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 Talbot Bible Lands Tour   January 2004
Acts 27:7
Paul Is Sent to Rome
7 When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone;
Acts 27:12
Paul Is Sent to Rome
12 Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
Acts 27:13
Paul Is Sent to Rome
13 When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.
Acts 27:21
21 When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, "Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss.
Titus 1:5
Titus left in Crete to appoint Elders
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,

Crete is an island in the Aegean Sea about 140 miles long and 30 miles wide. Crete is 174 nautical miles from Piraeus (Athens).   It is the largest and most southern Greek island. We know from Acts 27, that Paul stopped on Crete en route to Rome after his arrest.  If Paul had been to Crete and established churches during the period of Acts it no doubt would have been recorded by Luke. Therefore, it seems clear that this was done after the close of Acts. If so, then Paul was liberated from prison for a time. It seems that he left Crete before the church was fully organized. When Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment, he took Titus (and perhaps Timothy) with him to Crete to evangelize the island.  Paul left Titus on Crete (1:5) and went to Ephesus, where the apostle left Timothy en route to Macedonia. Sometime later, probably from Philippi, he wrote to Titus.  Since Titus church on Crete was newly planted, the main concerns of Paul were that the believers begin living an exemplary Christian life and their appointing of proper leadership.  Christianity spread throughout the island and became established. Fine churches and basilicas were built.  Titus founded the first Christian church in Crete at Gortyn.  There is evidence of 40 or more basilicas being built after this period. Crete was one of the first regions of the Greek world to accept Christianity, with Titus as their bishop.  At Gortyn, the capital of the island during Roman rule, a basilica dedicated to Titus was built in the 7th century. 

 I believe the Thera volcano caused a tsunami which led to the Philistines leaving Crete, some going to Cyprus and others on to Palestine and Egypt.


Heraklion fortressThe main city on Crete is Heraklion. The city is also a major cruise destination.

Archaeological museumThe enormous Archaeological Museum (converted from an old power station) on one corner of the central Eleftherias Square, collects together many of the finds from Knossos, Archanes, Phaestos, Zakros and many other archeological sites in Crete. The museum spans a period starting several thousand years ago, through the Minoan, post-Minoan and later periods.

Knossos palace The Palace of Knossos. 20-25 minutes from the center of Heraklion.

crete/101_1963.JPGCrete is a huge island with a large mountain rage, Mount Ida.  It is divided into four departments, those of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, and Lassithi with 20 provinces, 570 communities and 1447 villages.  The boat journey from Athens takes about 9 hours.  The climate is mild, even in the winter, except at the higher elevations.  The Samaria Gorge is the longest gorge in Europe (11.2 miles). 

The old town of Heraklion lies within the 16th-century Venetian city walls. The History Museum tells the islands story from Byzantine times up to the present day. One of the Minoan ruins is the palace at Knossos, founded in 2000 BC  It was a vast city of 50,000 inhabitants, destroyed around 1600 BC by earth movements provoked by the volcanic eruption on Santorini. The highlights here are the frescoed sanctuary and the royal apartments.

The heat of the long summers on Crete are cooled by the "Meltemi" a wind which often reaches gale force particularly in the south part of the island.  The Meltemi wind was known by the old Greeks as the Etesian northern winds, called Euraquilo (north easter) or Euroclydon in the Bible, and results from a high pressure system laying over the Balkan/Hungary area and a relatively low pressure system over Turkey.Paul's ship encountered this kind of bad weather as they approached the coast of Crete.  Paul's voyage to Fair Havens (Kaloi Limenes) probably took place in the autumn of 61 AD.  Fair Havens is at Crete's southern most point, close to the ancient city of Gortyn and its port, Lebena.  The town of Lasea mentioned in Acts, was east of Lebena, and Phoenix, is probably today the village of Loutro. [1]   

Despite a busy tourist industry concentrated along the north coast, Crete has preserved its unspoiled nature, local traditions and ancient monuments. The Minoan culture, Europes first advanced civilization, developed here between 2800 and 1000 BC. When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, many artists took refuge on the island, founding the renowned Cretan School of painters.

