Greece & Turkey in the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle Pilgrimage
Moderate – High
Let’s journey through the Bible together as we walk in the footsteps of St. Paul, in the land that St. John preached, and to “the House of Mary” in Ephesus. Saint Paul was a central figure in the growth of the early Church, founding some communities and writing letters to others. He has been called the first Christian theologian for his ability to organize the beliefs of early Christianity.
We will also have the opportunity to enjoy a three-night cruise on the beautiful Aegean Sea. Visit ports of call like Mykonos, the St. Tropez of the Aegean Sea; Kusadasi, which is the gateway to the magnificent city of Ephesus; Patmos, where St. John was inspired to write the Book of Revelation; Heraklion, Crete, the southernmost Greek isle and Santorini, with its spectacular volcanic cliffs.
Let’s experience our rich Catholic faith beyond our parish boundaries and grow closer to God through daily Mass and prayer. I encourage you to sign up early for this pilgrimage.
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All new travel bookings automatically come with our Book with Confidence Travel Plan*—free of charge. This plan gives pilgrims the ability to move their booking to another destination or simply a different available departure date in our vast travel portfolio, no questions asked. They just need to let us know 120 days* before departure and we’ll waive all penalties and get them booked on a new pilgrimage.
*The Book with Confidence Travel Plan allows for any new booking made with Holy Land Travel Center to be changed to a different destination or to another available departure date. Notice of change in travel plans must be given 120 days before departure; standard cancellation penalties will apply for full cancellation without rebooking or changes made within 120 days to departure. Applicable price and eligible promotions for the new tour will apply; if new trip is less expensive, a future travel credit will be issued for the difference in price. Cannot be applied to Passion Play Pilgrimages. No cash value. Credit is fully transferable. Offer reliant on space availability. Effective 10.7.2020. May be withdrawn at any time. Additional restrictions may apply; see Travel Terms & Conditions for details.
Welcome to Istanbul! Upon arrival, we are welcomed by our Holy Land Travel Center representative. After visa formalities, we head to our hotel for a welcome reception. Overnight: Istanbul (Dinner)
This morning we head to the Sultanahmet district. This World Heritage-listed district is crammed with historic buildings and enough magical atmospheres to keep you enthralled for days. Full day visits to the Topkapi Palace; overlooking the Sea of Marmara and containing numerous chambers, courtyards and royal treasures; the Sultan Ahmed (Blue) Mosque, with its six minarets and thousands of blue tiles; and the Basilica of St. Sofia (Church of the Sacred Wisdom), now a museum, converted to a mosque from a Christian basilica after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Next, we see the Hippodrome and the Obelisk brought from Egypt. Overnight: Istanbul (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we will have time to visit the Grand Bazaar for shopping. The Grand Bazaar is an amazing place – literally a maze of streets. It is one of the largest undercover bazaars in the world and is even divided into areas like the leather section, or the rug section. We have an evening at leisure. Overnight: Istanbul (Breakfast, Dinner)
Continue to Kavala: Today we depart Istanbul for Kavala, Greece. Meet our new Greek guide and driver and continue on through our tour of Greece. Overnight: Kavala (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today we visit Kavala, which occupies the site of ancient Neapolis and Philippi (Acts 16:12-40, Phil.), that today lies as a major archaeological site near Krinides where St. Paul and St. Silas were imprisoned after St. Paul’s first sermon in what we today call Europe. After visiting the ruins of the great Acropolis, the Market Place, Theatre and Forum, we continue to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Thessaloniki (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we visit the Rotunda and St. George Church, one of the oldest constructions in the city. This church was built at the end of the 4th century by the roman emperor. We will read today from the Acts 17:1-9 and “Letter to the Thessalonians”. This time period will become more alive to us as our visit will include the Galerius Arch, built a little before 305 AD in commemoration of Galerius’s victory over the Persians in 297. Next is the most beautiful basilica in the city St. Demetrius where Saint Paul was imprisoned, tortured and buried. We then visit Veria, one of Paul’s stops, where a Byzantine mosaic commemorates his preaching. We check into our hotel for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Veria (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we leave Veria and continue to Kalambaka, a town near the the Meteora Monastery. Later this afternoon we will visit the Grand Meteoran Monastery (Transfiguration of Christ), the most beautiful Byzantine monastery. The word Meteora means literally ‘hovering in the air’ as all the monasteries were built on top of the high rocks. Monks have been recorded living in these caves since the 11th century. The Church of the Transfiguration is the best known of the Monasteries and is built upon the highest rock, founded by Athanasios the Meteorite, a well-known figure in Orthodox monasticism. We continue to Athens for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Athens (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today we’ll leave Athens early in the morning for Piraeus and at 11:00 a.m. sail into the Aegean Sea. Our first island is one of the islands belonging to the Cyclades group of islands. This mountainous island of Mykonos has about 400 churches and is famous for its picturesque white houses and the island’s trademark, the charming windmills. Mykonos has a unique architecture of Byzantine and Western characteristics. Next, we will visit Our Church of the Virgin Paraportiani, the oldest and main church of Mykonos. We then have the chance to explore the main square with its many boutiques and taverns along tiny paved streets. Return on board of the ship. Overnight: Cruise Ship (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning you will arrive at the Turkish port city of Kusadasi. From here you will travel to Ephesus, where the Blessed Virgin Mary lived with St. John in a small house on the hill behind the city. Here you will have Mass before traveling down to the ancient city where you can walk the marble roads rutted by wheels of countless chariots and pass the ruins of architectural masterpieces. It is here that St. Paul preached to the Ephesians, and where he was arrested and cast out of the city. In the afternoon you will visit the island of Patmos, where St. John wrote the apocalyptic Book of Revelations. On our excursion we will visit the cave where he lived, now the site of a monastery housing priceless icons and manuscripts. Overnight: Cruise Ship (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today on the last day of the cruise, enjoy time on your own visiting Heraklion on the island of Crete and visit Fira town on the island of Santorini – optional excursion on Crete to Knossos Palace is offered for those interested on more activities on the last cruise day. Overnight: Cruise Ship (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today we disembark our cruise ship and we will be visiting and exploring the city of Athens (Acts 17: 16-34). Visit the rock that has dominated the panorama of Athens for twenty-five centuries, the Acropolis. At the Acropolis, you will see the ruins of the Parthenon, Erectheum, and Propylae. After, you will ascend Mars Hill of where Saint Paul spoke to the Athenians. At this site, Paul spoke to the Athenians about the one and only God (Acts 17:22). While in this city, you will be able to view the ancient Agora, the former public center of Athenian life. It held the focus of a political, commercial, social, religious, and cultural center. As you are in the former political center, proceed for a drive through the city to view the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square. Also, you will have the opportunity to view the University of Athens, the oldest higher education institute in Greece, as well as, the National Library of Greece that holds 4,500 Greek manuscripts. Then, visit Panathenaic Stadium, the beautifully marbled multi-purpose stadium. It is home to the Olympian Zeus, and is the site of the first modern era Olympics (1896). Following your visit in Athens, you will proceed to the ancient Corinth. Under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, Saint Paul lived in Corinth for two years. While here, Saint Paul felt great grief over the way that the Gentile Church in Corinth has become. As a result, he was prompted to write four letters, all with the overarching theme of love. In Corinth, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of the first century shops, the site of Saint Paul’s trial by Gallio, the Fountain of Peirene, and the Temple of Apollo. Following your visit to Corinth, return to Athens for a dinner and overnight. Overnight: Athens (Breakfast, Dinner)
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
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