Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Come over to Macedonia and help us

William Pars c. 1742 – 1782
Exterior of the Gymnasium at Alexandria Troas; ruined triple archway, partially obscured by trees and fallen stones with group of figures in front
Pen and black and grey ink, watercolour, some gum Arabic
294 millimetres x 508 millimetres
The British Museum, London

William Pars c. 1742 – 1782
Interior of the Gymnasium at Alexandria Troas; rocks and shrubs amidst ruins, two foreground figures in centre
Pen and black and grey ink, watercolour, some gum Arabic
300 millimetres x 550 millimetres
The British Museum, London

Pars was the  official draughtsman to Chandler and Revett's expedition to Greece and Asia Minor, 1764-66. It was one of the earliest archaeological expeditions to rediscover the main sites of ancient Greece

Alexandria Troas ("Alexandria of the Troad") was an important  ancient Greek and Roman city situated on the Aegean Sea

It has been a ruin for several hundred years.

As a major port, as a centre of many main roads and a centre of Roman administration, Troas played a crucial role in the expansion of early Christianity.

Near to the entrance of the Hellespont it also provided a link on the main Roman postal route from Asia to Europe via Philippi, Thessalonica and the Via Egnatia

It seems to be the place where Saints Paul and Luke first met, with Luke subsequently making a travel diary of their journeys together.

Perhaps most importantly it was the place where after the Council of Jerusalem, St Paul had his vision which led him to begin his  journey to bring the Christian gospel to Europe:

“6 They travelled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia.  
7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,  
8 so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.  
9 During (the) night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."  
10 When he had seen the vision, we sought passage to Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them” 
Acts 16: 6 – 10

The late Cardinal Martini in a speech on 12th July 2002 LA PAROLA DI DIO NEL FUTURO DELL'EUROPA   "The Word of God in the Future of Europe”) described that moment thus:

“l'unico inizio della evangelizzazione dell'Europa che ci viene descritto solennemente è quello presentato qui in Atti 16,6-9. Da quel momento la parola di Dio sarà proclamata di regione in regione fino agli angoli più remoti del continente europeo e a seguito di ciò anche i libri delle Sacre Scritture entreranno fortemente nella cultura e nella mentalità dei popoli europei.” 
“The first step in the  beginning of the evangelization of Europe which is  solemnly described to us is the one presented here in Acts 16.6 to 9. From that moment, the word of God would be proclaimed from one region to the next and so on, right unto the most remote corners of the European continent and as a result the Books  of the Holy Scriptures would intrude forcefully  into the culture and minds of the peoples of Europe. "