Mission trips are fine

Paul's 3rd missionary journey

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In the year 52 Paul set out on his third missionary journey, the starting point was again Antioch - today's Antakya. He traveled through again to strengthen the congregations there (Acts 18, 23), although this time the route remains completely open and only the end point Ephesus is clear (Acts 19, 1).

=> Paul in Ephesus


Ephesus around the year 50

Paul in Ephesus

After Paul's arrival in Ephesus, he received the news that after his first short stay in Corinth, Apollos had appeared there and taught about Jesus - but without being in possession of the Holy Spirit, only with the teaching of John's baptism of repentance. Apollos confused the church in Corinth - see Church development in Corinth. Some of his followers also came to Ephesus (Acts 18, 24-19, 3). Paul now enlightened the confused men, gave them the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and baptized them in the name of Jesus (Acts 19: 4-7).

Paul then taught for three months in the synagogue in Ephesus, then for two years - because he was - in the classroom of a tyrann; all this time he apparently lived with Priscilla and her husband Aquila. Through Paul's work, Jews and Greeks were converted far beyond the city in the whole province of Asia; Relics of touch from Paul also healed the distant sick. In Ephesus Paul wrote his letters to the churches in Galatia, Philippi and the letters to Corinth and the letter to Philemon. When Jewish expellers of demons appealed to Paul, they were exposed and exposed by the Holy Spirit, which strengthened the faith of the community and drove the followers of the false teachers to repent; they burned their erroneous books - worth 50,000 drachmas, according to today's value around 100,000 €! So the faith and the number of the church members increased steadily (Acts 19, 13-20).

Timothy and Erastus, who had been converted in Corinth, who was now staying with Paul in Ephesus, he sent to Macedonia - probably also to help the difficult congregation of Thessaloniki again. In Paul himself the plan matured to work again in Greece and then to travel to the capital Rome (Acts 19, 21f). But first it was a matter of overcoming resistance in Ephesus; Paul’s remark in 1 Corinthians that he was in Ephesus testifies to its violence. Several stays in prison, of which Paul reports (2 Corinthians 11, 23), apparently fall during this time; In prison he was visited by the runaway slave Onesimus, whom he sent back to his owner Philemon, but who asked for his release. Finally there was a riot caused by the silversmith Demetrius: he saw his trade - selling Artemis devotional items - in danger through Paul; Paul's companions Gaius and Aristarchus were dragged into the theater; for Paul this was prevented by influential friends; It boiled in the amphitheater, culminating in the two-hour praise of Artemis, who was only cooled down by the town clerk (Acts 19, 23-40). For Paul this tumult was a reason to say goodbye and to travel on as planned.

=> Paul in Macedonia and Greece

Church development in Ephesus

The long-term work evidently resulted in a committed, well-structured congregation with which Paul remained particularly connected (Acts 20:17). Paul's traveling companions Trophimus and Tychicus came from the congregation. But further persecutions did not fail to materialize, Priscilla and Aquila apparently returned to Rome for this reason (Romans 16, 3f). The importance of the congregation shows that Timothy, highly esteemed by Paul, was sent to Ephesus by him (Philippians 2:19) and was probably also installed as the city's first bishop (1st and 2nd Timothy). Paul's later co-worker Onesimus (Colossians 4, 9) is said to have been Timothy 's successor in the office of bishop; According to tradition, he was martyred by stoning in Ephesus.

According to widespread tradition, Mary also fell asleep near Ephesus; the Marienhaus near Ephesus, which is also venerated by Muslims, is six kilometers south of the excavations of Ephesus. According to tradition, after his imprisonment on Patmos, John also went to Ephesus, where he was accordingly received with great honor, wrote his Gospel and raised the just deceased == Drusiana from death; in the end he climbed into the grave next to the altar of the church that was later consecrated to him in front of everyone and died in great light. In the tradition of the Orthodox Church, Ephesus is also the place of death of Mary Magdalene. No other place knows such an abundance of important early Christian people.

The first of the seven letters to churches in the Book of Revelation (2, 1 - 7) is ascribed to the church in Ephesus: she praises her perseverance and zeal in faith and that she was initially not influenced by false apostles; but now this loyalty to faith has evaporated and must be regained; but at least the congregation resisted the seductions of - an otherwise unknown sect that disregarded fundamental purity laws that also apply to Christians (Revelation (2, 14f). The congregation remained lively, as evidenced by that of Justinus the martyr, for example It is said to be the recording of a discussion that actually took place in Ephesus around 150, in which a bridge between Jews and Christianity was attempted. Although the city lost its glamor and importance due to the silting up of the port, it remained important for Christianity Legend has it that the Cave of the Seven Sleepers was discovered near Ephesus in 438. The seminal council took place here in 431. One of the participants was Achatius, another Anatolius, the Patriarch of Constantinople - today's Ístanbul. From the 6th century is still a bishop Abraham was significant. With the decline of the city, the community also disappeared - on the nearby mountain Galesios - today's Alamandağ near Belevi north of Selçuk - a monastery was built that preserved memories; his abbot was Josef I in the 13th century ..

