Thessalonica or Thessaloniki, was founded by Macedons King Cassander and is named after Alexander the Great’s half sister, Thessalonike. In 168 B.C. it became a city of the Roman Republic and a critical trading hub for the Roman Empire. Over time it eventually became the capital city of the Roman district it was located in; containing an amphitheater where gladiator shows were held as well as where circus shows were put on to amuse the public.
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
On Paul’s journey to Greece, it was Timothy and Silas that accompanied Paul to Thessalonica. Upon arrival, they visited the chief Jewish synagogue for three Sabbaths explaining why Jesus is the Old Testament Savior (Acts 17:2-4); focusing on the resurrection of Christ. After hearing Paul’s message, many joined Paul and his companions but others were in an upheaval about what Paul was preaching. This led to a mob starting within the city that soon went after Paul, Silas and Timothy; resulting in them later escaping the city under the cover of night.
Paul himself did not spend much time in Thessalonica upon his first visit but nevertheless it is one of the churches that thrived the most according to the New Testament. After leaving Thessalonica, Silas and Timothy stayed in nearby Berea whereas Paul distanced himself. Eventually, he tried to revisit but was thwarted by Satan. (1Thess 2:18) Sending Timothy to check in with the church, Paul learns of its health which leads him to write his first letter in Corinth to the church. It wasn’t until a few years later that Paul was able to revisit. (Acts 20:1-6, Phil 4:16)
The apostle Paul’s mission to Thessalonica was to share with the people that Jesus was the Messiah.
If your planning to visit Thessaloniki you will find a thriving and flourishing metropolis that houses many museums, shops and exquisite churches that speak volumes about their history. The central marketplace will offer lots of shops to browse through, the theater Odeion and not far from there you can walk beneath the Arch of Galerius; an infamous persecutor of Christians whose emperor status was established in Thessalonica towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. The Church of Agios is also a nearby where Galerius is known to have ordered the soldier Dimitrios to be put to death. The crypt of the Church of Agios is open to visitors who which to descend its steps.
Modern Thessalonki is renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life and is actually considered to be Greece’s cultural capital. Whether visiting for cultural purposes, exploring its history or simply to enjoy its sandy beaches, you will love what you see and be glad you came.