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From Salamis to Paphos

Salamis was the city on the southeast coast of Cyprus where Paul (see Paul's Ministry) and Barnabas began their preaching journey across the island. They later arrived at Paphos (see the map below), which was located on the west coast. Paphos was the designated capital city and therefore the seat of the Roman governor, at that time a man named Sergius Paulus. The King James Version describes him as "the deputy of the country," a term for the Roman proconsul (see Ancient Empires - Rome). A proconsul was a provincial governor of consular rank in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire (proconsul is an abbreviation of provincial and consular). Although most of the Roman governors were arrogant, brutish men, Sergius Paulus apparently became a Christian.

"And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God"

The journey of Paul and Barnabas to Cyprus began from Antioch, the city where believers were first called "Christians" ("the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch," Acts 11:26 KJV). It would be a homeward journey for Barnabas, who was "of the country of Cyprus" (Acts 4:36 KJV).

Paul's First Missionary Journey

"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." (Acts 13:1-3 KJV)

Their arrival at Salamis began their mission to Cyprus.

"So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister." (Acts 13:4-5 KJV)

As with everywhere else, God's servants encountered good and bad. At Paphos they met a sorcerer, along with Sergius Paulus, who, although the Roman governor, was interested in becoming a Christian. When the sorcerer attempted to thwart the governor's conversion, he was miraculously blinded "for a season" - which wasn't an act of wanton cruelty. Paul himself was blinded in exactly the same way, by Jesus Christ, On The Road To Damascus.

"And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

But Elymas the sorcerer, for so is his name by interpretation, withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord." (Acts 13:6-12 KJV)

At the end of the journey through Cyprus, John (see the Fact Finder question below) returned to Jerusalem, while Paul continued on into what is today Turkey (Paul was born in what is today Turkey, at Tarsus).

"Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem." (Acts 13:13 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was the "John" who left Paul after Cyprus and returned to Jerusalem?
See John Mark


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