When they reached Thessalonica it was fall of 49. Apostles Paul and Silas found the city completely different from what they had seen so far. It was a free from Roman occupation city since 168 B.C. There was also a synagogue close to the port, as the Acts inform us. Apostles Paul went there for three Saturdays. As we are informed, he discussed with the attendants and interprets them abstracts from Holy Bible which mention that Jesus should have been crucified and resurrect from the dead. Some people believed and became Paul’s and Silas’ students. Many of the neophyte Greeks believed, as well as several women who stood out in the city’s society. We do not know exactly how many were the first Christians but we know for sure that a church was established in Thessalonica.
Soon, because of Paul’s activity, problems begin to rise in Thessalonica and riots are provoked exactly as it had happened in Philippi. During the night Paul and Silas left the city.
These are the only facts known about his stay in Thessalonica. According to the existing tradition, as he left in a hurry, chased by his fellow countrymen, he came out of a high spot on the walls (probably from a small door) where later Vlatades monastery was established.
East of the position where now Vlatades monastery stands used to be a spring. It is said that he stopped there to drink some water. Every year at this spring, which is known as “Apostle Paul’s Holy Water”, people used to honor the Apostle. After the liberation of Thessalonica, a church in his honor was constructed in this place and the Holy Water became well known. Nowadays, a modern imposing church is the proof that Apostle Paul visited Thessalonica, preached there and brought Greeks close to Christianity.
At the district of St Paul, northeastern of Thessaloniki, dominates the majestic church dedicated to the Apostle of the Nations, since the area is related to his passing from Thessaloniki.
Since 1922 the church has been the focus of a brilliant celebration on the day of celebration of Peter and Paul, on the 29th of June. Nowadays, each summer they carry out the Agiopaulitika, a three-day celebration that combines the religious events with folk tradition and modern culture.