A city and seaport of the second part of Macedonia, at the head of the Thermaic gulf. When Emilius Paulus, after his conquest of Macedonia, divided the country into four districts, this city as made the capital of the second division, and was the station of a Roman governor and questor. It was anciently called Therma. It was inhabited by Greeks, Romans, and Jews, from among whom the apostle Paul gathered a numerous church. There was a large number of Jews resident in their city, where they had a synagogue, in which Paul, A. D. 52, preached to them on three successive Sabbaths. Some of the Jews determined to maltreat the apostle, and surrounded the house in which they believed he was lodging. The brethren, however, secretly led Paul and Silas out of the city, towards Berea, and they escaped from their enemies, Acts 17:1-34. Thessalonica, now called Saloniki, is at present a wretched town, but has a population of about 70,000 persons, one-third of whom are Jews.
When Paul left Macedonia for Athens and Corinth, he left behind him Timothy and Silas, at Thessalonica, that they might confirm those in the faith who had been converted under his ministry. He afterwards wrote to the church of the Thessalonians two epistles. See PAUL.