Ephesus tourist

Macedonia and Greece

Paul in Macedonia and Greece

Paul set out from Ephesus for Macedonia to visit and encourage the churches there and then to travel on to southern Greece, where he stayed for three months (Acts 20: 1-3). There - probably in Corinth and Kenchreä - today ruins near Corinth - he wanted to embark to return to Antioch, but one of the Jews prevented this (Acts 20: 3). He now sent his companions Lukas, Sosipater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Timotheus from Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus ahead and traveled again through Macedonia and then via Philippi from the port in Neapolis - today's Kavala - by ship to (Alexandria) Troas - today ruins near Dalyan - where his friends were waiting for him and stayed with him for a week (Acts 20: 4-6).

=> Paul in Troas


Troad around the year 50

Paul in Troas

On a Sunday Paul celebrated the Lord's Supper with his companions and the congregation in Troas - today ruins near Dalyan; he would give a farewell speech that ended after midnight. Because of Paul's long sermon and the smoke of the oil lamps, the young man Eutychus fell asleep, fell out of the window on the third floor of the house and was dead; But Paul brought him to life, the sermon and the Lord's Supper continued (Acts 20: 7-12). Second Timothy still remembers a cloak that Paul left behind in Troas and which was now to be brought to Rome. Paul soon left Troas again; it (2 Corinthians 2:12), but he had no rest because he missed Titus.

=> Paul in Miletus

Community development in Troas

There is no further information in the New Testament about the further development of the church. In 2nd Timothy (4, 13) Paul only mentions that he left his cloak behind with a certain Carpus. Ignatius of Antioch lived for some time on his extradition trip to Rome in Alexandria Troas and wrote three of the Ignatius letters named after him there. Constantine “the Great” considered making Troas the new capital of the Roman Empire, but chose Byzantium - today's Ístanbul.

Troas tourist


Miletus around the year 50

The ancient city of Miletus - today ruins near Balat - with its four ports had its greatest heyday from the 8th to 6th centuries BC. Already behind. At that time it was the most important metropolis in the Greek world, ruled 90 colonies and also exercised cultural hegemony: the miletic alphabet replaced all others. Thales, Anaximenes and Anaximander, who are considered the founders of natural science and philosophy, worked in Miletus: all three were looking for the primary substance of all being in water, in the air or in the indefinite. Thales set up doctrines for the calculation of geometric shapes, pyramids and solar eclipses, Plato called him one of them. Anaximenes explored the relationships between humans and the cosmos. Anaximander invented the sundial, created a nautical map and calculated the sky dome. Around 500 he was active in Hecataeus, who was referred to as and through the creation of family trees and collection of heroic sagas, with his descriptions obtained on research trips, and was also the teacher of Herodotus.

Miletus was the driving force behind the revolt of the Greek cities against the Persians, but the defeat of 494 BC. Chr. Led to the destruction of the city. Miletus was rebuilt with the order principle of the chessboard, around 450 the city was home to the first female philosopher in history, Aspasia, the wife and advisor to Pericles. After the conquest by Alexander the Great in 334 BC. The city was able to keep its autonomy, even in Roman times it was promoted.

Paul in Miletus

Paul's companion traveled by ship from Troas to the port of Assos - today's Behramkale, he himself took the land route to this city. From there everyone went by ship to the island of Samos and immediately on to Miletus. Because they had sailed past Ephesus due to lack of time, he had them come to Miletus to give them his farewell address - there were no more such churches in the churches founded by Paul than those mentioned in v. 28. (Acts 20: 13-17). Luke again reports in an ideal-typical way according to the Hellenistic model about the calling together of the disciples, the review of the life's work of the apostle and the outlook on the difficult time to come - v. a. the challenge of false teachers - which will be met without Paul, but with God's help (Acts 20, 18-35). After prayer and a sorrowful farewell, Paul and his family boarded the ship that was to take them to the Holy Land (Acts 20, 36-21, 1).

=> Paul in Tire

Community development in Miletus

Nothing is known of a community; after 2 Timothy, Trophimus stayed behind in Miletus because he was sick (4, 20). Later the martyr Achatius died there. The builder of the famous church at that time in Byzantium - today's Ístanbul -, Isidoros, came from Miletus, as did his nephew of the same name, who rebuilt the huge dome that had collapsed in 550. Miletus was the seat of a bishop until the Ottoman invasion in 1424.

Miletus tourist

The excavations make it possible to visit the amphitheater with 30,000 seats, the huge ruins of the Faustina baths from the 2nd century, the remains of the temple for Apollon Delphinos and the remains of the lion statues that adorn it and the remains of the harbor hall. There is also a lot to see from the large synagogue from the 4th century and the Michael’s Church built over a Dionysus temple, as well as the bishop’s palace from the 6th century decorated with mosaics. The Ilyas Bey Mosque was built on the site from around 14,000 ancient stones.

