Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Hope, Third John 1:5-8, Psalms 112:1-6, Luke 18:1-8, Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea, Caesarea Maritima

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog:
Hope, Third John 1:5-8, Psalms 112:1-6, Luke 18:1-8, Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea, Caesarea Maritima

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


November 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children, as a mother I implore you to persevere as my apostles. I am praying to my Son to give you Divine wisdom and strength. I am praying that you may discern everything around you according to God’s truth and to strongly resist everything that wants to distance you from my Son. I am praying that you may witness the love of the Heavenly Father according to my Son. My children, great grace has been given to you to be witnesses of God’s love. Do not take the given responsibility lightly. Do not sadden my motherly heart. As a mother I desire to rely on my children, on my apostles. Through fasting and prayer you are opening the way for me to pray to my Son for Him to be beside you and for His name to be holy through you. Pray for the shepherds because none of this would be possible without them. Thank you."

October 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call." ~ Blessed Virgin Mary

October 02, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:

"Dear children; I am calling you and am coming among you because I need you. I need apostles with a pure heart. I am praying, and you should also pray, that the Holy Spirit may enable and lead you, that He may illuminate you and fill you with love and humility. Pray that He may fill you with grace and mercy. Only then will you understand me, my children. Only then will you understand my pain because of those who have not come to know the love of God. Then you will be able to help me. You will be my light-bearers of God’s love. You will illuminate the way for those who have been given eyes but do not want to see. I desire for all of my children to see my Son. I desire for all of my children to experience His Kingdom. Again I call you and implore you to pray for those whom my Son has called. Thank you."
~ Blessed Virgin Mary


Today's Word:  Hope  hope  [hohp]

Origin:  before 900;  (noun) Middle English; Old English hopa;  cognate with Dutch hoop, German Hoffe;  (v.) Middle English hopen, Old English

1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.
2. a particular instance of this feeling: the hope of winning.
3. grounds for this feeling in a particular instance: There is little or no hope of his recovery.
4. a person or thing in which expectations are centered: The medicine was her last hope.
5. something that is hoped for: Her forgiveness is my constant hope.
verb (used with object)
6. to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
7. to believe, desire, or trust: I hope that my work will be satisfactory.
verb (used without object)
8. to feel that something desired may happen: We hope for an early spring.
9. Archaic . to place trust; rely (usually followed by in ). 

10. hope against hope, to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it: We are hoping against hope for a change in her condition.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 112:1-6

1 Alleluia! How blessed is anyone who fears Yahweh, who delights in his commandments!
2 His descendants shall be powerful on earth, the race of the honest shall receive blessings:
3 Riches and wealth for his family; his uprightness stands firm for ever.
4 For the honest he shines as a lamp in the dark, generous, tender-hearted, and upright.
5 All goes well for one who lends generously, who is honest in all his dealing;
6 for all time to come he will not stumble, for all time to come the upright will be remembered


Today's Epistle -  Third John 1:5-8

5 My dear friend, you have done loyal work in helping these brothers, even though they were strangers to you.
6 They are a proof to the whole Church of your love and it would be a kindness if you could help them on their journey as God would approve.
7 It was entirely for the sake of the name that they set out, without depending on the non-believers for anything:
8 it is our duty to welcome people of this sort and contribute our share to their work for the truth


Today's Gospel Reading - Gospel reading - Luke 18:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. 'There was a judge in a certain town,' he said, 'who had neither fear of God nor respect for anyone. In the same town there was also a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, "I want justice from you against my enemy!" For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, "Even though I have neither fear of God nor respect for any human person, I must give this widow her just rights since she keeps pestering me, or she will come and slap me in the face." ' And the Lord said, 'You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now, will not God see justice done to his elect if they keep calling to him day and night even though he still delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?'
• Today’s Gospel presents an element which is very dear to Luke: Prayer. This is the second time that Luke gives us the words of Jesus to teach us to pray. The first time (Lk 11, 1-13), he taught us the Our Father and, by means of comparisons and parables, he taught that we have to pray insistently, without getting tired. Now, this second time, (Lk 18,1-8), again he has recourse to a parable taken from life so as to teach us insistence in prayer. It is the parable of the widow who pestered the judge who was unscrupulous. The way in which he presents the parable is very didactic. In the first place, Luke presents a brief introduction which serves as the key for the reading. Then he narrates the parable. At the end, Jesus himself explains it:

• Luke 18, 1: The introduction. Luke presents the parable with the following phrase: “Then he told them a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart". The recommendation “to pray without losing heart” appears many times in the New Testament (1 Th 5, 17; Rm 12, 12; Ep 6, 18; etc). And it is a characteristic of the spirituality of the first Christian communities.

