The Greek Island of Samos

October 30, 2020

We are very sorry to learn of today’s earthquake in the Aegean which has resulted in multiple deaths, 12 in Izmir, on the western coast of Turkey, and 2 (teenagers) on the Greek island of Samos, as well as 400+ injuries. Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of those impacted by this tragedy.

The island of Samos is of interest to Bible students because of its mention in Acts 20:15, in the context of Paul’s return on his 3rd Missionary Journey, making his way back to Jerusalem.

Acts 20:14-15. Only biblical mention of Samos.
Acts 20:14-15. Only biblical mention of Samos.

Samos is a

Place-name meaning “height.” Small island (only 27 miles long) located in the Aegean Sea about a mile off the coast of Asia Minor near the peninsula of Trogyllium. In the strait between Samos and the mainland, the Greeks defeated the Persian fleet about 479 B.C. and turned the tide of power in the ancient Near East. Traveling from Jerusalem to Rome, Paul’s ship either put in at Samos or anchored just offshore (Acts 20:15). (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p.1438).

The rendering of the ESV on Acts 20:15 is: “And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched [emp. mine, L.M.] at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus.” They could have just stayed overnight in the ship in the harbor, departing the next morning, or they could have deboarded the ship to actually be on the island itself (briefly of course). The text does not say.

Though the biblical text only mentions Samos this once (Acts 20:15), I welcome the opportunity to visit such sites, and to be able to share photos and use such in teaching.

I had occasion to make a brief visit to Samos in 2006, along with friend Ferrell Jenkins, when we were en route to Kuşadasi. See his article here. Samos is just off the western coast of Asia Minor. There are impressive remains of a temple devoted to the goddess Hera at Samos (see Fant & Reddish, pp. 118-125), but our limited time at Samos that day did not permit our seeing this.

Location of Samos. Map by BibleAtlas.Org.
Location of Samos. Map by BibleAtlas.Org.
Samos, at modern harbor. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
Samos, at modern harbor. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
Mountains of Samos as seen from the Aegean Sea. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
Mountains of Samos as seen from the Aegean Sea. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

On that trip we had flown from Athens, Greece to Samos, then we took the ferry from Samos to Kuşadasi, Turkey, which would serve as our “base” while we visited nearby Ephesus and other biblical sites.

Sunset at Kuşadasi. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
Sunset at Kuşadasi. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Click on images for larger view.

Monastery of Barnabas at Salamis, Cyprus

October 2, 2015

On the 1st Missionary Journey, the Apostle Paul accompanied by Barnabas first preached in Salamis on the island of Cyprus: “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper” (Acts 13:4,5).

Our photo shows the “Monastery of St. Barnabas,” at Salamis, Cyprus. While the monastery itself is not a “biblical site” its presence bears testimony to the fact that Barnabas was indeed here.

Salamis, Cyprus. Monastery of St. Barnabas. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Salamis, Cyprus. Monastery of St. Barnabas. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The Biblical Archaeological Society has this information:

This monastery dedicated to St. Barnabas at Salamis, Cyprus, marks the first stop on Paul’s initial missionary journey. The earliest buildings of the monastery date to 477 C.E.

Perhaps Paul and Barnabas went first to Cyrus because it was Barnabas’s homeland (Acts 4:36), perhaps also because the island is large and strategically located. Cyprus served as a stepping stone on the trade routes that crossed the eastern Mediterranean. Archaeological remains from as early as the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium B.C.E.) show it to have been a cultural meeting ground and “melting pot” for the successive cultures that flourished on all sides of it.

Salamis was the main port and principal city of the island in the Roman age. Located about five miles north of modern Famagusta, on its great bay, the city has yielded extensive Roman remains, including a theater, gymnasium, baths and a forum.

Paul’s visit to Salamis established a pattern for his missionary strategy that would continue through the rest of his travels. Heading for the major city of the region, Paul went immediately to proclaim the new “word of God” in the Jewish synagogues (Acts 13:5). We know from literary accounts that Jews settled in Salamis at least as early as the 3rd century B.C.E., and at such a flourishing city there undoubtedly would have been several synagogue communities. (BAS Biblical World in Pictures, 2003).

See our previous article on the theater in Salamis here.

Click image for larger view.

Clay in the Potter’s Hand: Video

December 7, 2011

The metaphor of clay in the potter’s hand is sometimes used in the Bible to show the sovereignty of God, and His almighty power in accomplishing His plan and purpose. Additionally it is seen that we have a choice in yielding/submitting and thus becoming vessels of honor, whereas the disobedient become vessels of dishonor (2 Tim. 2:20), described as “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.”

Such figures as the potter and the clay were familiar to those living in the biblical world, much more so that for most of us today.

This video doesn’t exist

I filmed this potter as he made a vessel of clay. This was in Lindos, on the island of Rhodes (Rhodes is mentioned in Acts 21:1, in the context of Paul’s return trip on his 3rd missionary journey).

In Jeremiah 18, the prophet Jeremiah was told to go to the potter’s house, where he was to see an object lesson: “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!” (v.8).

I’m mindful of the words of the song, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord”:

1. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

2. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Savior today!
Wash me just now Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow.

3. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

4. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

I had earlier posts on Rhodes here, here and here.

My one desire: to be an obedient vessel molded by ‘El Shaddai, used for His glory.

Island of Santorini

September 3, 2010

Last March our group tour included the Mediterranean islands of Patmos, Rhodes and Crete, and we have made posts of photos w/info for each of these.  Additionally, the island of Santorini, also know as Thira,  was included.

Santorini is grouped with the Cyclades islands in the Aegean which are essentially the mountain peaks of the sunken continent of Aegeis. The word “Cyclades” is derived from the word Delos, the sacred island of the ancient Greeks.

Approach to Santorini, one of the Greek Islands. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The Cyclades are geographically positioned as a bridge between East and West, and accordingly played an important role in the history of the Greek World.  Civilization is traced back to the Bronze Age, the most important of which was located at Akrotiri on Santorini. Ruins in excellent condition have been preserved, due to the eruption of the volcano of Thera (ca. 1500 BC), which covered the site with a thick layer of ash.  Evidence abounds of an advanced culture, assimilating that of the Minoans of Crete.

Santorini is a unique sight. Its cliffs tower out of the sea, capped off by whitewashed buildings.  At center of photo you can see towers for the sky-lift; also the zig-zag road for walking, or riding donkeys.

Santorini of the Cyclades. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

This is the view at sunset:

Sunset at Santorini. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Click on image for higher resolution.

%d bloggers like this: