August 11, 2010 // Uncategorized

St. Paul follows call to preach Gospel

Where is the town of Troas, where St. Paul had a vision?
The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament says St. Paul had been traveling through ancient Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and he came to the town of Troas. Here he had a vision of a man from Macedonia who said, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After this vision, St. Paul immediately made efforts to set out for sea to cross over to Macedonia in Europe, because he concluded that God wanted him to preach the Gospel there.

Troas is a port city in northwestern Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea from which you can sail to Europe by staying close to the land. Troas is now called Alexandria Troas. Troas is south of the famous site of ancient Troy.

A. Edmonds says the ancient historian Strabo calls Troas a renowned city. It had a good but artificial harbor that helped it become a thriving commercial center. Sadly, the city was also easily plundered. At Troas you see the city walls, theater, stadium, bath and a cemetery.

St. Paul, with many companions, returned to Troas for a second stay of one week. Here we see St. Paul and the early Christians celebrating Mass on Sunday, since Christ rose from the dead on Sunday. On this occasion St. Paul reached a really long sermon, since he wanted to get everything in, for he was planning to depart the next day. A young boy Eutychus was sitting on the window sill and he became so drowsy that he fell asleep and then fell from the third story window ledge to the ground. When they picked Eutychus up, he was dead. St. Paul hurried down and clutched the boy saying, “There is life in him.” The people rejoiced that the boy was alive and St. Paul went back upstairs to continue talking. In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul says he left his cloak and books at Troas, and wanted Timothy to return them.

In sailing to Macedonia, St. Paul put out to sea from Troas and set a course straight for Samothrace, a Greek island in the northeast Aegean Sea. Its population today is about 4,000. It is famous for sponge fisheries. Its prominent peak of 5,577 feet is the highest on any of the Aegean islands. This island displayed the famous sculpture Nike of Samothrace that commemorated a naval victory at Cyprus. The statue is now shown in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

The next day St. Paul sailed to Neapolis, an ancient city of Macedonia that served as the port for the large city of Philipp that St. Paul wanted to visit. The town hall of Neapolis contains a small archaeological collection. O. Meinardus says the Church of St. Paul was built here in 1928 to commemorate St. Paul’s arrival. Behind the church is a column drum imbedded in the sidewalk, which some consider the spot where St. Paul stepped ashore. Neapolis is near the modern city of Kavalla with a population of over 56,000. It exports tobacco and has a beautiful view of the gulf and boats. At Neapolis, St. Paul first put his feet on the continent of Europe where he would now preach the Gospel.

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