April 24, 2018
(Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest and martyr)
Those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews. There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. . . . it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. Acts_11:19-26
Since the Jewish believers in Jesus were beginning to understand the access to the Faith given by God to the Gentiles, they now began to accept the new communities of Gentile believers, and true, unrestricted evangelization began in earnest. Paul in his own right had an uphill battle to convince the Apostles that he was no longer persecuting them, but was on their side! In Jerusalem Paul found a new best friend in Barnabas (a Jewish Levite from Cyprus – Acts 4:36) who saved him from violent opposition in Jerusalem and later brought him back from Tarsus to Antioch where a thriving Christian community was continuing to grow.
The towns that are mentioned early on in Acts are generally, Eastern Mediterranean, seaport or near the sea localities in Syria, Turkey, Cyprus and today’s Israel.
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