Voyage to Rome
In 57, upon completion of his third missionary journey, Paul arrived in Jerusalem for his final visit. When a plot to kill Paul on his way to an appearance before the Jews was discovered, he was transported by night to Caesarea Maritima. He was held as a prisoner there for two years by Marcus Antonius Felix, until a new governor, Porcius Festus, reopened his case in 59. When Festus suggested that he be sent back to Jerusalem for further trial, Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen to "appeal unto Caesar". Finally, Paul and his companions sailed for Rome where Paul was to stand trial for his alleged crimes.
Stopover in Crete
On the way they encountered a hurricane and unexpectedly had to land at the Greek island of Crete (or Kriti). Crete is the largest of the Greek islands in the eastern Mediterranean Sea southeast of mainland Greece. Crete is famous for its ancient Minoan civilization (300-2100 B.C.) and its ancient paintings and ruins are very interesting to see. St. Paul’s ship anchored at Fair Havens in Crete about the end of the first week of October, AD 61. Here the ship stayed for possibly three weeks waiting for the wind to change. Fair Havens (or Kaloi Limenes) is the name of a small village, a bay and a group of islets on the southern coast of Crete.
In 1851 Captain Spratt anchored his paddle steamer where St. Paul’s ship had sought shelter. On a ridge over the bay Spratt found the ruins of a Greek chapel dedicated to St. Paul, perhaps marking the very spot where Paul himself used to preach to the natives of Crete. Today the existing white chapel, commemorating St. Paul’s arrival on Crete, is situated on the brow of the hill overlooking the bay. It is built upon the site of the former church. A few yards to the west of the church is the traditional cave where St. Paul stayed. Another town of Crete is called Phoenix (modern Loutro) and is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. Loutro was a better harbor for waiting out the winter. The people of Loutro maintain that St. Paul visited their town. Today there is a little chapel of St. Paul and a spring of St. Paul between the coastal towns of Loutro and Aglia Roumeli. This chapel commemorates the site where St. Paul baptized his first Cretans converts. A service is held in this chapel each year on June 29, the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul. St. Paul’s companion Titus became the first bishop of Crete. There is an epistle of St. Paul to Titus in the New Testament. At Gortyna, the capital of Crete during the Roman period when St. Paul lived, you can see the ruins of the Church of St. Titus, which dates from the 4th century A.D. Tradition says St. Paul appointed St. Titus the bishop of Crete on the site of this church. At Herakleion on Crete there is a large Cathedral of St. Titus with a large icon of St. Paul.
Shipwreck in Melita
Acts recounts that on the way to Rome for his appeal as a Roman citizen to Caesar, Paul was shipwrecked on "Melita" (Malta), where the islanders showed him "unusual kindness" and where he was met by Publius. Other alternative is that Meliti refers to the island of Kefalonia at the Ionian Sea.
End travel to Rome
From Malta, he travelled to Rome via Syracuse, Rhegium and Puteoli. Then by the Via Appia Antica he reached Forum Appii (or Appii Forum), an ancient post station on the Via Appia, 69 km southeast of Rome, founded, no doubt, by the original constructor of the road. Horace mentions it as the usual halt at the end of the first day's journey from Rome, and describes it as full of boatmen and cheating innkeepers. Boatmen were found there because it was the starting-point of a canal which ran parallel to the road through the Pontine Marshes, and was used instead of it at the time of Strabo and Horace (see Appian way). The Appii Forum and the "Three Taverns" are mentioned as a halting place in the account of Paul's journey to Rome (Acts xxviii. 15). A post station was placed here by Pope Pius VI when the Via Appia Nuova was reconstructed in the late 18th century. Tres Tabernae originated as a post station on the Appian Way, around the 3rd century BC. Here, Paul on his way to Rome, was reportedly met by a band of Roman Christians (Acts 28:15). The "Tres Tabernae was the first mansio or mutatio, that is, halting-place for relays, from Rome, or the last on the way to the city. Tres Tabernae is translated as Three Taverns, but it more correctly means three shops". Paul finally arrived in Rome around 60, where he spent another two years under house arrest. The narrative of Acts ends with Paul preaching in Rome for two years from his rented home while awaiting trial.
Lazio Region has developed the Via Appia Antica Regina Viarium as also the ‘Cammino di San Paolo’. This intersects with Via Francigena South Cultural Route extension of the certified Via Francigena Cultural Route of the Council of Europe that end in Rome (Holy See). The existing ‘Cammino di San Paolo’ in Lazio Region will become the end leg of the overall Cultural Route of St Paul’s footsteps through Cyprus, Greece and Malta. The leg from Puteoli port in Campania Region to Mintumo furthest southern point in Lazio Region will be added. Then the Cammino di San Paolo goes through Formia, Itri, Fondi, Terracina, Ponynia, Furm Appii, Cisterna di Latina, ending in Rome outside the walls.
"In the footsteps of Saint Paul, the Apostle of the nations" - Cultural Route
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