The Church in Crete, Cyrene

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The New Testament mentions only four locations by name on the Mediterranean island of Crete. The places mentioned are the harbor of Fair Havens (Acts 27:8) and the towns of Salmone (verse 7), Lasea (verse 8) and Phoenix (verse 12).

´╗┐Those who resided on the island of Crete, while visiting Jerusalem to keep the Day of Pentecost, were some of the first people who heard Jesus' disciples preach the gospel (Acts 2:1 - 11).

Lasea was a city on the island of Crete near a harbor called Fair Havens (Acts 27:8). Ships harbored at Fair Havens were protected only from Mediterranean winds coming from the north or northwest. Ships at the port city of Phoenix (Phenice in the KJV), however, were secured against all winds and was a place a vessel could dock during winter in order to avoid the tumultuous weather on the Mediterranean Sea (Acts 27:8 - 12). Salmone, a port city on the far eastern side of Crete, was known for its temple to the pagan goddess Athena.

During Paul's fourth missionary journey, while a prisoner bound for Rome, the ship he was on harbored for a time at Mediterranean port of Fair Havens (Acts 27:8 - 9). He next visited Crete right after his first imprisonment in Rome ended in early 63 A.D.

Crete, Cyrene New Testament Churches Map

After leaving Crete he wrote an epistle to Titus (Titus 1:4), the first overseer of the Cretan church (3:15), offering instructions on how to properly shepherd island believers and commanded him to appoint local church leadership in every city (verse 5).


Cyrene is located in Africa on the northeastern Mediterranean shore of modern-day Libya. Founded around 630 B.C. as a Greek settlement, it became, in the first century, the capital city of the Roman province of Cyrenaica.

It was a man from Cyrene named Simon who was forced by the Romans to help carry Jesus' cross to Golgotha after he was too weak to do so himself (Matthew 27:32). Cyrenians were in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost when the Christian church was born (Acts 2:10) and were among the many baptized that day. Those from Cyrene were also some of the earliest Christians who preached the gospel to non-Jews (Acts 11:20, 13:1).

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