Berea (Bible)

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Berea or Beroea is a city now known as Veria (or Veroia) in northern Greece, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, where the apostles Paul, Silas and Timothy preached the Christian gospel. It is a small city on the eastern side of the Vermion Mountains north of Mount Olympus.

Paul, Silas and Timothy travelled to Berea by night after fleeing from Thessalonica, as recorded in Acts 17:10. They 'immediately' went to the synagogue of the Jews to preach, and the Bereans were very accepting: the writer of the Acts of the Apostles noted the difference between the Thessalonians' response to the gospel and the Bereans' response: the Bereans were 'open-minded' [1] or 'fair-minded' [2] and willing to 'examine the scriptures to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth'.[3] Many of the Bereans believed, both men and women, but when the Jewish Thessalonian non-believers heard about this, they came to Berea, 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)

Additional information[edit]

Berea was located in southwestern Macedonia, which was a province of the Roman empire in its time. No one has verified the date of the establishment of the city, although it has been known to have been surrendered to the Romans from the Persians after the Battle of Pydna in 168 B.C. There is a city of the same name that is mentioned in a section of Thucydides, which dates it to be around the year 432 B.C. In Polybius there were two insertions about an inscription that dates the city back to the later part of the 4th century B.C. The city's foundation stood where modern day Verria or Kar-Verria in Greece is today. It was located in a unique position. There was a variety of terrain that surrounded the city back then and even today.

Being positioned at the base of Mount Bermius, which is part of the Olympian Mountain range, an ample supply of water provided for the city and the region. A big source of water was the Eliakomon and Axius river which provided the plains with a bountiful supply of water to nurture the apple, peach and pear orchards. However, even now the area is known to be quite wealthy with the fueling of the area's industrial section due to the presence of an electrical dam on the Eliakomon River.[4]

The city was also the first city of the Macedonian region to fall to the Roman Empire, following the Battle of Pydna in 168 B.C. During the time of Paul the Apostle, there were two major roads joining the towns of Thessalonica and Berea, one of them passing close to the ancient city of Pella. There are some assumptions that the Apostle Paul used this route when visiting Berea.

Paul and Silas ministered to the Jewish community of Berea 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 Berea by night (Acts17:10). It is also said that Timothy, a student of the apostle Paul, joined him during the journey to Berea. The people of Berea 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 Berea, some Jews from Thessalonica got word that Paul and Silas were preaching in Berea 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 Berea, then later caught up with Paul in the city of Corinth (Acts 18:5). Later, a certain Sopater of Berea joined Paul on his journey (Acts 20:4). It is said that Sopater was ordered by a delegation from Berea to go to Judea with funds that would help the needy of that region.

Berea was one of two capitals when Diocletian ruled Roman empire from 284 through 305 A.D. Ancient custom says that Saint Onesimus was the first bishop of Berea. The office bishops in Berea were under the authority of the head of the ecclesiastic province in Thessalonica, then was later assigned to its own ecclesiastic province by Andronicus II (1283-1328).

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