The account at Acts 18:18 relates that in Cenchreae Paul had his hair clipped because he had made a vow, and afterward he apparently sailed from Cenchreae to Ephesus accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila (in the spring of 52 C.E.). Writing to Rome about four years later, the apostle referred to “the congregation that is in Cenchreae.” Paul’s letter to the Romans may have been carried to its destination by Phoebe of the city of Cenchreae.—Rom. 16:1, 2.
Cenchreae lay on the Saronic Gulf side of a narrow isthmus about seven miles (11.3 kilometers) E of Corinth, and was linked to that city by a chain of military fortifications. Cenchreae was Corinth’s port for points E of Greece, while Lechaeum, on the opposite side of the isthmus, served as Corinth’s port for Italy and the W. According to Greek geographer Strabo, the mastery of these two ports made Corinth the most splendid commercial city of ancient Greece.
Pausanias, a Greek geographer and traveler of the second century C.E., described Cenchreae as having religious temples on each side of its harbor and a bronze image of the Greek god Poseidon on a jetty running out to sea; coin inscriptions verify this description. Ruins in the area today include buildings and moles near the present village of Kechriais.