• Luke 18, 2-5: The parable. Then Jesus presents two personages of real life: a judge who had no consideration for God and no consideration for others, and a widow who struggles to obtain her rights from the judge. The simple fact of indicating these two personages reveals the critical conscience which he had regarding the society of his time. The parable presents the poor people who struggle in the tribunal to obtain their rights. The judge decides to pay attention to the widow and to do justice. The reason is the following: in order to free himself from the widow who is pestering him and to get rid of her. This is a quite interesting reason. But the widow obtained what she wanted! This is a fact of daily life, which Jesus uses to teach to pray.

• Luke 18, 6-8: the application. Jesus applies the parable: “You notice what the unjust judge has said. Now, will not God see justice done to his elect if they keep calling to him day and night even though he still delays to help them? Will he make them wait long? I tell you he will see justice done to them, and done speedily”. If it had not been Jesus we would not have had the courage to compare Jesus to an unjust judge! And at the end Jesus expresses a doubt: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Or rather, will we have the courage to wait, to have patience, even if God delays in doing what we ask him?

• Jesus in prayer. The first Christians had an image of Jesus in prayer, in permanent contact with the Father. In fact, the breathing of the life of Jesus was to do the Will of the Father (Jn 5, 19). Jesus prayed very much and insisted, in order that people and his disciples also pray. And this because it is in confronting oneself with God that truth emerges and the person finds himself/herself in his/her whole reality and humility. Luke is the Evangelist who gives us more information on the life of prayer of Jesus. He presents Jesus in constant prayer. 
The following are some moments in which Jesus appears praying. You, all of you can complete the list:
- When he was twelve years old and goes to the Temple, to the House of the Father (Lk 2, 46-50).
- He prays when he is baptized and in assuming his mission (Lk 3, 21).
- At the beginning of the mission, he spends forty days in the desert (Lk 4, 1-2).
- At the hour of temptation, he faces the devil with the texts from Scripture (Lk 4, 3-12).
- Jesus used to participate in the celebration in the Synagogue on Saturday (Lk 4, 16)
- He seeks solitude in the desert to pray (Lk 5, 16; 9, 18).
- Before choosing the twelve Apostles, he spends the night in prayer (Lk 6, 12).
- He prays before meals (Lk 9, 16; 24, 30).
- He prays before the Passion and when facing reality (Lk 9, 18).
- In time of crises, he goes up to the mountain and is transfigured when he prays (Lk 9, 28).
- When he revealed the Gospel to the little ones he says: “Father, I thank you!” (Lk 10, 21)
- In praying, he arouses in the Apostles the desire to pray (Lk 11, 1).
- He prays for Peter so that he does not lose his faith (Lk 22, 32).
- He celebrates the Paschal Supper with his disciples (Lk 22, 7-14).
- In the Garden of Olives, he prays, even when sweating blood (Lk 22, 41-42).
- In the anguish of the agony, he asks his friends to pray with him (Lk 22, 40.46).
- At the moment when he was being nailed to the Cross, he asks pardon for the murderers (Lk 23, 34).
- At the hour of death he says: “Into your hands I commend my spirit!” (Lk 23, 46; Ps 31, 6)
- Jesus dies crying out with the cry of the poor (Lk 23, 46).

