BAPTISTERY OF SAINT LYDIA
Just 12 km away from the city of Kavala next to the ancient, archaeological site of Philippi located the place where the Apostle Paul baptized the first Christian woman in Europe - Lydia, and it was here that the first baptismal ceremony was held in Europe. Today here is the Baptistery where the christenings are held today.
In the town of Krynides in the Kavala region, next to the ancient city of Philippi there is a unique, monumental church of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Saint Lydia of the Philippisias. This is a modern architectural monument, the reason for the construction of which served as the stay of the Apostle Paul in this region.
According to the narrative of Evangelist Luke, the Apostle Paul arrived in Philippi, the most important city in the region in the winter of the 49 - 50 AD during his first trip to Greece. He visited a place where Jews gathered on Saturdays on the banks of the Zigaktis River. Here for the first time his sermons were listened to by women, among whom was Lydia who was engaged in the sale of porphyry for the coloring of fabrics.
Lydia was the first Greek and first European woman, baptized by the Apostle Paul. She accepted Christianity and was baptized along with her whole family, and later did a lot to spread the new faith. In memory of this significant event was built the baptistery temple here.
In the center of the Baptistery there is a marble font for infant baptism and on the sides there are rooms for dressing adults for the rite of baptism, which are held in a river flowing near the baptistery.
Inside the temple is decorated with a number of impressive works of art, icons, stained glass - works by famous masters who show of the events that occurred during the period when the Apostle Paul visited Philippi. As well as an amazingly beautiful mosaic on the walls and arches, depicting scenes from the life of the Apostle Paul.
On the bank of the river in the place where Lydia was baptized according to tradition, there is an open baptistery in the form of a cross like those preserved in early Christian basilicas in Philippi. Here annually on May 20 - in the day of the memory are performed of Saint Lydia rites of adult baptism.
The Baptistery of Saint Lydia is a modern and monumental architectural masterpiece which reminds us that here was baptized the first Christian community in Europe!