Theaters and excavations in Miletus can be visited freely. The museum next to it is open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., admission is € 2. (2013)


Tire around the year 50

Tire - today's Sur in Lebanon - was already in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. An important trading metropolis, the trade covered the entire Mediterranean. 988 BC The sending of men and material for the construction of the temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem is reported. With the strengthening of the New Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC BC Tire was subject to tribute and increasingly lost its political independence, but not its economic power. 332 BC The city was conquered and partially destroyed by the Macedonians, and its slow decline began. Jesus had already visited the city and thus consciously crossed the borders of the Holy Land before he set out on his way to Jerusalem.

Paul in Tire

After the emotional farewell in Miletus, the ship brought Paul via the islands of Kos and Rhodes and Patara in Asia Minor - today ruins near Kalkan - to Tire (Acts 21, 1 - 3). He stayed with the local community for a week; They warned him, with apparently wise premonition, to travel to Jerusalem, but he insisted on his plan and was moved with a farewell (Acts 21: 4-6).

=> Paul in Caesarea

Church development in Tire

Jesus was already active in the north as far as Tire (Gospel of Mark 7:24). The further development is in the dark. Origen died here in 254 after he was captured and tortured during the persecution of Christians in Caesarea, but was then initially released again. The martyr Theodora came from the community. Around 300, Frumentius, who later became the Patriarch of Ethiopia, was born here. A church was consecrated around 315, with Eusebius giving a speech as Bishop of Caesarea.

After the defeats at the 2nd Crusade, the only remaining stronghold for the crusaders was Tire in 1187.

Tire tourist

Several larger structures were built by the Romans, some of which are still preserved today in the huge archaeological excavation site.


Caesarea around the year 50

At that time Caesarea was the actual capital of the country, Jerusalem essentially only a place of worship. Herod the Great had 31 BC. The city was given as a gift, magnificently expanded and renamed in honor of its Roman emperor.

Paul in Caesarea

Paul set out from Tire - today's Sur - and traveled via Ptolemais / Akko, where he stayed with the congregation for a day, to Caesarea, where he was received in the house of Philip for several days (Acts 21, 7f). Agabus, a spiritually gifted man, came from Judea and prophesied that Paul would be captured in Jerusalem. Paul's companion Luke and the representatives of the congregation asked him not to start on the way to the holy city; but he expressed his readiness for martyrdom and set off, accompanied by representatives of the community. After a rest with a fellow believer named Mnason, they arrived at their destination (Acts 21, 10-17). Paul consciously followed in the footsteps of Jesus, who also announced his suffering for the first time in Caesarea (Gospel of Matthew 16.13.21). After the actual arrest, the tumult of the people, the trial before the high council of the temple priests and an impending assassination attempt, the colonel of the Roman military, Claudius Lysias, had him transferred to the fortress of Caesarea of ​​the governor Felix for safety (Acts 21, 18 - 23, 35).

After a trial in which the high priest and council members appeared as witnesses and his defense speech in which Paul emphasized his roots in the Jewish faith, governor Felix postponed the sentence; Paul remained in captivity. This lasted for two years; During this time Felix and his wife Drusilla had several conversations with Paul, whose message apparently found their interest. After Porcius Festus took over the office as the new governor, he also carried out a negotiation with the participation of the representatives of the Jerusalem Temple, at the end of which Paul insisted on his rights as a Roman citizen and demanded an appointment hearing from the emperor in Rome. Festus referred the matter to King Agrippa and his wife Berenice. After another impressive defense speech by the apostle, he decided to have Paul brought to the capital of the world empire so that the matter could be decided there. (Acts 24, - 27.1)

Community development in Caesarea

When Jesus was in Caesarea with his disciples, Peter made his confession there: whereupon Jesus gave and gave him the name of honor on which he would build his church (Matthew 16: 13-19). Philip, appointed by the apostles to be one of the seven deacons of the early church in Jerusalem, worked as a messenger of faith in the area around Caesarea (Acts 8:40). His four daughters, including Hermione, had the gift of speaking in tongues by inspiration (Acts 21: 9), so they were also involved in the preaching of the faith. The captain of the Roman army in Caesarea, Cornelius, called on a vision the apostle Peter, who baptized Cornelius and his relatives and friends as the first non-Jews. According to tradition, he then became Bishop of Caesarea and died a martyr around 60. In this way, an important Christian community had grown in Caesarea even before Paul.

Theophilos is known as the bishop of Caesarea in the 2nd century; the first bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia - today's Kayseri - was Alexander from Caesarea in the 3rd century.A large number of martyrs from the community became known, including Romanus, Fortunata, Apphianus, Theodora, Elias, Pamphilus or Gordius; This is due not least to the fact that the important church historian and after the end of the persecution around 312 Bishop of Caesarea, Eusebius, was particularly close to her fate.

Caesarea tourist

In Caesarea, of the buildings of Herod, the amphitheater, parts of the city wall and the port facility can be visited today. The remains of a huge basilica consecrated to Paul and built by the Crusaders on the foundations of a mosque are impressive; because it was too big, the vaults collapsed as soon as they were built.

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Author: Joachim Schäfer - last updated on 08/05/2019
cite correctly: Joachim Schäfer: Article
The German National Library lists the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints in the German National Bibliography; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://d-nb.info/1175439177 and http://d-nb.info/969828497.

• Paul's Travels. Catholic Biblical Works Stuttgart n.d. (2000)