Previous Next

Table of Contents

Macedonia


Macedo’nia (extended land), a large and celebrated country lying north of Greece, the first part of Europe which received the gospel directly from St. Paul, and an important scene of his subsequent missionary labors and those of his companions. It was bounded by the range of Hæmus or the Balkan northward, by the chain of Pindus westward, by the Cambunian hills southward, by which it is separated from Thessaly, and is divided on the east from Thrace by a less definite mountain boundary running southward from Hæmus. Of the space thus enclosed, two of the most remarkable physical features are two great plains, one watered by the Axius, which comes to the sea at the Thermaic Gulf, not far from Thessalonica; the other by the Strymon, which, after passing near Philippi, flows out below Amphipolis. Between the mouths of these two rivers a remarkable peninsula projects, dividing itself into three points, on the farthest of which Mount Athos rises nearly into the region of perpetual snow. Across the neck of this peninsula St. Paul travelled more than once with his companions. This general sketch sufficiently describes the Macedonia which was ruled over by Philip and Alexander, and which the Romans conquered from Perseus. At first the conquered country was divided by Æmilius Paulus into four districts, but afterward was made one province and centralized under the jurisdiction of a proconsul, who resided at Thessalonica. The character of the Christians of Macedonia is set before us in Scripture in a very favorable light. The candor of the Bereans is highly commended, Acts 17:11; the Thessalonians were evidently objects of St. Paul’s peculiar affection, 1 Thess. 2:8, 17-20; 3:10; and the Philippians, besides their general freedom from blame, are noted as remarkable for their liberality and self-denial. Phil. 4:10, 14-19; see 2 Cor. 9:2; 11:9.

Image

Coin of Macedon. Head of Alexander the Great.