• This long list indicates everything which follows. For Jesus prayer is intimately linked to life, to concrete facts, to the decisions which he had to take. In order to be able to be faithful to the project of the Father, he sought to remain alone with Him. He listened to Him. In difficult and decisive moments in his life, Jesus recited Psalms. Just as any devout Jew, he knew them by heart. The recitation of the Psalms did not take away his creativity. Rather, Jesus himself created a Psalm which he transmitted to us: the Our Father. His life is a permanent prayer: “I always seek the will of the one who sent me!” (Jn 5, 19.30) To him is applied what the Psalm says: “I am prayer!” (Ps 109, 4)
Personal questions
• There are people who say that they do not know how to pray, but they speak with God the whole day! Do you know any such persons? Tell us. There are many ways in which today people express their devotion and pray. Which are they?
• What do these two parables teach us on prayer? What do they teach me regarding the way of seeing life and persons?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea

Feast Day:  November 17
Patron Saint:  against earthquakes, desperate causes, floods, forgotten causes, impossible causes, lost causes

Gregory Thaumaturgus, also known as Gregory of Neocaesarea or Gregory the Wonderworker, (ca. 213 – ca. 270) was a Christian bishop of the 3rd century.
Gregory was born at Neo-Caesarea (the capital of Pontus in Asia Minor) around 213 A.D. Among those who built up the Christian Church, extended its influence, and strengthened its institutions, the bishops of Asia Minor occupy a high position; among them Gregory of Neocaesarea holds a very prominent place. Little is known of his pastoral work, and his surviving theological writings are in an incomplete state. This lack of knowledge partially obscures his personality, despite his historical importance, and his immemorial title Thaumaturgus, "the wonder-worker" in Latinized Greek, casts an air of legend about him. Nevertheless, the lives of few bishops of the third century are so well authenticated; the historical references to him permit a fairly detailed reconstruction of his work.

Originally he was known as Theodore ("gift of God"), not an exclusively Christian name. His family had not converted to Christianity, and he was introduced to the Christian religion only at the age of fourteen, after the death of his father. He had a brother Athenodorus, and on the advice of one of their tutors, the young men were eager to study law at the law-school of Berytus (Beirut), then one of the four or five famous schools in the Hellenic world. At this time, their brother-in-law was appointed assessor (legal counsel) to the Roman Governor of Palestine; the youths had therefore an occasion to act as an escort to their sister as far as Caesarea in Palestine. On arrival in that town they learned that the celebrated scholar Origen, head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, resided there. Curiosity led them to hear and converse with the master, and his irresistible charm[citation needed] did the rest. Soon both youths forgot all about Beirut and Roman law, and gave themselves up to the great Christian teacher, who gradually won them over to Christianity.

In his panegyric on Origen, Gregory describes the method employed by that master to win the confidence and esteem of those he wished to convert; how he mingled a persuasive candour with outbursts of temper and theological argument put cleverly at once and unexpectedly. Persuasive skill rather than bare reasoning, and evident sincerity and an ardent conviction were the means Origen used to make converts. Gregory took up at first the study of philosophy; theology was afterwards added, but his mind remained always inclined to philosophical study, so much so indeed that in his youth he cherished strongly the hope of demonstrating that the Christian religion was the only true and good philosophy. For seven years he underwent the mental and moral discipline of Origen (231 to 238 or 239). There is no reason to believe that his studies were interrupted by the persecutions of Maximinus of Thrace; his alleged journey to Alexandria, at this time, may therefore be considered at least doubtful, and probably never occurred.

Before leaving Palestine, Gregory delivered in presence of Origen a public farewell oration in which he returned thanks to the illustrious master he was leaving. This oration is valuable from many points of view. As a rhetorical exercise it exhibits the excellent training given by Origen, and his skill in developing literary taste and the amount of adulation then permissible towards a living person in an assembly composed mostly of Christians, and Christian in temper. It contains, moreover, much useful information concerning the youth of Gregory and his master's method of teaching. A letter of Origen refers to the departure of the two brothers, but it is not easy to determine whether it was written before or after the delivery of this oration. In it Origen exhorts (perhaps unnecessarily) his pupils to bring the intellectual treasures of the Greeks to the service of Christian philosophy, and thus imitate the Jews who employed the golden vessels of the Egyptians to adorn the Holy of Holies.

