 small pastries so as not to take advantage of the opportunity. And what an opportunity it was...we found a curious ceramic hole in the ground to make our deposit! We were warned, and it came to pass...
On to Thessaloniki or Salonika, which in Paul's time, was a world cultural center because of it's strategic location on land and sea routes. The slave trade was common as well (...neither slave nor free...). Among Paul's first converts were "many Greeks, and not a few leading women". The incensed Jews followed Paul and Silas to trouble them, and attacked the house of Jason, which was near the city wall (still in existence in parts), close to the port. They were not found, as they had escaped to Berea to be with the Christians there. In I Thessalonians 3:3, Paul reminds the converts in the city that they should expect persecution, and commends them for their faith in I Thess 1: 7-8. In the 4th century AD, Thessalonica was a center of Christian persecution. I'd like to think that they passed on this Word to their descendants, in preparation of these future trials.
We were disappointed to find that downloading our specially chosen photos for you is impossible on the ship. I will wait till Rome, or attempt it when we return.
Dan& Vicki Del Boccio and Family
"ON THE HEELS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL"
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