Beroea (or Berea) was an ancient city of the Hellenistic period and Roman Empire now known as Veria (or Veroia) in Macedonia, northern Greece. It is a small city on the eastern side of the Vermio Mountains north of Mount Olympus. The town is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as a place where the apostles Paul, Silas, and Timothy preached the Christian gospel.
Berea was in southwestern Macedonia. The city's foundation stood where modern day Veria or Kar-Verria in Greece is today. It was in a unique position. There is a variety of terrain that surrounded the city then and now.
Being positioned at the base of Mount Bermius, which is part of the Vermio Mountains, an ample supply of water provided for the city and the region. The main sources of water were the Haliacmon and Axios rivers which provided the plains with a bountiful supply to nurture the apple, peach, and pear orchards. The area is known to be wealthy with the fuelling of the area's industrial section due to the presence of a hydroelectric dam on the Haliacmon.
A city of the same name that is mentioned in a section of Thucydides's history, which dates it to be around the year 432 BC. In Polybius's history there were two insertions about an inscription that dates the city back to the later part of the 4th century BC. No one has verified the historical date of the establishment of the city, although it has been known to have been surrendered to the Romans from the Macedonians after the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC.
Veria enjoyed great prosperity under the kings of the Argead Dynasty (whose most famous member was Alexander the Great), who made it their second-most important city after Pella; the city reached the height of its glory and influence in the Hellenistic period, during the reign of the Antigonid Dynasty. During this time, Veria became the seat of the Koinon of Macedonians (Κοινόν Μακεδόνων), minted its own coinage, and held sports games named Alexandreia, in honour of Alexander the Great, with athletes from all over Greece competing in them.
The city was the first city of the Macedonian region to fall to the Roman Empire, following the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC. In the 1st century there were two major roads joining the towns of Thessalonica and Beroea, one of them passing close to the ancient city of Pella. There are some assumptions that the Apostle Paul used this route when visiting Beroea.
In the 7th century, the Slavic tribe of the Drougoubitai raided the lowlands below the city, while in the late 8th century Empress Irene of Athens is said to have rebuilt and expanded the city and named it Irenopolis after herself, although some sources place this Berrhoea-Irenopolis further east. For subsequent history, see History of Veria.
New Testament references
Paul, Silas, and Timothy traveled to Beroea by night after fleeing from Thessalonica, as recorded in Acts 17:10. They 'immediately' went to the synagogue to preach, and the Beroeans were accepting; the writer of the Acts of the Apostles noted the difference between the Thessalonians' response to the gospel and the Beroeans' response: the Beroeans were 'open-minded' or 'fair-minded' and willing to 'examine the scriptures to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth'. Many of the Beroeans believed, both men and women, but when the Jewish Thessalonian non-believers heard about this, they came to Beroea, stirring up crowds, starting riots and ensuring that Paul, Silas, and Timothy could not preach. Then the believers sent Paul to the coast, while Timothy and Silas stayed behind. Paul was taken to Athens, and word was given to Timothy and Silas to join him as soon as possible. (Acts 17:10–15)
Paul and Silas ministered to the Jewish community of Beroea around 54 and 55 A.D. The two men had been driven out of the city of Thessalonica by an angry mob for spreading the gospel there. Paul and Silas made their journey from Thessalonica to Beroea by night (Acts 17:10). It is also said that Timothy, a student of Paul's, joined him during the journey to Beroea. The people of Beroea were more accepting than the people of Thessalonica of the message from the Apostle and his companions. The community was said to consider carefully what they learned from Paul before truly believing it (Acts 17:11–12).
After Paul, Silas, and the other members of their group had spent several days in Beroea, some Jews from Thessalonica got word that Paul and Silas were preaching in Beroea and stirred up trouble; Paul was again forced to leave. Some members of the congregation helped Paul to get to Athens, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Beroea, then later caught up with Paul in the city of Corinth (Acts 18:5). Later, Sopater of Berea joined Paul on his journey (Acts 20:4). It is said that Sopater was ordered by a delegation from Beroea to go to Judea with funds that would help the needy of that region.
A bishopric at Beroea goes back to the New Testament. The former diocese of the ancient city of Beroea was within the Roman province of Macedonia, in today's northern Greece. Presently the diocese is part of the ecclesiastical province of Thessaloniki. The Roman Catholic episcopal see of Berrhoea, centred on northern Greece, is today a vacant titular see.
Onesimus, formerly Philemon's slave, was its first bishop according to the Apostolic Constitutions (VII, 46). Known bishops attended ecclesiastical councils: Gerontius took part in the Council of Sardica (c. 344), Lucas in the Second Council of Ephesus (449), Sebastian in the Council of Chalcedon (451), Timothy in the synod convoked by the patriarch Menas of Constantinople in 536, and Joseph in the Fourth Council of Constantinople (869) that condemned Photius.
The Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos promoted the local see to an archbishopric after 1261, and it advanced further to the rank of a metropolitan see by 1300. Berrhoea is listed by the Roman Catholic Church as a titular see.
Under Andronicus II (1283-1328) Beroea was made a metropolis.
Amongst its bishops were:
- The Biblical Onesimus
- Gerontius was present at Council of Serdica in 344
- Luke at the Second Council of Ephesus in 449
- Timothy at the Council of Constantinople under the Patriarch Menas in 536,
- Joseph at the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 869
- un-named Catholic bishop in 1235
Catholic titular bishops of Berrhoea
- Alfredo Ottaviani (April 5, 1962 – April 19, 1962 )
- Pierre-Auguste-Marie-Joseph Douillard (May 22, 1963 – August 20, 1963)
- Friedrich Kaiser Depel (October 29, 1963 – September 26, 1993)
- "Berea". Meander Travel.
- Λούκιος ή Όνος 34.15-17
- (greek) hellasportal.gr,Apostle Paul preach in Veria[permanent dead link], accessed June 1, 2008.
- Gregory, Timothy E.; Ševčenko, Nancy Patterson (1991). "Berroia in Macedonia". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 283–284. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
- New Living Translation https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts17:10-12&version=NLT accessed 26 September 2015
- New American Bible translation https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts17:10-12&version=NABRE accessed 26 September 2015
- Acts 17:11
- Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 69-74
- Raymond Janin, v. 1. Berrhée in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. VIII, 1935, coll. 885-887
- Gregory, Timothy E.; Ševčenko, Nancy Patterson (1991). "Berroia in Macedonia". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 283–284. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 838
- Berrhoea .
- Hierocles, Synecdemos, 638
- Beroea at newadvetn.org.
- Kenneth Meyer Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571 (American Philosophical Society, 1976) p30.
- entry in catholic-hierarchy.org (English)
- Berea[permanent dead link] at Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. H. B. Hackett, D.D. 1981. p. 280.
- The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Abingdon Press. 1962. pp. 385–6.
- Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1929. p. 430.
- Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Baker Book House Company. 1981. p. 785.
- The Victor Journey Through the Bible. V. Gilbert Beers. 1981. p. 371.
- http://www.my-favourite-planet.de/english/europe/greece/macedonia/veria/veria-01.html[full citation needed][permanent dead link]
- Zaring, Elbert Robb, ed. (June 21, 1916). "A Badge of True Nobility". Northwestern Christian Advocate. 64 (26): 606.