Paul in PhilippiIn 49 or 50 AD, the city was visited by the apostle Paul during his second missionary journey. According to the book of Acts, he was guided there by a vision of "a man of Macedonia" (Acts 16:9). Accompanied by Silas, Timotheus, and Luke, Paul preached in Philippi. The Jewish community there seems to have been small, but Paul and his friends found Jewish women gathered at a river to the west of the city on the Sabbath. There Paul baptized Lydia, a purple dye merchant, who invited the missionaries to stay at her home (Acts 16:14-15).
In another account recorded in Acts, Paul drove out an evil spirit from a slave girl who worked as a fortune teller. Her owners became angry and dragged Paul and Silas into the marketplace and complained about them before the magistrates. A crowd joined in the condemnation, and the missionaries were stripped and flogged, then thrown into prison. At midnight, however, a great earthquake came and the prison doors flew open. The jailer nearly killed himself over it, but Paul talked him out of it and converted him. The next morning, the magistrates released Paul and Silas and asked them to leave the city. (Acts 16:16-40)
Paul visited the city on two other occasions, in 56 and 57 AD. The Epistle to the Philippians dates from around 54-55 and shows the immediate impact of Paul's preaching. The subsequent development of Christianity in Philippi is well-attested, notably by a letter from Polycarp of Smyrna addressed to the community in Philippi around 160, and by funerary inscriptions.
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