As Paul made his way to Philippi back in the first century, he’d have very likely walked right past the Lion of Amphipolis. It was 400 years old by the time he traveled the Ignatian Way through Amphipolis on his way from Philippi to Thessolonica ().
The lion was most likely built to honor Laomedon, a champion of Alexander the Great who eventually became the governor of Syria. Xerxes I, King of Persia (husband of Esther) also passed this way during his invasion of Greece. (If you want to learn more history about Xerxes and this area, don’t bother with the movie “300”. It’s silly. But Xerxes did get defeated in this area by King Leonidas of Sparta.)
The church in Philippi was the first church in Europe to be mentioned in the book of Acts.
Click here for a GoogleMap of the area.
|On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there. A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul.
After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
This is the gate to the church that honors the place where Lydia was baptized.
|The church has some Roman tombs outside.|
|Here’s the spot where Lydia was baptized in the Zygaktis (Krenides) river.|
|The water is a lot cleaner than it looks in this photo. Lots of clean water in this area of Greece.|
|A few feet away from the spot where Lydia was baptized is what looks like the remains of a Roman road.|
|There was some sort of fortress on the top of the mountain in the distance.|
|Inside the Church of Lydia.|
|The domed ceiling. They like domed ceilings over there.|
17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. (ESV)
13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. (ESV)