And he went through Syria and Cilicia
Antioch was the metropolis of the former, and Tarsus, the apostle's native place, was in the latter; and in both these countries he had been before, and had been the instrument of converting many souls, and of planting churches, which he now visited, as he proposed to Barnabas to do: for it follows,
confirming the churches;
in the Gospel, and the truths and ordinances of it, he had before instructed them in: of the church at Antioch, (See Gill on Acts 11:26). And that there were also churches in Cilicia, is very manifest; and particularly there was one at Tarsus, the chief city in it. Herodian, of whom we read in ( Romans 16:11 ) and Jason, in ( Acts 17:5 ) who are reckoned among the seventy disciples, are said to be bishops or pastors of this church; (See Gill on Luke 10:1). In the "second" century there was a church in that city, to which Ignatius wrote an epistle, still extant F15, in which he makes mention of Philo their deacon: in the "third" century Helenus presided over this church, and was present at a synod at Antioch, when Paulus Samosatenus was condemned for heresy F16: in the "fourth" century mention is made of several churches in Cilicia, and the bishops of them; there was a church at Apsis in Cilicia, Amphion was bishop of Epiphania, Theodorus of Mopsuestia, Cyriacus of Adanan, and Sylvanus of Tarsus, the metropolis; in which last place, in the beginning of this century, several martyrs suffered under Dioclesian, particularly Tharatus, Probus, and Andronicus: here the orthodox, in the times of Valens, would have convened a synod against the Arians, but were hindered by him; and in this century Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus, had the care of all the churches in Cilicia committed to him; in this age also we read of Antoninus, a presbyter of this church, afterwards made bishop of it: in the "fifth" century mention is made of the bishops of several churches in Cilicia, as of Mopsuesta, Irenopolis, Epiphania, Tarsus, Anazarbus, Sebaste, and others who were present at several councils held at different places in this century; in the "sixth" century, out of the cities of Cilicia, Jotapa, Pisidia, Pompeiopolis, Tarsus, Coricus, Anemurius, bishops are said to come to the synod at Rome and Constantinople: in the seventh century, Tarsus was the metropolitan church of Cilicia; and mention is made of the bishops of that and of other cities in this country, who assisted at the sixth council at Constantinople: in the "eighth" century, notice is taken of a Church at Sida in Cilicia F17; so long the Christian name was in those parts. Beza's ancient copy adds, "delivering the commandments of the elders"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "bidding" them to keep the commandments of the apostles and elders; see ( Acts 16:4 ) , namely; the decrees of the assembly at Jerusalem; which seems very agreeable, since the letters were directed and sent to the brethren of the Gentiles in Syria and Cilicia, as well as in Antioch; see ( Acts 15:23 ) .
F15 Ignat. Epist. p. 73, 81.
F16 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 7. c. 28.
F17 Madgeburg. Hist. Eccl. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 2, 3. c. 3. p. 18. 22. 74. c. 7. p. 289. c. 9. p. 405, 481, c. 10. p. 570. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 585, 586. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 7. p. 112. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4.