It may be supposed that despite the original abandonment of Beirut and the study of Roman law, Gregory had not entirely given up the original purpose of his journey to the East; as a matter of fact, he returned to Pontus with the intention of practising law. His plan, however, was again laid aside, for he was soon consecrated bishop of his native Caesarea by Phoedimus, Bishop of Amasea and metropolitan of Pontus. This fact illustrates in an interesting way the growth of the hierarchy in the primitive Church; the Christian community at Caesarea was very small, being only seventeen souls, and yet it was given a bishop. Ancient canonical documents indicate that it was possible for a community of even ten Christians to have their own bishop. When Gregory was consecrated he was forty years old, and he ruled his diocese for thirteen years.
Nothing definite is known about his methods, but he must have shown much zeal in increasing the little flock with which he began his episcopal administration. An ancient source[citation needed] attests to his missionary zeal by recording a curious coincidence: Gregory began with only seventeen Christians, but at his death there remained only seventeen pagans in the whole town of Caesarea. Presumably the many miracles which won for him the title of Thaumaturgus were performed during these years.

Historicity of life

Sources on the life, teaching, and actions of Gregory Thaumaturgus are all more or less open to criticism. Besides the details given by Gregory himself, there are four other sources of information, according to Kötschau all derived from oral tradition; indeed, the differences between them force the conclusion that they cannot all be derived from one common written source. They are:
  • Life and Panegyric of Gregory by St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVI, col. 893 sqq.);
  • Historia Miraculorum, by Rufinus;
  • an account in Syriac of the great actions of Blessed Gregory (sixth century manuscript);
  • St. Basil, De Spirtu Sancto.
Drawing on family traditions and a knowledge of the neighbourhood, the account by Gregory of Nyssa is more reliably historical than other known versions of the Thaumaturge's life. By the time of Rufinus (ca. 400), the original story was becoming confused; the Syriac account is at times obscure and contradictory. Even the life by Gregory of Nyssa exhibits a legendary element, though the facts were supplied to the writer by his grandmother, St. Macrina the Elder. He relates that before his episcopal consecration Gregory retired from Neocaesarea into a solitude, and was favoured by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin and John the Apostle, and that the latter dictated to him a creed or formula of Christian faith, of which the autograph existed at Neocaesarea when the biography was being written. The creed itself is important for the history of Christian doctrine.[

Gregory of Nyssa describes at length the miracles that gained for the Bishop of Caesarea the title of Thaumaturgus. It is clear that Gregory's influence must have been considerable, and his miraculous power undoubted. It might have been expected that Gregory's name would appear among those who took part in the First Council of Antioch against Paul of Samosata;[3] probably he took part also in the second council held there against the same heresiarch, for the letter of that council is signed by a bishop named Theodore, which had been originally Gregory's name.[4] To attract the people to the festivals in honour of the martyrs, Gregory organized profane amusements that might appeal to pagans, who were accustomed to religious ceremonies that combined solemnity with pleasure and merrymaking.

