Antioch, Syria

[Antioch, Syria]
Ancient Greek capital on the Orontes river in Asia Minor, at the junction of the Lebanon and Taurus ranges, founded 300 B.C.; next to Rome and Alexandria the greatest city of the Roman Empire. Here Christianity received its name (Acts 11). Its first community was founded by Christianized Jews, driven from Jerusalem by persecution. Peter’s long residence here is proved by the episode of the observance of the Jewish ceremonial law even by Christianized pagans, as related by Paul (Galatians 2); the Chair of Peter is commemorated as a feast on 22 February. From Antioch Paul and Barnabas started on their missionary journeys through Asia Minor and Greece (Acts, 13; 18).