Paul the Apostle was born in 7 or 8 A.D. in Tarsus of Cilicia, a very rich city in the Eastern Mediterranean. Paul came from a wealthy family of Jewish merchants of Dispersal. Alongside the name Saul (meaning desirable), he was given the Greek name Paul (meaning small, insignificant) in the habit of Jews of Dispersal, those that lived in places with Greek tradition. Saul had great education. In rabbinic school of Tarsus, he learned Hebrew of the religion and at the age of 13-14, he went to Jerusalem, where he studied with the eminent jurist Gamaliel. After three years, he was then 18 years old, he returned to Tarsus, crowned with the title of “Rabbi” and with a strong religious personality. We know who Paul was until the day the grace of God met him on the road to Damascus: It was the convinced Pharisee, who was brought up by the Jewish tradition, and he felt it as his duty to persecute Christians. But God, by revelation, changed his plans, and changed radically his life. And Paul, as he confesses, regretted bitterly about his behavior until then, and from a persecutor of Christians, he became a preacher of the Gospel, for which he suffered persecution and starvation and beatings and shipwrecks and prison and many other tortures. His love for the Lord Jesus Christ had overwhelmed him. He wanted to make it known to all mankind. He preached the Gospel to a world that has much in common with our present world. In such immorality and so many difficulties, he did not cowed because he was convinced that he can do everything with the power of Christ, which strengthened him.
Already during his first tour (47-48 AD), Paul along with Barnabas and John – Mark preached the Word of God in Cyprus Salamis and Paphos. During their second tour (49-52 AD), he went to central Greece. The Acts of the Apostles describe the arrival and stay of Paul in Macedonia. “Then we opened at the sea from Troas and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day to Neapolis and from there to Philippi, which was the capital of the region of Macedonia “. Apart from the fact that on several occasions he traveled to Greece and founded local Churches, in addition to his intense activity and unabated interest for his students that he left behind, it is generally known that five of his letters addressed to the Churches of Greece (Corinthians I and II, Philippians, Thessalonians I and II), two letters addressed to the Churches of Greek cities of Asia Minor (Ephesians and Colossians) and three more are addressed to people, two to Timothy and one to Titus, namely to Heads of Greek Churches. Already during his first tour. (47-48 AD)
In Philippi, Paul and Silas, will test for the first time, the unpleasant experience of prison. Indeed, they are accused of proselytizing and therefore local authorities will beat them and imprison them. At midnight, while they are hymning and praying, an earthquake releases the prisoners. Seeing the doors of the prison open, the centurion attempts to commit suicide, but Paul convinces him not to and baptizes him along with his whole family. Then, when the authorities learned that Paul and Silas are Roman citizens, they left them free (Pr.16, 11-40). In the first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul refers explicitly to the difficulties of the first preaching in this town: “Previously, in Philippi, they abused and insulted us, as you know. But God gave us courage so that we can preach the Gospel through many difficulties “(I Thes. 2, 2) .In Philippi, a nice Christian community will be developed, in which the Apostle, in another prison, will send the letter of joy and affection, just the Letter to the Philippians.
In Kavala, the Orthodox Cathedral, and the Catholic Church, are dedicated to Saint Paul, who is the patron of the city. Every year, on the feast of St Paul, the two communities, Orthodox and Catholic, come together to celebrate their common patron. Only recently, at Philippi, a church erected that was dedicated to Saint Lydia and an altar beside the river where, according to tradition, Paul baptized the first European Christian. In the archaeological region of Philippi, a tank is displayed, which, according to tradition, was used as a prison of the Apostle and a “step” in the old market, from which Paul preached.