Writings of Gregory

  • The Oratio Panegyrica in honour of Origen describes in detail that master's pedagogical methods. Its literary value consists less in its style than in its novelty: it is the first attempt at autobiography in Christian literature. This youthful work is full of enthusiasm and genuine talent; moreover, it proves how fully Origen had won the admiration of his pupils, and how the training Gregory received influenced the remainder of a long and well spent life. Gregory tells us in this work (xiii) that under Origen he read the works of many philosophers, without restriction as to school, except that of the atheists. From this reading of the old philosophers he learned to insist frequently on the unity of God; and his long experience of pagan or crudely Christian populations taught him how necessary this was. Traces of this insistence are to be met with in the Tractatus ad Theopompum, concerning the pasibility and impassibility of God; this work seems to belong to Gregory, though in its general arrangement it reminds us of Methodius. A similar trait was probably characteristic of the lost Dialogus cum Aeliano (Pros Ailianon dialexis), which we learn of through St. Basil, who frequently attests the orthodoxy of the Thaumaturgus (Ep. xxviii, 1, 2; cciv, 2; ccvii, 4) and even defends him against the Sabellians, who claimed him for their teaching and quoted as his formula: patera kai ouion epinoia men einai duo, hypostasei de en (that the Father and the Son were two in intelligence, but one in substance) from the aforesaid Dialogus cum Aeliano. St. Basil replied that Gregory was arguing against a pagan, and used the words agonistikos not dogmatikos, i.e. in the heat of combat, not in calm exposition; in this case he was insisting, and rightly, on the Divine unity. he added, moreover, that a like explanation must be given to the words ktisma, poiema (created, made) when applied to the Son, reference being to Christ Incarnate. Basil added that the text of the work was corrupt.
  • The "Epostola Canonica", epistole kanonike (Routh, Reliquiae Sacrae, III, 251-83) is valuable to both historian and canonist as evidence of the organization of the Church of Caesarea and the other Churches of Pontus under Gregory's influence, at a time when the invading Goths had begun to aggravate a situation made difficult enough by the imperial persecutions. We learn from this work how absorbing the episcopal charge was for a man of conscience and a strict sense of duty. Moreover it helps us to understand how a man so well equipped mentally, and with the literary gifts of Gregory, has not left a greater number of works.
  • The Ekthesis tes pisteos (Exposition of the Faith) is in its kind a theological document not less precious than the foregoing. It makes clear Gregory's orthodoxy a propos of the Trinity. Its authenticity and date seem now definitely settled, the date lying between 260-270. Caspari has shown that this confession of faith is a development of the premises laid down by Origen. Its conclusion leaves no room for doubt: "There is therefore nothing created, nothing greater or less (literally, nothing subject) in the Trinity (oute oun ktiston ti, he doulon en te triadi), nothing superadded, as though it had not existed before, but never been without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit; and this same Trinity is immutable and unalterable forever". Such a formula, stating clearly the distinction between the Persons in the Trinity, and emphasizing the eternity, equality, immortality, and perfection, not only of the Father, but of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, proclaims a marked advance on the theories of Origen.
  • A Metaphrasis eis ton Ekklesiasten tou Solomontos, or paraphrase of Ecclesiastes, is attributed to him by some manuscripts; others ascribe it to Gregory of Nazianzus; St. Jerome (De vir. illust., chapter 65, and Com. in eccles., iv) ascribes it to our Gregory.[5]
  • The Epistola ad Philagrium has reached us in a Syriac version. It treats of the Consubstantiality of the Son and has also been attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus (Ep. ccxliii; formerly Orat. xiv); Tillemont and the Benedictines, however, deny this because it offers no expression suggestive of the Arian controversy. Draeseke, nevertheless, calls attention to numerous views and expressions in this treatise that recall the writings of Gregory of Nazianzus.
  • The brief Treatise on the Soul addressed to one Tatian, in favour of which may be cited the testimony of Nicholas of Methone (probably from Procopius of Gaza), is now claimed for Gregory.
  • The Kephalaia peri pisteos dodeka or Twelve Chapters on Faith do not seem to be the work of Gregory. According to Caspari, the Kata meros pistis or brief exposition of doctrine concerning the Trinity and the Incarnation, attributed to Gregory, was composed by Apollinaris of Laodicea about 380,and circulated by his followers as a work of Gregory (Otto Bardenhewer).
  • Finally, the Greek, Syriac, and Armenian Catenæ contain fragments attributed more or less correctly to Gregory. The fragments of the De Resurrectione belong rather to Pamphilus' Apologia for Origen.

Thomas Allin (writer on Universalism) claimed Gregory as a Universalist in 1899, but without any specific source evidence other than his friendship with Origen.


    1. Gregory Thaumaturgus
    2. ^ Leclercq 1910 cites: Caspari, Alte und neue Quellen zur Geschichte des Taufsymols und der Glaubernsregel, Christiania, 1879, 1-64.
    3. ^ Leclercq 1910 cites: Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History VII, xxviii.
    4. ^ Leclercq 1910 cites: Eusebius, op. cit., VII, xxx.
    5. ^ A Metaphrase of the Book Of Ecclesiastes


    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


    Today's  Snippet  I:  Caesarea Maritima

    Caesarea Maritima (Greek: παράλιος Καισάρεια) is a national park on Israeli coastline, near the town of Caesarea. The ancient Caesarea Maritima (or Caesarea Palestinae) city and harbor was built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE. The city has been populated through the late Roman and Byzantine era. Its ruins lie on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, on the site of Pyrgos Stratonos ("Straton's Tower"). The national park is a popular location for the summer period, having a developed promenade with restaurants and coffee shops. The access to the Caesarea Maritima national park is via the coastal road.

