In the Acts of the Apostles, the three separate missionary journeys and a trip to Rome of Paul the Apostle is highlighted. While the Biblical narrative ends with these adventures, other accounts state that Paul was martyred in Rome around 67 AD. For people interested in following the footsteps of religious figures, the following destinations and attractions play a role regarding the journeys of Paul.
The First Missionary Journey of St. Paul
The first missionary journey that Paul took lasted from 47 to 49 AD, and is described in Acts 13 and 14 of the Bible. On this journey, Paul traveled with Barnabas , who was one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem.
The starting point of his first mission was Antioch and Seleucia. Because of this, Antioch is known as a significant location in Christian history. It was here that Jesus’ followers were first referred to as “Christians (as seen in Acts 11:26). It was here that the Gospel of Matthew was most likely penned. The city became a center for church council meetings, and was associated with a handful of influential Christian figures throughout history, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Simeon, and preacher John Chrysostom.
A visit to Seleucia brings you to the Church at Seleucia Pieria, which is located close to Antioch. It was uncovered during the Antioch expedition in 1938 and 1939. There are plans to reconstruct the remains of the ancient church building. Today, nothing stands from the original structure, but it has produced an array of early church architecture and interesting pieces of early Christian church art. The artifacts are stored in museums.
Next, Paul went to Cyprus, which was the home of Barnabas. This destination has a long religious history that includes the likes of the Crusaders and Ottoman Turks.
In Salamis, John Mark joins Paul on his journey, where they travel to Paphos, Cyprus. It is here that the conversion of Sergius Paulus takes place. Visitors that come to Paphos will encounter the Church of St. Paul, Sanctuary of Aphrodite, and Tombs of the Kings. In Perga, John Mark leaves and Paul goes to Pisidian Antioch next, which is home to the first Gentile Christian congregation. Pisidian Antioch is a major Roman colony that highlights a significant turning point in Paul’s ministry. Today, the ruins of the colony offer important archeological features. Visitors can check out the Yalvac Archeological Museum.
According to Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas came to Pisidian Antioch traveling by way of the Via Sebaste. On the Sabbath, they were invited to speak to the congregation at a local synagogue. Their message was well received and on the following Sabbath, it was said that nearly the entire city gathered to hear them speak once more. While many embraced the word, you will find that not everyone was happy to hear what Paul had to say , in the next installment of this article, you will learn of the opposition that he encountered.