My husband, Jon and I are on a two-day tour of North-Western part of Peloponnese. We arrived by car this morning and are staying at the Maison Grecque Hotel in the center of Patra. Patra, which is the third largest city in Greece is the capital city of Achaia.
After we check in and leave our belongings in our room, we’re off exploring the town. Patra’s port connects directly with Italy and other Mediterranean countries and their ports. Visitors can travel to the Ionian islands or to cruise along the Mediterranean Sea. Perhaps, we will take a cruise later in the week. For now, we just want to experience Patra.
“Do you think the apostle Paul came to Patra?” I asked Jon.
“I’m not sure if he came here in particular but in the Book of Acts, chapter 19, it says that he was determined in his spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem.”
“Junius Annaeus Gallio was the Roman proconsul of Achaia when Paul was at Corinth.”
“I read that Gallio’s brother was Jucius Annaeus Seneca, the philosopher. Jerome in the Chronicle of Eusebius says that Gallio committed suicide in 65 A.D but Winer thinks that he was put to death by Nero.”
“I hope it wasn’t suicide. I actually liked the way he dealt with the Jews when they took Paul to court, accusing him of persuading men to worship God contrary to the law. Gallio saw the separation of church and state. He didn’t think the government had any business sorting out religious matters. He was only interested in civil matters and since Paul hadn’t committed any wrongdoing or wicked crimes. Gallio left the matter of their religious law and worship to Paul’s accusers.”
“Gallio should have done something when the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat–right under his nose. That would qualify as wrongdoing and a wicked crime, wouldn’t it?”
“I guess so. By the way, do you know what the name Gallio means?”
Jon shook his head. “No.”
“It means ‘One who lives on milk'” I laugh and Jon smiles.
“Paul was in Corinth when the Jews took him to Gallio,” he said.
“Did Gallio have jurisdiction in Corinth too?”
“Most likely since Achaia was a Roman province which included all of Greece except Thessaly.”
“So Thessaly isn’t a part of Greece?”
“Not in Paul’s time.”
“When did it become a part of Greece?”
“Can we visit Thessaly the next time we’re in Greece?”
“How far Corinth is from Achaia?”
“Close to three hours by bus.”
“What about by car?” I wasn’t sure that I wanted to sit on a bus for that long.
“Less than 90 minutes but it costs much more.”
“Let’s take the bus then.” It might be a much longer way to get to our destination but it was much cheaper.
“I’m sure the bus ride wouldn’t seem that long and we can enjoy the scenery or read or take a nap.”
“I guess so. I’m really looking forward to visiting Corinth.”
“So am I. We’ll be visiting the judgment seat where Paul was taken before Gallio. It’s called The Bema.”
“Yes, I read that in Ancient Greece, a bema was a raised platform where officials gave public addresses and heard legal cases, typically located at the center of the forum, or marketplace. The bema at Corinth was erected around 44 B.C.E. out of blue and white marble. Paul was taken to the Corinth Bema.”
“I can’t wait to see it. Should be a fun experience.”
Jon nodded. “Yes, it should be but while we’re here in Patra, I’m looking forward to visiting medieval castles, museums, wineries and churches.”
“What about beaches? Patra is known for having beautiful beaches.”
“I promise that we’ll spend a day or two at the beach but I’d like us to take a walk now to see the lighthouse of Patra. It’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful sights of the city and afterwards, we can visit the castle of Patra which was built at the 6th AD by the byzantine emperor Justinian I.”
“And afterwards, can we find a nice restaurant where we can have lunch?”
“Sure, Honey.” Smiling, Jon takes me in his arms, rests his forehead against mine. We kiss and then, set off towards the lighthouse, holding hands.