    Caesarea Maritima was named in honor of Augustus Caesar. The city was described in detail by the 1st century Roman Jewish historian Josephus. The city became the seat of the Roman prefect soon after its foundation. Caesarea was the "administrative capital" beginning in 6 CE. This city is the location of the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, the only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified.

    The emperor Vespasian raised its status to that of a colonia. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, Caesarea was the provincial capital of the Judaea Province, before the change of name to Syria Palaestina in 134 CE, shortly before the Bar Kokhba revolt. In Byzantine times, Caesarea remained the capital, with brief interruption of Persian and Jewish conquest between 614 and 625. In the 630s, Arab Muslim armies had taken control of the region, keeping Caesarea as its administrative center. In the early 8th century, the Umayyad caliph Suleiman transferred the seat of government of the Jund Filastin from Caesarea to Ramla.


    Roman era

    Herod built his palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea, with a decorative pool surrounded by stoas. In 13 BC, Caesarea became the civilian and military capital of Iudaea Province and the official residence of the Roman procurators and governors, Pontius Pilatus, praefectus and Antonius Felix. Josephus describes the harbor as being as large as the one at Piraeus, the major harbor of Athens. Remains of the principal buildings erected by Herod and the medieval town are still visible today, including the city walls, the castle and a Crusader cathedral and church. Caesarea grew rapidly, becoming the largest city in Judea, with an estimated population of 125,000 over an urban area of 3.7 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi). In 66 CE, the desecration of the local synagogue led to the disastrous Jewish revolt.

    This city is the location of the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, the only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified. It is likely that Pilate used it as a base, and only went to Jerusalem when needed.

    In 69, Vespasian declared it a colony and renamed it Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesarea. In 70 CE, after the Jewish revolt was suppressed, games were held here to celebrate the victory of Titus. Many Jewish captives were brought to Caesarea Maritima and 2500 were slaughtered in Gladiatorial games. After the revolt of Simon bar Kokhba in 132, which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and expulsion of Jews, Caesarea became the center of Early Christianity in Palestine.

    Christian hub

    According to the Acts of the Apostles, Caesarea was first introduced to Christianity when Peter the apostle baptized Cornelius the Centurion, his household, and his soldiers. This was the first time any Apostle had preached to the Gentiles and before Paul's first missionary journey. The Apostle Paul sought refuge there, staying once at the house of Philip the Evangelist, and later being imprisoned at Caesarea (which was the capital of the Roman province) for two years before being sent to Rome.

    The Apostolic Constitutions state that the first Bishop of Caesarea was Zacchaeus the Publican. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Caesarea became the metropolitan See. In the 3rd century Origen wrote his Hexapla and other exegetic and theological works while living there. The early church historian Eusebius was one of its bishops (315 - 318) in the early 4th century. Nicene Creed may have originated in Caesarea.
    The main church, a martyrion (martyr's shrine) was built in the 6th century and sited directly upon the podium that had supported the Roman temple, as was a widespread Christian practice. Throughout the Empire, prominently-sited pagan temples were rarely left unconsecrated to Christianity: in time the Martyrion's site was re-occupied, this time by a mosque. The Martyrion was an octagon, richly re-paved and surrounded by small radiating enclosures. Archaeologists have recovered some foliate capitals that included representations of the Cross.

    An elaborate government structure contained a basilica with an apse, where magistrates would have sat, for the structure was used as a hall of justice, as fragments of inscriptions detailing the fees that court clerks might claim attest. A well-preserved 6th century mosaic gold and colored glass table patterned with crosses and rosettes was found in 2005.

    Cornelius the Centurion

    Cornelius (in Greek, Κορνήλιος) was a Roman centurion who is considered by Christians to be the first Gentile to convert to the faith, as related in Acts of the Apostles. Stationed in Caesarea, the capital of Roman Iudaea province, Cornelius is depicted in the New Testament as a God-fearing man who always prayed and was full of good works and deeds of alms. Cornelius receives a vision in which an angel of God tells him that his prayers have been heard. The angel then instructs Cornelius to send the men of his household to Joppa, where they will find Simon Peter, who is residing with a tanner by the name of Simon.

