December 14, 2010 // Uncategorized

St. Paul prayed with Christians in Tyre

Where is the city of Tyre where St. Paul prayed on the beach?
St. Paul was in Patara, an important city in southern ancient Asia Minor (modern Turkey) on his way to Jerusalem. At Patara he found a ship bound for Phoenicia (modern Lebanon). He boarded the ship and it stopped at Tyre, an important city of Phoenicia, where the ship had to unload cargo. Paul stayed with the Christian disciples in Tyre for a week. The Tyrians did not want Paul to go to Jerusalem, but Paul went anyway. Everybody came out of the city to see Paul’s departure. They knelt down on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea and prayed, said goodbye and Paul boarded the ship.

Tyre is mentioned in the Old Testament. Hiram, the king of Tyre, allied himself with Solomon, the king of Jerusalem in Israel. In Phoenicia were the famous cedars of Lebanon, good for building ships and temples. S. Jenkins says later on Tyre became one of the first Lebanese towns to adopt Christianity and was the seat of an archbishopric with 14 bishoprics under its control. By the 4th century A.D., a basilica was built on the site of the former Temple of Melkart. In the 12th century A.D., the Catholic Crusaders captured the city of Tyre and the surrounding fertile land. Tyre remained in Crusader hands for 167 years.

A. Jousiffe mentions some of the sites of Tyre. There is the ancient marketplace, a colonnaded road, marble Roman pavement, a rectangular arena with five rows of terraced seating cut into limestone and an extensive Roman bathhouse. Nearby are the ruins of the Crusader Cathedral.

Foundations and granite columns are all that remain. The king of Jerusalem was once crowned within the walls of this cathedral. The remains of the German king Frederick Barbarossa are reputed to be buried here.

Further away is a Roman cemetery with decorated marble and stone tombs. In this area is a huge triumphal arch, an aqueduct, the largest and best-preserved Roman stadium in the world, seating 20,000 spectators. It was used for chariot races.

In the Christian quarter of the city there are six churches reflecting Lebanon’s multitude of Christian denominations.

L. Keen says the Tyre cathedral was built by a bishop called Paulinus. This Christian church was laid out in the same pattern as the temples to Astarte and Baal. In the cathedral was supposed to have been a large marble stone on which Jesus sat during his visit to Tyre when He cured the daughter of the Phoenician woman. The body of the theologian-martyr Origen, who died in 253 A.D., is said to be buried behind the altar in the cathedral. 

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