Chios bay. Photographer: Alex Abazis. License: Unsplash
Chios bay.
Photo by Alex Abazis. License: Unsplash.

What is…

also known as: Scio

Greek; Χίος —transliteration: Chios —meaning: (unknown)

This island is mentioned in Acts of the Apostles. It is located in the northern Aegean Sea, about 5 miles from mainland Turkey. It is the 10th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, about 325 square miles (842.289 km2) and it belongs to modern Greece.

The Apostle Paul reports…

And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus. —Acts 20:15 KJV

Chios island, Greece—satellite view

Chios had a shelter for ships where the Paul and his companions anchored for a night during his 3rd missionary journey. Today, the main harbor is at Chios Town, and the island contains various historic museums — Archaeological Museum of Chios, Chios Byzantine Museum, The Chios Mastic Museum, and the Chios Maritime Museum.

The terrain is mountainous, with the highest point being 4,255 feet above sea level (1,297 meters). A kind of white dirt is found on the island and since ancient times has been famous as an astringent and cosmetic (called Chian earth / Latin: Chia terra / Greek: πηλομαιοτικο, pēlomaiotiko). It was reputed to be the greatest of all cosmetics… giving a whiteness and smoothness to the skin and preventing “wrinkles beyond any of the other substances… for the same purposes.” 1

In 1822, tens of thousands of Greeks on this island were tragically massacred, expelled, and enslaved by Ottoman troops (religion: Sunni Islam) during the Greek War of Independence.

Chios port, at Chios Town—satellite view
  1. “Chian Earth,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, volume II (1st edition) [Edinburgh: Colin Macfarquhar, 1771].

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