Philippi was a city in eastern Macedonia established by the king of Macedon, Philip II, in 356 B.C. The objective of founding the town was to take control of the neighboring gold mines and to establish a garrison at a strategic passage. The modern day municipality of Filippoi is located near the ruins of the ancient city.
References to Philippi appear in writings concerning the Roman civil war that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar. After Caesar's murder his heirs, Mark Antony and Octavian, confront his assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. Antony and Octavian are victorious in battle. The city becomes a Roman colony and capital of the province of Macedonia.
While in Troas during his second missionary journey Paul sees a vision of a man in Macedonia (Greece) asking for help (Acts 16:8-9). He, Silas and others immediately set sail for Neapolis. From there they travel to Philippi, where a woman named Lydia hears Paul's preaching and is soon baptized along with her entire household (Acts 16:12-15).
While in Philippi Paul casts a demon out of a female slave. Her masters, however, did not want the demon cast out of the girl and have the two evangelists arrested, beaten and put in prison. They are freed, however, when a miraculous earthquake causes the cells and bonds to open! Apostle Paul also traveled through Philippi during his third missionary journey.
The church in Philippi was the first EUROPEAN church founded by Paul. This was no doubt one of the reasons the Philippians had a unique, strong bond with him. Although composed primarily of those who were poor, the Philippian church sent supplies to Paul several times (Philippians 4:15-16, 2Corinthians 11:9). Paul's letter to the church, which is found in the New Testament, was written between 61 and 63 A.D.