    The conversion of Cornelius only comes after yet another vision given to Simon Peter (Acts 10:10–16) himself. In the vision, Simon Peter sees all manner of four-footed beasts and birds of the air being lowered from Heaven in a sheet. A voice commands Simon Peter to eat. When he objects to eating those animals that are unclean to Mosaic Law, the voice tells him not to call unclean that which God has cleansed or purified.

    When Cornelius' men arrive, Simon Peter understands that the vision permits the conversion of the Gentiles. When Cornelius himself meets Simon Peter, Cornelius falls at his feet in adoration. Picking Cornelius up, Simon Peter welcomes him. After the two men share their visions, and Simon Peter tells of Jesus' ministry and the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit falls on everyone at the gathering. The Jews among the group (presumably they were all Jews if Cornelius was the first gentile convert, see Jewish Christians) are amazed that Cornelius and other uncircumcised should begin speaking in tongues, praising God.  Thereupon Simon Peter commands that Cornelius and his followers be baptized.  

    The controversial aspect of Gentile conversion is taken up later at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), but has its roots in the concept of "proselytes" in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) and Jewish Noahide Law. The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the importance of Cornelius' baptism as follows:

    The baptism of Cornelius is an important event in the history of the Early Church. The gates of the Church, within which thus far only those who were circumcised and observed the Law of Moses had been admitted, were now thrown open to the uncircumcised Gentiles without the obligation of submitting to the Jewish ceremonial laws.  — F. Bechtel, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908

    Theological library

    Through Origen and especially the scholarly presbyter Pamphilus of Caesarea, an avid collector of books of Scripture, the theological school of Caesarea won a reputation for having the most extensive ecclesiastical library of the time, containing more than 30,000 manuscripts: Gregory Nazianzus, Basil the Great, Jerome and others came to study there. The Caesarean text-type is recognized by scholars as one of the earliest New Testament types. The collections of the library suffered during the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, but were repaired subsequently by bishops of Caesarea. It was noted in the 6th century, but Henry Barclay Swete was of the opinion that it probably did not long survive the capture of Caesarea by the Saracens in 638, though a modern historian would attribute more destruction to its previous capture by the Sassanid Persians (in 614).

    Arab rule

    Fishing Boats
    In 638 the city, capital of Byzantine Palestine and an important commercial and maritime center, was conquered by the Muslims, allegedly through the betrayal of a certain Yusef, who conducted a party of troops of Muawiyah through a "secret tunnel", perhaps the extensive Byzantine sewers, into the city. The Persian historian al-Baladhuri, who offers the earliest Muslim account, merely states that the city was "reduced". The 7th-century Coptic bishop John of Nikiû, mentions "the horrors committed in the city of Caesarea in Palestine".

    Crusader era

    The walls remained, but within them the population dwindled and agriculture crept in among the ruins. When Baldwin I took the city in 1101/2, during the First Crusade, it was still very rich, nevertheless. A legend grew up that in this city was discovered the Holy Grail around which so much lore accrued in the next two centuries. The city was strongly refortified and rebuilt by the Crusaders. A lordship was created there, as was one of the four archbishoprics in the kingdom (see Archbishop of Caesarea). A list of thirty-six Latin bishops, from 1101 to 1496 has been reassembled by 19th century papal historians; the most famous of these is probably Heraclius. After that the Latin "Bishop of Caesarea" became an empty title. Saladin retook the city in 1187; it was recaptured by the Crusaders in 1191, and finally lost by them in 1265, this time to the Mamluks, who ensured that there would be no more battling over the site— where the harbor has silted in anyway— by razing the fortifications - in line with their practice in other formerly-Crusader coastal cities.

    Sebastos harbor

    When it was built in the 1st century BC, Sebastos Harbor ranked as the largest artificial harbor built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 m2. King Herod built the two moles, or breakwaters, of the harbor between 22 and 15 BC, and in 10/9 BC he dedicated the city and harbor to Caesar (Sebastos is Greek for Augustus). The pace of construction was impressive considering its size and complexity. The moles were made of lime and pozzolana, a type of volcanic ash, set into a concrete underwater. Herod imported over 24,000 m3 pozzolana from Pozzuoli, Italy, to construct the 500 meter long southern breakwater and 275 meter long northern breakwater. A shipment of this size would have required at least 44 shiploads of 400 tons each. Herod also had 12,000 m3 of kurkar quarried to make rubble and 12,000 m3 of slaked lime mixed with the pozzolana.

