Cyrene has more mentions in the Bible than most people would expect (see also Acts 2:10, Acts 6:9, Acts 11:20, Acts 13:1). Now known as Tripoli in Libya, this early Greek colony had encouraged Jewish settlement, but by Jesus' time the Jews were oppressed and restless. Although they saw Israel as 'home' they felt like aliens everywhere - a good grounding for missionary work! Simon was one of those Jews who had travelled to Jerusalem for the feast, as many others did at Pentecost (Acts 2:10). His experience was to change his family too.