July 2010 letter
Few days and the Apostles; fast will end, who through their preaching spread Christian faith in the whole world. Lat year we gave a quick overview of each of the apostles and the areas where they served. Herewith I would like to give a quick overview of the Apostle St. Paul and his trips, for which the Book of Acts has dedicated a great part.
After his conversion to Christianity around the year 40 AD, to the time of his death around the year 67 AD, St. Paul made three great missionary trips, along with some other small ones. He visited Jerusalem during this period several times and spent more than four years imprisoned at Caesarea and then Rome.
His first trip: started in 46 AD from Antioch and ended in 49 AD, where he preached in the land of Asia Minor, accompanied by St. Barnabas and St. Mark. This trip ended by the first church Council which was held in Jerusalem in the year 50 AD.
His second trip: began in 51 AD after the Council of Jerusalem and ended in 53 AD. His goal was to revisit the churches he established in the previous trip, but the Spirit led him to Troas. There he had a vision to cross into Macedonia in Greece to preach to them. The first city he preached in was Philippi, and from there he went to the rest of Greece, including Athens which was the centre of literature and philosophy at that time.
Third trip: started in 53 AD and ended in 57 AD, during which St. Paul visited the city of Ephesus and stayed there three years, making it a base for his preaching, and then returned to visit the churches which he founded in the previous two visits.
His capture at Caesarea and his trip to Rome: this period began in 59 AD after his arrest. He remained two years in prison awaiting trial, and then traveled to Rome to be tried before Caesar. And while awaiting trial in Rome he did not stop his preaching, to the extent that the gospel reached the imperial court officials, bringning them to faith. And finally ended his life by being beheaded around the year 67 AD.
As for the church news, through God’s grace the required amount for the purchase of the new house adjacent to the church was collected, which we agreed to name after “St. Mina and Pope Kyrollos,” as loans from our beloved congregation. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for the legal procedures for closing of the house.
Asking you to remember the church, priest and servants and all the services – in particular the selection of the new priest to serve in the church – always in the prayers, and may the blessings of the Virgin Mary and the apostles and all the martyrs and saints, with all of us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, July 1, 2010