crete/101_1962.JPGCrete is believed to have been inhabited since the period (6th millennium BC) The Neolithic was followed by the Bronze age, which English archeologist, Arthur Evans in the early 1900's, who excavated the palace at Knossos, called "Minoan" after the legendary king of Crete, Minos.  This civilization lasted 1500 years from 2600-1100 BC  During the Greco-Roman period 69 BC to 330 A.D.  Crete became a Roman province.  The capital at first was at Knossos, and then transferred to Gortyn, the city that had offered least resistance to the conqueror.   Gortys or Gortyn is in the plain of Messara.  It was a major Cretan city.  The ruins date from the Roman and Byzantine periods. The first period of Byzantine rule lasted from 395 A.D. until 824 A.D. During this period Crete was part of the Byzantine Empire, which had its capital in Constantinople. It became a separate province in the empire and had a Byzantine general as its governor. This allowed Crete to participate in the building of the Greek Byzantine Empire.

 In the 9th century, Arabs from Spain conquered the island.  The Venitian period followed from 1212-1669. Then the Turkish period 1669-1898. When war broke out between Greece and Turkey in 1912, Crete became a part of Greece.

There is Scriptural and archaeological evidence that the Philistines came from Crete.  Caphtorim was mentioned in Gen. 10:14 and again in Deuteronomy 2:23 and the Avvim, that dwelt in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, that came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.  Jeremiah 47:4, because of the day that cometh to destroy all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper that remaineth: for Jehovah will destroy the Philistines, the remnant of the isle of Caphtor.  Amos 9:7, Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith Jehovah. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?

A site at which Cretan archaeology has been excavated for its earliest occupants is at the site of the palace at Knosos. At this site deep test pits were dug into the earlier occupation levels. The most impressive remains of the Minoan civilization come from the Cretan palaces, like Knossos and Phaestos. According to Logiadou-Platonos the archaeological remains suggest the first palaces at Knossos were destroyed around 1700 BC by a terrible disaster, but what that disaster was remains unclear. The second palace center, built on the site of the first, was reportedly destroyed about 1450 BC by the volcanic eruption of Thera. Thera, or the modern island of Santorini, located sixty-nine miles north of the island of Crete in the Aegean Sea, was devastated by a volcanic eruption sometime in the 15th century BC. The actual date of the eruption is a subject of great debate: It was originally thought to have erupted around 1450 BC, but recent claims are that the eruption occurred around 1645 BC. What is clear is that the eruption caused extensive damage not only to the island itself, but also to the surrounding area. It is the eruption and its effects that might have caused the Minoan civilization to fall. The eruption was one the most powerful in the past 10,000 years and probably contributed to the fall of the Minoan Civilization. [2]

Church of Titus
Head of Titus
Church of Titus

Fountain in Heraklion

Crete museum, housing valuable collections representing all the periods of Cretan civilization.  The rooms contain exhibits in chronological order. The small snake goddess is from the Palace at Knossos, from about 1600 BC

Crete museum, the bulls head is from the same place and period.

Knossos, cupbearers from the procession fresco.  Depicting the "ideal Minoan youth" with the slender waist.

The west magazines of the palace at Knossos
Knossos air, light, and ventilation shafts
Knossos open area theater 16th century B.C.
Knossos magazine
Knossos Kings Highway
Shop at Knossos
Gortyn believed by tradition to be named after the son of Rhadamanthys.


Church of Titus at Gortyn





Church of Titus at Gortyn


This inscription at Gortyn is a summary of the laws relating to family law and civil procedure from the 6th century BC
This oak tree at Gortin was used for the design of the $2 Greek Euro coin

Fair Haven

Fair Haven
Fair Haven

Fair Haven

Dr. Rigsby read from Acts of Paul's journey through Fair Haven en route to Rome 

Ryan protected the Bible from the rain

Coming back from Fair Haven we took a break at a small village, I believe it was Lassea.  Our driver was excellent, in taking us through narrow winding one lane roads and between buildings.

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Fair Haven

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[1]Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles, 138

[2] Christos Doumas, Thera: Pompeii of the ancient Aegean. Thames & Hudson 1984 Thera 

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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