June 18, 2011

The Shrine of the Apostle Paul In Samothrace

"From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis" (Acts 16:11).

Though St. Paul anchored in Samothrace for a night on his second missionary journey in 49 A.D., we are not told any further details. Yet this island has great significance for Christianity, for it is on the shores of this island that St. Paul first stepped into Greece and Europe. It was thus the entrance of Christianity not only in Greece but in Europe as well.

Since many Christians from throughout the world visit Samothrace in their attempts to trace the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, it was decided to erect a monument of this significant event. On 4 May 2008, near the town of Palaiopoli (where the most ancient church on the island exists in honor of the Apostle Paul's landing), Metropolitan Anthimos of Alexandroupolis consecrated a site of veneration known as "the Seat of the Apostle Paul". An all-night vigil takes place here every year on June 29th, which is the feast of the Apostle Paul.

The Seat of the Apostle Paul has an altar surrounded by mosaics of the Apostle Paul's ministry, together with the passage of Acts 16:11 in various languages. All materials that went into building this shrine came from the island.