    Architects had to devise a way to lay the wooden forms for the concrete moles underwater. One technique was to drive stakes into the ground to make a box and then fill the box with pozzolana concrete bit by bit. However, this method required many divers to hammer in the stakes underwater and it used large quantities of pozzolana. Another technique was a double planking method used in the northern breakwater. On land, carpenters would construct a box with beams and frames on the inside and a watertight, double-planked wall on the outside. This double wall was built with a 23 cm gap between the inner and outer layer. Although the box had no bottom, it was buoyant enough to float out to sea because of the watertight space between the inner and outer walls. Once it was floated into position, pozzolana was poured into the gap between the walls and the box would sink into place on the seafloor and be staked down in the corners. The flooded inside area was then filled by divers bit by bit with pozzolana-lime mortar and kurkar rubble until it rose above sea level.

    On the southern breakwater, barge construction was used. The southern side of Sebastos was much more exposed than the northern side, requiring sturdier breakwaters. Instead of using the double planked method filled with rubble, the architects sank barges filled with layers of pozzolana concrete and lime sand mortar. The barges were similar to boxes without lids, and were constructed using mortise and tenon joints, the same technique used in ancient boats, to ensure they remained watertight. The barges were ballasted with 0.5 meters of pozzolana concrete and floated out to their position. Alternating layers of pozzolana based and lime based concretes were hand placed inside the barge to sink it and fill it up to the surface.

    At its height, Sebastos was one of the most impressive harbors of its time. It had been constructed on a coast that had no natural harbors and served as an important commercial harbor in antiquity, rivaling Cleopatra’s harbor at Alexandria. Josephus wrote: “Although the location was generally unfavorable, [Herod] contended with the difficulties so well that the solidity of the construction could not be overcome by the sea, and its beauty seemed finished off without impediment.” However, there were underlying problems that led to its demise. Studies of the concrete cores of the moles have shown that the concrete was much weaker than similar pozzolana hydraulic concrete used in ancient Italian ports. For unknown reasons, the pozzolana mortar did not adhere as well to the kurkar rubble as it did to other rubble types used in Italian harbors. Small but numerous holes in some of the cores also indicate that the lime was of poor quality and stripped out of the mixture by strong waves before it could set. Also, large lumps of lime were found in all five of the cores studied at Caesarea, which shows that the mixture was not mixed thoroughly. However, stability would not have been seriously affected if the harbor had not been constructed over a geological fault line that runs along the coast. Seismic action gradually took its toll on the breakwaters, causing them to tilt down and settle into the seabed. Also, studies of seabed deposits at Caesarea have shown that a tsunami struck the area sometime between the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Although it is unknown if this tsunami simply damaged or completely destroyed the harbor, it is known that by the 6th century the harbor was unusable and today the moles rest over 5 meters underwater.

    Archaeology and reconstruction

    Minaret of Caesarea Maritima
    Archaeological excavations in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of Crusader fortifications and a Roman theatre. Other buildings include a temple dedicated to Caesar; a hippodrome rebuilt in the 2nd century as a more conventional theater; the Tiberieum, which has a limestone block with a dedicatory inscription. This is the only archaeological find with an inscription mentioning the name "Pontius Pilatus"; a double aqueduct that brought water from springs at the foot of Mount Carmel; a boundary wall; and a 200 ft (60 m) wide moat protecting the harbour to the south and west. The harbor was the largest on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Worked directed by Robert Bull of Drew University is still in the process of publication while more recent work in the harbor directed by Robert Hohlfelder *U of Colorado, John Oleson of the U of Victoria, and the late Avner Raban has been largely published. Caesarea has recently become the site of what bills itself as the world's first underwater museum, where 36 points of interest on four marked underwater trails through the ancient harbor can be explored by divers equipped with waterproof maps.


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