the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
Cenchreae (not ‘Cenchrea,’ as in Authorized Version ; Κεγχρεαί [Tischendorf], Κενχρεαί [Westcott-Hort’s Greek Testament ]; now the village of Kichries) was the eastern port of Corinth, 7 miles from the city, on the Saronic Gulf, opposite to Lechaeum on the Corinthian Gulf. ‘Cenchreae,’ says Strabo, ‘serves for the trade with Asia, and Lechaeum for that with Italy’ (viii. vi. 22). From the town of Schœnus-4 miles north of Cenchreae-where the isthmus is less than 5 miles wide, a tramway (δίολκος) was laid to the other side, upon which vessels of smaller tonnage were conveyed bodily from sea to sea, avoiding a circuitous passage by the stormy headland of Malea. In a.d. 67, Nero, impressed by an idea which had previously commended itself to greater minds-notably to that of Julius Caesar-made an abortive attempt to cut a canal across the Isthmus, a piece of engineering which was not accomplished till the end of the 19th century (1881-1893). Between Cenchreae and Schœnus was a famous sanctuary, in which stood ‘the temple of Isthmian Neptune, shaded above with a grove of pine-trees, where the Corinthians celebrated the Isthmian games’ (Strabo, loc. cit.). From the pines were cut those garlands for the brows of the victors in the stadium, which St. Paul contrasts with immortal crowns (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). At Cenchreae, St. Paul, on the eve of his sailing for Syria to attend the Passover, had his head shorn on account of a vow (Acts 18:18). During his prolonged residence in Corinth, Cenchreae had become the seat of a church, of which Phœbe was a διάκονος-if not a deaconess in the full technical meaning of later times, at any rate in a more definite sense than is implied by ‘servant’ (Romans 16:1). She was a προστάσις-succourer, patroness, guardian-of many wayfaring Christians who passed through that bustling seaport (16:2). It has generally been assumed that this Cenchrean lady, whom St. Paul so warmly commends, was the bearer of the Roman Epistle to its destination (Renan, St. Paul, 1869, p. 219), but there is strong reason to believe that Romans 16 is a letter meant for Ephesus (see Romans).
Literature.-Conybeare-Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1856, ii. 224; T. Lewin, Life and Epistles of St. Paul3, 1875, i. 299ff.; J. G. Frazer, Pausanias, 1898, iii. 6ff.; E. B. Redlich, St. Paul and his Companions, 1913, index, s.v.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Cenchreae'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdn/​c/cenchreae.html. 1906-1918.