March 8, 2011 // Uncategorized

St. Paul visits Greek Islands

Where are the islands Cos and Rhodes that St. Paul visited?
St. Paul was heading to Jerusalem from Miletus. On his way he stopped at the Greek island of Cos (modern Kos) situated off a peninsula in southwestern Turkey. Kos has 9,000 inhabitants today and is the birthplace of Hippocrates who was a medical doctor there. From him we derive the Hippocratic Oath for doctors.

Baedeker says at Kos you see the sanctuary of Asklepios, son of Apollo, which was a center of treatment and healing. By this sanctuary are Roman baths and a fountain. Fifteen miles from this sanctuary you can see a castle of the Knights of St. John and an early Christian church.

Rhodes is also a Greek island off the southwest coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea with 30,000 inhabitants today. In the Middle Ages Rhodes was conquered by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.

O. Meinardus says that as St. Paul’s ship sailed into the harbor Rhodes, he would have seen the remains of the famous Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, that collapsed during an earthquake in 225 B.C. A tradition says that St. Paul appointed Prochorus, one of the seven deacons in the Acts of the Apostles, as the bishop of Rhodes.

Another harbor on the southeast coast of the island is called “St. Paul’s Harbor.” A small barrel-vaulted chapel commemorates St. Paul’s preaching there. Another tradition says that St. Silas, a prophet and leader among the brethren in the Acts of the Apostles, healed a paralytic at the village of Sorone, 20 miles southwest of the city of Rhodes. So the villagers accepted Christianity and built a church in honor of St. Silas.

Phaidon mentions the sites today in the capital city of Rhodes. There is part of a 3rd century B.C. Temple of Aphrodite and a Temple of Dionysos and the remains of the ancient city walls. Southwest of the capital is the sacred precinct with an ancient acropolis with the remains of a Temple of Zeus and Athena. South of the acropolis are three 3rd century B.C. columns still standing on the foundations of the Temple of Apollo.

Nearby are a restored 2nd century B.C. stadium and theater for 800 spectators. This was used as a lecture auditorium for the school of philosophy. Nearby are nymph shrines with niches and statues.

When I was in Rhodes, I admired the “Hospital of the Knights of St. John,” a large building dating from 1440-89 that was used for the care of the sick and pilgrims. Nearby is the “Palace of the Grand Masters,” a restored 14th-century palace, used as a citadel within the city walls. This palace has a huge entrance with two towers and battlements. There is also a 15th century “Archbishop’s Palace.” In the city of Lindos on the island of Rhodes is a famous Temple of Athena from 330 B.C.

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