Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit from Antioch. Their first stop after leaving the port of Seleucia was Salamis on the eastern coast of Cyprus. Here is Luke’s account.
When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. (Act 13:5 ESV)
It is interesting to note that there are no accounts of conversions at Salamis. The city had a large Jewish population during the Roman period.
Why go to Cyprus? These facts might provide some suggestions.
- Well, it was east of Antioch, and a first step toward going to the Gentiles.
- It was also the home of Barnabas (Acts 4:36).
- After the stoning of Stephen some had traveled to Cyprus preaching to the Jews (Acts 11:19).
- Some men of Cyprus had come to Antioch preaching to the Hellenists (Greeks) (Acts 11:20).
Salamis is now located in the the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or as the folks in the south say, “the occupied territory.” This photo shows some of the foundation stones of the harbor where Barnabas, Saul, and John Mark landed. Breakwaters extend for some distance into the sea.
We visited the gymnasium. Not to workout. Our workout came from walking over the large site. This gym was build in the time of the Roman Emperor Augustus.
When I see one of these gymnasiums or palestras (exercise areas) I am reminded of what Paul wrote to Timothy:
for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV)
A short distance from Salamis is the Church of St. Barnabas. The church is now a museum of icons. Many traditions have grown up in Cyprus about Barnabas.
In the afternoon we returned to Nicosia and made a stop at the Cyprus (Archaeology) Museum. They have a nice collection of artifacts, including some of the statues from Salamis, but photos are not allowed. Museum’s often do not allow photographs in hope of selling more books in the gift shop. Allowing photos provides an opportunity for teachers and others to talk about their visit with others. It actually encourages others to visit the museum. Too bad they don’t agree with me.
This photo is a collection of statues from Cyprus in the Louvre.
It was a good day.