Today was our visit to Philippi – a city known for its gold mines. Thus, the city was a very prosperous one. It was founded by Philip II in 356 BCE. Following the assassination of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Octavian confronted the murderers, Brutus and Cassius, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BCE. This was one of the most significant military battles in Roman history.
We saw Roman baths at the end of a colonnaded street, basilicas on either side of the street; temples, a Roman forum, a 4th-century theater renovated for gladiatorial contests, remnants of several Christian churches, and an acropolis.
We also saw the Osios of David (5th century) – a small Christian church with mosaics depicting biblical characters. Some believe it was dedicated to the prophet Zacharias. This small building houses a rare depiction of Jesus without a beard.
Special insights: Paul visited the city in 49 or 50 CE during his second missionary journey. Silas, Timotheus, and Luke are with him. Here Paul converted Lydia to Christianity – the first convert in Europe to accept the new faith. He also healed a slave girl who worked for her owners as a fortune teller. They were angry; they dragged Paul and Silas into the marketplace, had them stripped and flogged, then thrown into the inner prison where they sang praises to God. The jailor and his household are converted. Paul finds receptivity to Christianity in this city.