Guided Ancient Philippi & St. Lydia's Baptismal Church by Private Vehicle
Standing for long periods of time might occur. Non professional cameras allowed. Uneven surfaces and steps involved. Expect to climb 50+ steps.
Tour Participation Requirements
The course of world history forever changed in Philippi twice and you're about to uncover the dramatic events that changed it in this little-known part of Greece, next to a plain appropriately called Drama.
The Battle of Philippi was the final fight in a series of battles that followed Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C. Here Mark Antony and Octavian confronted the assassins Brutus and Cassius along with, all together, almost half a million legionnaires and auxiliary troops. Facing defeat, Brutus and Cassius chose a brutal death over surrender, walking slowly toward an enemy line bristling with thrusting swords and spears. With resistance crushed, the Antony and Octavian now controlled the entire Roman Republic.
A decade later, Octavian would defeat the forces of Antony and Cleopatra in a final showdown. The Senate proclaimed him a god the divine Augustus, Rome's first and greatest emperor. His 40-year reign ushered in changes that reverberate to this day including the birth of a carpenter's son in the remote Roman province of Galilee. We think you may have heard of him.
Here history pivots again in Philippi, with the man who brought the faith of an obscure Jewish sect to the world. It happened when the apostle Paul met a seller of highly prized purple cloth the "Woman of Purple" in about 50 A.D. The New Testament describes Lydia as a woman "whose heart the Lord opened to listen to the things which were spoken by Paul." Believing what she heard, the future St. Lydia asked the future St. Paul to baptize her. And you're going to visit the place where she became the first of hundreds of millions of Christian Europeans. Lydia's tale is told in the Book of Acts; we can imagine the fear and despair of Brutus in the final act of Julius Caesar, one of Shakespeare's greatest dramas. That both unfolded near the Drama plain, in a city founded by the father of Alexander the Great, seems as if more was at play here than random fate. Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and Christianity are the three pillars of Western civilization. And Philippi is the foundation on which they stand.
When the apostle Paul visited Philippi, he caused an uproar by exorcising a demon from a slave girl. He was arrested, given a public beating, and put in prison. (You'll see the ruins.) After an earthquake opened the prison, the jailer prepared to kill himself, thinking the prisoners had escaped and he would be punished. But Paul stopped him by showing him that the prisoners were still there and converted his next European to Christianity.
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