St. Paul and Anatolia Travels

Paul, whose real name is Saul, He was born five years after the birth of Jesus, as a child of a wealthy Jewish family, in Tarsus, which is now a district of Mersin province and was the capital of Cilicia at that time. His family, and therefore himself, are Roman citizens, a privileged status in his time.

Jesus himself chose those known as his apostles. Apart from these apostles, the Christian world attaches great importance to Paul  from Tarsus. Paul has been one of the most important figures of the Christian world since the early ages. He is the person who made Christianity become an independent and universal religion separate from Judaism.

In order to spread love among people who belong to polytheistic belief, He showed Jesus as the son of God. He abolished the sunnah, which they disliked.

He turned the direction of the qibla to the east. Although the purpose of these and similar reforms of Paul was to spread Christianity, over time these changes and doctrines were adopted by the Prophet. He was met with discontent by Jesus’ original apostles, as he thought that he had strayed too far from the teachings of Jesus, and they were at odds.

Paul embarked on a total of four long journeys known as “Mission Journeys”. These journeys, which he embarked on as a missionary, became the biggest factor in the spread of Christianity in different geographies. He embarked on his first Mission Journey at the age of forty-one with the Apostle Barnabas. They started this journey, which took place in 46-48 years, in Antakya (Antiokheia) and then went to Samandagi (Seleucia) and went to Cyprus, the hometown of Barnabas, with a ship. After stopping by the city of Perge (Antalya/Aksu) from here, they continue to the city of Pisidia Antiokheia (Isparta/Yalvaç). After going to Ikonium (Konya), Lystra (Karaman) and Derbe, he gave sermons and made many people become Christians, and then returned to Antakya and ended this first journey.

Paul and Barnabas were called to Jerusalem while they were in Antakya. At the meeting in Jerusalem attended by the apostles, he was warned that he had moved away from the teachings of the Prophet Jesus. It is said that some of what he said in his sermons contradicted the teachings of Jesus. Returning from Jerusalem, they with Barnabas and their paths are separated, never to cross again.

After leaving Antakya and his old close friend Barnabas, with whom he made his first mission journey. He embarked on II. Mission Journey. After visiting the important cities of Anatolia such as Derbe, Lystra, Phrygia, Northern Galatia, Mysia and Troia, he goes to Macedonia. From here he goes to Ephesus by sea voyage. Perhaps the most difficult of his journeys was his arrival here. Paul, who was welcomed in Ephesus at first and spent three years there, insulted Artemis, the Great Goddess of Ephesus, in one of his constant sermons, causing great reactions. His insult to the holiest of the city in front of thousands of people in the Ephesus Theater provoked the people and almost caused him to be lynched. Upon this incident, Paul left Ephesus, albeit sadly. He goes by sea to Caesarea and then to Jerusalem. Returning to Antakya from here, Completes the II. Mission Journey.

But Paul does not stay long in Antioch and will last four years in total (I.S. 53-57). He sets out to realize his III. Mission Journey. Firstly He goes back to the cities he visited on his II. Mission Journey. The aim here is to see the situation of the communities that he had previously established in these cities and to gain new believers. After completing the work in these cities, he goes to Macedonia and Greece, then to Anatolia and from here to Jerusalem. Due to some problems he had in Jerusalem, he was arrested and taken to Rome to stand trial. This voyage, under the supervision of Roman soldiers, will be his fourth and final Mission Journey. When Paul was tried and sentenced to death during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero, the date is AD 67. He was not the only one on trial. Saint Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus, who was accepted as the founder of churches and later to be accepted as the first pope, was also sentenced to death. Since St Peter did not find himself worthy to be crucified like Jesus, he wanted to be executed on the reverse cross and this wish was fulfilled. Today this cross is known as the “Cross of Peter”. Saint Paul was a Roman citizen, and being killed by being nailed to the cross was a method of execution for non-Roman citizens. For this reason, Paul was executed by beheading, a method considered the most honorable form of execution at that time. We know that Paul wrote letters to places he wanted to go but could not go during all his travels. These letters, thirteen in total and mentioned in the Bible, were written to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timmoteos, Titus, and Philemon. The first seven of these letters Paul wrote are called “Catholic”. Catholic means “universal” and takes its name from these letters. Today, the tombs of both St. Peter and St. Paul are in Rome.

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