Following the Footsteps of Paul: Cyprus
We stayed on the eastern side of the island of Cyprus very near to the place where Paul and Barnabas landed in Salamis, on their first missionary journey. They had with them a young man named Mark. Here is the patron saint after whom our church was named. We see him young, fresh and inexperienced in the passage from Acts 13:4-12. He may have had no idea, really, what he was getting into but reality would hit him very soon.
The team travelled to Paphos, on the western side, where they had a powerful confrontation with a Jewish sorcerer named Elymas. He served a Roman proconsul who had called for Paul and Barnabas in order to hear their message. Elymas viciously opposed them and did everything he could to frustrate their message. Finally, Paul, empowered by the Holy Spirit, rebuked the man and his eyes were blinded in that instant. This event was so profound that the proconsul came to faith in Jesus Christ.
It was interesting for us to learn how much magic was a part of society in the first century AD. We would visit a museum later, in Rome, which had a display full of the paraphernalia of magic. There were spells for love, for prosperity as well as many curses which you could use against someone. This was the kind of world in which the gospel was beginning to spread. We see on Cyprus the power of the gospel in it’s confrontation with evil.
Today we can see the results, two millennium later. The southern half of the island is predominantly Christian. Many of the people we meet have Christian names like Andreas (Andrew), Salvatora (salvation) and Anastasia (resurrection) There are active and living churches here. The message of Jesus continues to inspire faith in the lives of people on Cyprus, as it did through Paul, Barnabas and Mark.
Click the photos below to view them full-size…