Tag Archives: Sicily

Temples made by man

Any Greek or Roman city we visit is surely to have ruins of a theater and a temple. Both Greek and Roman theaters remain at Syracuse (Acts 28:12).The Paoli Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum displays a model of the Temple of Athena (left; 480 B.C.) and the Temple of Artemis (right; 520 B.C.).

Temple models at Syracuse, Sicily, archaeological museum.

Model of Temple Athena and Temple of Artemis. Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Apostle Paul had to contend with this in every Roman city he visited. At Athens he said,

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25 ESV)

He reminded the Corinthians, who lived in a city filled with temples,

For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth–as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”– yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:5-6 ESV)

Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, as well as the later temples built by Zerubbabel and Herod, were made with hands. Paul certainly knows this. But he also knows what Solomon said about the same subject:

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! (1 Kings 8:27 ESV)

Read the full account of the building and dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 6-8. The temple was a place of worship, but it was not to be the object of worship.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9).

Map showing Rhegium and Syracuse

Here is a nice map from BibleAtlas showing the location of Rhegium on the toe of Italy, and Syracuse along the eastern coast of Sicily. Check BibleAtlas.org for more information, a larger copy of this map, and other maps.

The location of Rhegium and Syracuse. BibleAtlas.org.

The location of Rhegium and Syracuse. BibleAtlas.org.

Reggio di Calabria is Rhegium of Acts 28:13

Yesterday I mentioned crossing the Strait of Messina by hydrofoil. Here is a rather unusual photo that I made from the stern of the hydrofoil as we left Messina, Sicily, toward Reggio di Calabria in Italy.

Crossing the Strait of Messina by hydrofoil. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Crossing the Strait of Messina by hydrofoil. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Once we arrived in Reggio we walked a few meters to our 3-star hotel. This little hotel, the Continental, has been recently refurbished. The elevator was new, and everything in the room, including the bathroom, was also new. The biggest disadvantage is that they did not have any Internet connection. I think this is the first hotel on this entire trip that did not provide some kind of access to the Internet. Eventually I paid 5 Euro (about $7.50) for one hour on the Internet at another hotel. But that is a good price compared to the hotel I am in tonight in Rome. The charge for one hour is 10 Euro (about $15.00).

We walked into town to visit the Archaeological museum and find something to eat. The museum, like the one in Syracuse, had nice displays of small items. I did not see anything of great helpfulness.

Reggio is situated along the strait and up the slope of a mountain. Only the main street and the promenade is level. Local advertising says that the area has been described as “the most beautiful kilometer in Italy.” From my limited experience in Italy, I would agree.

According to Luke, the Alexandrian ship Paul was on stayed only one day in Rhegium before a south wind allowed them to sail north through the Strait of Messina. It must have been a good wind. The next stop was Puteoli which is located in the Naples area.

We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. From there we cast off and arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind sprang up and on the second day we came to Puteoli. (Acts 28:12-13 NET)

The modern port at Reggio is an artificial one. I tried to get some photos to illustrate where the natural port might have been. Elizabeth made this photo, look north along the Italian coast.

Looking north along the Italian coast at Reggio. Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins.

Looking north along the Italian coast at Reggio. Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins.

This morning we got up early and took the 6:46 a.m. Eurostar train from Reggio to Rome. The trip took a little over 5 and one half hours. We had about 6 brief stops between Reggio and Naples. From there it was non-stop to Rome. Mount Vesuvius was visible from the window of the train. Obviously I wished that time would permit a stop in Naples to visit Puteoli, Pompeii, and Mount Vesuvius.

Elizabeth and I enjoyed the Eurostar trip. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Elizabeth and I enjoyed the Eurostar trip. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This afternoon we were able to visit several sites in Rome with good sunshine and clouds. Maybe tomorrow we will be able to share some of those photos.

Thanks for following along with us on this journey.

Leaving Syracuse and Crossing the Strait of Messina

In Syracuse we visited the Archaeological Park. Here is a photo of the Greek theater which dates back to the 3rd century B.C. We know that it is something that was in existence at the time Paul stopped in the city. It doesn’t seem likely that a prisoner would be allowed to go sightseeing in the city.

The 3rd Century Greek theater at Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The 3rd Century Greek theater at Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This morning before leaving I tried to catch a few minutes of sunshine to get some photos at the Grand Harbor. This is a natural harbor that was likely in use at the time of Paul.

The Grand Harbor at Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Grand Harbor at Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is another shot that I thought conveyed the idea of this being the harbor of the city.

A large anchor at the Grand Harbor of Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A large anchor at the Grand Harbor of Syracuse. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Incidentally, the sun did not shine until we were in the taxi headed from the hotel to the train station. Life is fun.

Crossing the Strait of Messina. Today we left Syracuse by train intending to go as far as Villa San Giovani in Italy. Then we would take a train to Reggio di Calabria (Rhegium of the New Testament). Instead, we left the train at Messina and took the hydrafoil direct to Reggio. This was a real thrill to me to be able to actually cross this body of water at this point. It is sort of like being on the Sea of Galilee. You know it happened somewhere nearby. “It” being either something Jesus did, or something Paul did.

We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days.  From there we cast off and arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind sprang up and on the second day we came to Puteoli. (Acts 28:12-13 NET).

Tonight we are in Reggio. Early tomorrow morning we take the train to Rome. Puteoli is near Naples. I wish we had time to stop there and photograph the Colosseum, but time does not allow that on this trip. I was at Puteoli some years back, but would like to get better photographs.

In Syracuse, Sicily

We took the ferry from Malta to Sicily yesterday morning. It was a nice 90 minute ride on the Mediterranean. The ferry was very nice, having been put into service in 2006. At Pozzalo, Sicily, we located a taxi driver who offered to take us to Syracuse along with 3 other passengers who wanted to travel north. One was a retired school teacher from Ohio who was traveling without any reservations. We enjoyed visiting with him.

In Syracuse we checked into our hotel and then went to the archaeological park to see Greek and Roman remains. It rained on us some, but I got a few good photos. Hopefully we will be able to make a few more this morning before leaving by train for Italy. We are here studying the places Paul visited on his voyage to Rome. He stayed in Syracuse three days (Acts 28.12). It is dark around this keyboard and I can not locate the colon on the keyboard.

The hotel is either new or newly refurbished. The rooms are great, but the Internet connection for wireless is not yet ready. I am using the computer in the hotel lobby, but do not have the ability to upload any photos.

Just wanted those who are following our journey to know that we are doing well.

More later.

Interested in ancient Roman history?

I just ran across a website maintained by Jona Lendering that is meant to keep people updated about the websites LacusCurtius (maintained by Bill Thayer in Chicago) and Livius.Org.

The page that caught my attention has links to some photos of ancient Syracuse. Check here.

Paul and Luke stayed in Syracuse, Sicily, for three days on the voyage to Rome.

Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. (Acts 28.12 ESV)

Syracuse is on my want list.