The Vision of Prophet Ezekiel
Monastery of Hosios David, 475-500 AD
Apostle Paul's mission to Macedonia made the province the first part of Europe to hear about Christianity. The earliest Christian communities were founded in Philippi, Thessalonike and Beroia, where local Churches were established.
The rapidly developing Churches adopted the administrative system of the Roman Empire. Among them the metropolitan see of Thessalonike, the city that was already the seat of the prefecture of Illyricum, enjoyed special prominence.
The important geographical location of Macedonia and the location of Thessalonike astride the Rome-Constantinople axis made the metropolis a subject of dispute between the Church of Rome and the Patriarchate of Constantinople (until 732 the metropolitan bishop of Thessalonike was an exarch, i.e. a dignitary of the Church of Rome).
The Church of Macedonia exercised a rare degree of autonomy and acquired a particular prestige (strengthened by Ecumenical Councils), while it remained unaffected by heresies current in early Christian times (Arianism, Montanism, etc.).