An army chaplain follows in the footsteps of St Paul

An army chaplain did some religious-themed sightseeing on the days he wasn’t ministering to the troops. The ancient Macedonian city of Salonika (today known as Thessaloniki) had remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire from 1430 until it was ceded to Greece in 1912. It had a very early Christian congregation, to whom the Apostle Paul wrote the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, which was of great interest to a dedicated believer. St George’s is now a museum.

THE REV. ERIC BRERETON, Chaplain to the Forces, writes to the Rector from Salonika –

“One can picture the labours of the Apostle St. Paul here, and gaze on buildings erected at least 200 years before Christ, some of which are now happily housing His flock, the Church of S. George for instance as an example. Built as early as B.C. 200, for an amphitheatre, it was taken over and consecrated as a Church during the reign of Constantine the Great. Falling victim to the Turkish Invasion about 1340, it was utilised as a Mosque, and a large Minaret erected, from the top of which the muezzin summoned the followers of Mahomet to prayer. As such it remained till 20th October, 1912, when it was restored to the orthodox Church after the last Balkan war.

On Sundays my time is fully occupied. I have 7 services, at 5 of which I preach, and have several miles to cover on horseback before my round is done…

We try too to remember those at home who are praying for us, and to realise our fellowship in the great Communion of Saints.”

Ascot section of Winkfield District Magazine, June 1916 (D/P151/28A/6)

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