We began the morning in Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is a massive Greek port city on the site of the ancient city of Thessalonica. It has been constantly inhabited since ancient times passing through the hands of the Byazantine and Ottoman empires. Today it is the second largest city in Greece and the largest university town in Greece, as well.
One of the monuments we saw is the White Tower, an Ottoman reconstruction of an earlier Byzantine structure. At one time it was a notorious prison painted white to cover the blood stains running down its walls. Today it is a modern museum of Thessalonica.
The next stop was Philippi. Philippi owes its name to Philip of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great) who took it from the Thracians and named it after himself. We began our visit with a stop at a traditional site for the baptism of Lydia, one of the first converts in Europe after Paul crossed over from Asia Minor (Acts 16:11-15). The spot on the “river” (actually not much more than a stream) is prominently marked and also on site is a Greek Orthodox church in her honor. While we were there we wittnessed the baptism of a number of people. Mike climbed down into the river and several of us were able to “reaffirm” our own Baptisims.
Our next stop was the site of the ancient city of Philippi, and this is where we will pick up on Part Three! Stay Tuned!