Traveling along the major trade routes of the Roman Empire and visiting large thriving communities of Asia Minor and Greece his mission was accomplished; Christianity became the biggest religion in the world. Our tours are not just tours; they are an inspiring journey to the actual places where the Apostle Paul lived and preached God's word.
Since our youth we have been hearing the gospel stories about Jesus walking and teaching in Jerusalem, Capernaum, and Galilee. He worked miracles around the Sea of Tiberius, Jericho and Cana. He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and was crucified at Golgotha. We will be seeing those places and much more. Our visit will give us an opportunity of walking in the footsteps of Jesus, our Blessed Mother and the first disciples.
Day 1 USA / GREECE: Our journey begins as we depart the USA for our overnight flight to Thessaloniki, Greece. Meals served in-flight.
Day 2 THESSALONIKI: We arrive in the afternoon and meet our Pilgrimage Tours™ tour director. We embark on a city tour with its Byzantine churches and beautiful old and new quarters. We celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Demetrius, the place of Martyrdom Synagogue where Paul preached. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.
Day 3 THESSALONIKI / KALAMBAKA / METEORA: Traveling to the west, we stop at the New Testament town of Beria on Meteora the terraced foot of Mt. Vernon to see the Monument where Paul preached. In Vergina we enter the recently excavated palace of King Phillippos, father of Alexander the Great. Next we visit the spectacular cliff top Monasteries of Meteora where monks have dwelt for centuries. Visitors are allowed to visit two of the five extant sanctuaries atop the rock islands. We celebrate Mass here. Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 4 KALAMBAKA / DELPHI: We continue on to Delphi on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus. Delphi‘s beautiful pastoral setting epitomizes the pre-Christian Greek shrine, where extraordinary natural beauty is combined with religion and theater. We visit the Temple of Apollo, where St. Paul must have spoken to the people about the Living God, and continue to the extensive ruins of the Theater and the Athenian Treasury. Dinner and overnight in Delphi.
Day 5 DELPHI / ATHENS: This morning we start our tour at the Delphi Museum to see the famous Bronze Charioteer along with other items that date back to the time of St. Paul prior to departure to Athens. We’ll take brief driving tour of classical Athens prior to checking into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 ATHENS / CORINTH: “Then Paul stood up in the Areopagus and delivered this address... (Acts 17:22)
We visit the Agora where St. Paul, “preached to them Jesus and the Resurrection” and the Areopagus on Mars Hill where Paul was brought before the council and made his famous, “Men of Athens” speech. Conditions permitting, we have Mass outdoors here. We also tour the Acropolis city of Athens, visiting the legendary Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Temple of the Winged Victory. We’ll visit the Ruins of the temples of Proplaia, Athena Nike and Zeus as well as other sites from the Golden Age of Greece. In the afternoon we depart Athens following the land route along the Saronic Gulf that St. Paul took to ancient Corinth in 50 AD, where he worked with Aquila and Prisca and wrote his first Epistle. We visit the market place where Paul preached to the Corinthians. We also visit the sixth century BC Temple of Apollo, the Museum of Corinth and the Bema Seat of St. Paul. Evening we depart to Athens Airport for our flight to Tel Aviv. Once we arrive Tel Aviv, we are transferred to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 7 GALILEE: CAESAREA, MT CARMEL, STELLA MARIS, CANA, NAZARETH, BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION: We travel via the coast to Caesarea, where the Romans held Paul prisoner. Visit the Roman and Crusader ruins. Drive through the Carmel Mountains heading for the Galilee. In Haifa, visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery with the Madonna of Mt Carmel. Continue to Mukhraka where Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal and where the Carmelite Order was started. Drive to Cana, the village of Jesus' first miracle of changing water into wine; here couples may renew their wedding vows. Continue to the Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth where we will celebrate Mass and visit Mary's well and the Church of the Angel Gabriel.
DAY 8 THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST IN THE GALILEE: TIBERIAS, BOAT RIDE ON SEA OF GALILEE, CAPERNAUM, MT. BEATITUDES, MT. TABOR: Some of today's highlights are a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to see the synagogue and St Peter's house, a visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was given, to Tabgha to see the splendid mosaic about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and to the nearby Church of Peter's Primacy where Peter was told " Feed my lambs, feed my sheep." There will be an unforgettable Mass near the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the Primacy or Mt Beatitudes. Continue to Mount Tabor, sight of the Transfiguration. We continue to Bethlehem for overnight.
DAY 9 JERUSALEM AND BETHLEHEM: MT OLIVES, CHURCH OF VISITATION, SHEPHERD’S FIELDS, CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY: On the first day in Jerusalem we present an overview for a better understanding of its geography and some of the key sites surrounding the area. This includes a dramatic view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives, revealing a city with 4000 years of history. From this vantage point see much of what makes Jerusalem such a unique city to the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We then head to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and to the Church of Visitation where the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the 'Magnificat'. In the afternoon we drive to the Shepherd's Fields where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Then we visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that stands upon the site where Jesus was born.
DAY 10 JERUSALEM, THE PASSION OF JESUS' LAST HOURS: MT OLIVES, PALM SUNDAY, DOMINUS FLEVIT, GETHSEMANE, CAVE OF BETRAYAL, CAVE OF ASSUMPTION, PATER NOSTER: We begin our day with a visit to the Mt. of Olives to walk the Palm Sunday route stopping at Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Then to Gethsemane, the Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed His last prayer before his arrest. Visit the cave of betrayal then the cave of Assumption of Mary to heaven. Back on the Mt of Olives we visit the Pater Noster with the Lord’s Prayer in many languages, and the Ascension from where ascended to Heaven.
DAY 11 THE WAY OF THE CROSS: VIA DELLA ROSA, ST ANNE’S CHURCH, ECCE HOMO, CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER, WAILING WALL, UPPER ROOM, DORMITION: Early in the morning we retrace the last steps of Jesus. As we walk along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), through the markets of the Old City praying the Stations of the Cross, we reflect on the greatness of His sacrifice. Finally we arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Mass. After break-fast at our hotel we return to the Old City of Jerusalem to visit St. Anne’s Church, the home of the Virgin Mary and her parents Saints Joachim and Anne. We pass the Ecce Homo where Pilate proclaimed “Behold the man”; then the Wailing Wall, the most holy place for Jews. Nearby is the Dome of the Rock and the Haram al Sharif or Temple Mount. We exit at Mt Zion. At the Cenacle we visit the Upper Room of the Last Supper. Next we visit the Dormition Abbey where we believe the Blessed Mary died. We end the day at St. Peter in Gallicantu where Peter denied Him thrice.
DAY 12 THE WILDERNESS: BETHANY, JERICHO, MT TEMPTATION, DEAD SEA, and JORDAN RIVER: We begin our day with a visit to Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The desert east of Jerusalem is rich in Christian tradition. Further east, just off the Roman road that Jesus 'walked', is Wadi Qelt gorge, site of the Monastery of St George. At the oasis town of Jericho, visit the excavations of the oldest city in the world and view Mt. Temptation where Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. On the way back there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, renowned for its healing properties. In the afternoon, there will be time for you to revisit some of your favorite sites and time for last minute buying of gifts for your loved ones. We stop to remember our Baptism at the Jordan River.
DAY 13 RETURN TO THE US: Today we bid farewell to the Holy Land and will remember our pilgrimage for a lifetime.