July 6- Thessaloniki and Philippi

Our new private guide felt badly that we had missed some beautiful churches in Thessaloniki so she took us to see some before heading out to Philippi. I’m very glad she did. The Rotunda dates back to the fifth century. It was an early church and then was turned into a mosque during the Ottoman period and then converted back in the last century. Many of the ancient mosaics remained intact, thanks be to God. 
My favorite morning stop was to a small neighborhood church that had been a monastery. The icon of Jesus was unique in that Jesus was without a beard. We weren’t allowed to take photos so I can’t share it. 

This afternoon we were at Philippi where Paul first brought the gospel in Europe. We saw the jail where Paul spent time after healing the slave girl who had a spirit. Her owners were angered because her healing took away her profit potential. Seeing the jail was amazing. We took a family photo in the doorway of the library. Seems right for our clan!

Later we went to the river where Lydia, the seller of purple cloth, was baptized. We stepped into the cold water and remembered our own baptisms with gratitude and joy. I pray to have the persistence of Paul and the faith of Lydia. 

Tomorrow we fly from Thessaloniki to Istanbul and then to Rome. We pray for uneventful travel.

Love to all!