Thessalonians, EPISTLES TO THE. The church of Thessalonica, an important commercial city of Macedonia, was founded by St. Paul in 52 or 53 A.D. during his second missionary journey. It was composed mainly of converted pagans and "devout Greeks," the number of Jews being extremely small. Compelled by Jewish hostility to leave the city, he proceeded through Beroea to Athens, and thence to Corinth, where he remained a year and a half. According to the subscription in the Codex Alexandrinus and other manuscripts, the letters were written from Athens, but internal evidence shows that their composition took place later, during the apostle's sojourn in Corinth. The First Epistle, the authenticity of which is firmly established, offers general advice and encouragement to the church, alluding, among other matters, to their disappointment at not witnessing the advent of the Lord (iv. 10). The main theme of the Second Epistle is the excitement caused by the expectation that Christ would shortly come, owing to a spurious letter purporting to be written by St. Paul. The apostle brings forward arguments to show that the second advent must be deferred, and in so doing uses language which appears to some critics to be inconsistent with that of the first. For this reason, among others, the genuineness of the Second Epistle has been disputed.