A Baptist church still thrives in Athens
1842 – Two Greek converts, John and Kyriakes, who had been baptized the previous day by Apostolos, a Greek national convert, were attacked by some rabble who screamed, “Away with the antichrists!” On the following day the mob, that had been stirred up Greek Orthodox priests, gathered near the home of Apostolos and threatened him with violence. He was accused of turning the people into Americans and breaking down their religion. Apostolos, a previously converted national, the first Baptist convert of the modern era, had been baptized in August of 1840 by Horace T. Love. He and his wife had sailed for Greece on Oct. 24, 1836 with Rev. and Mrs. Cephas Pasco. Their ship arrived at Patras on Dec. 9. Even though they applied to the government for permission to distribute scriptures they were rebuffed and received much opposition from the officials of the Greek Orthodox Church, even issuing a decree prohibiting the reading of the new Scriptures and commanded that copies should be burned wherever found. The decree actually aided the Baptist cause. By 1838 they had acquired the language and locations for their ministries. In 1839, Harriett Dickson, a widowed teacher who already knew the language came to teach in the school that they had opened in 1837. Rev. and Mrs. R.F. Buel then came and joined in to help in the work at Patras, for a time, before moving on to Malta. However, both Love and Pasco’s health failed and they went back to America. Other missionaries came, but Buel recommended that the mission be terminated and in 1855 it was halted. But today, thank God, a great Baptist church thrives in Athens. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 665-67. Henry C. Vedder, A Short History of Baptist Missions (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1927), p. 435.
Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon