St. Paul in Greece


Day 1 THESSALONIKI: Arrival in the capital of Northern Greece, the second most important city after Athens. Greeted at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Evening free. Optional visit to Thessaloniki's beach promenade.

Day 2 PHILIPPI - KAVALA - AMPHIPOLIS - THESSALONIKI: The day begins with a visit to Kavala (in Paul’s time called Neapolis), Greece's loveliest mainland port with a most elegant harbor. Paul landed here with his disciples, Timothy and Silas while Luke, the Evangelist, came here also from Troas. This ancient city was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. We will see the Roman Aqueduct and the ruins of the Acropolis in this beautifully located city, known since the 15th century as Kavala. Continue to Philippi where we will hear the story of the baptism of Lydia near the stream where this happened-the first Christians convert on European soil. A crypt dating from the Roman period is thought to have served as a prison for St. Paul. We will see the ancient theater, where we will hear the story of Paul’s arrest, imprisonment and miraculous release. We will see the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica, and the Theatre. We travel to Amphipolis where we will see the ruins of many Christian basilicas. We return to Thessaloniki for overnight.

Day 3 THESSALONIKI  The New Testament books of I and II Thessalonians are Paul's correspondence with the people of this church. We will visit the old city ramparts, the Archaeological Museum, St. George’s Church, an ancient Roman monument, which was transformed into a church, and the Galerius Arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia. We will also see two of the most beautiful basilicas in the city, St. Demetrius, dedicated to a distinguished member of the Roman army and a martyred Christian convert and St. Sophia—hearing stories of Paul’s experiences there as well as excerpts of his “talking letters”—as they would have been experienced in his time.

Day 4 THESSALONIKI - BEREA - KALAMBAKA - METEORA  We depart this morning by way of Berea, where Paul established a small church. We hear the story told at the Bema from which Paul is said to have taught in the synagogue there. Then we depart for Meteora in western Thessaly, where world famous Byzantine monasteries perch precariously on summits of grey rock pinnacles of varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in cliff side caves, then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters later transformed into monasteries. We will visit two of these picturesque monasteries.

Day 5 KALAMBAKA - DELPHI - ATHENS  Delphi is an ancient city of fame and wealth considered by early Greeks to be the center of the world. The exact age of Delphi is not known, but it is mentioned by Homer. Our visit will take we along the sacred way to the Athenian Treasury, the Theatre, and the Temple of Apollo, of which six columns have been restored similar in design to the Parthenon. We will also visit the famous Archaeological Museum where, among other treasures, we will see the unique 5th century B.C. bronze charioteer. A stop for some shopping for Greek woven goods, and then we continue to Athens for overnight.

Day 6 ATHENS - ACROPOLIS - AGORA ..The high point (literally) of our experience is the visit to the world-renowned Acropolis with the Propylaea entrance, and the ruins of the Parthenon and Erectheum—a site that was ancient already when Paul arrived there in the first century of the Common Era. Hear the story of Paul preaching at the Areopagus (Mars Hill), the Agora (ancient market place and center of Athenian public life), the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Palace. An optional excursion to Sounion and the temple of Poseidon may be possible. The evening is free to explore the city on our own or enjoy an outdoor taverna.

In Corinth, the city that inspired many of St. Paul’s most familiar letters, we will hear some of those letters and visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema, and the Temples. We will celebrate a communion service with our fellow pilgrims. After a touching farewell to the people of Corinth, Paul traveled across the plain to the harbor of Cenchraeae where he embarked for Ephesus. View the harbor before returning to Athens.

Days 8 and 9: Free day in Athens on day 8 and departure for return on day 9 with great memories.

Day 8 MYKONOS Board the ship at the Port of Piraeus (the port of Athens) and sail at 11:00 A.M, arriving at the picture postcard island of Mykonos, where we may stroll at leisure through the white-washed flower-decked alleyways to the sculpture-like church of Paraportiani, or along the waterfront to the famous windmills. Dinner is served back on board the ship, and we then set sail all night.
Day 9 RHODES In the morning we disembark at the city of Rhodes. This old fortified city was built by the Knights of St. John, and has changed little since medieval days. We may elect to stroll through the streets, or take an excursion to the Acropolis of Lindos, where Paul is said to have spent time. Free time in the city of Rhodes is concluded as we board ship for dinner and an overnight sail to Patmos.

Day 10 PATMOS - EPHESUS The beautiful island of Patmos is where St. John composed his Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. We will hear excerpts from that “talking letter” as we take excursions to the Grotto of the Revelation and the 11th-century Monastery of St. John. We board ship again to sail to Turkey, arriving at the port of Kusadasi. Here we begin our excursion to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus where Paul spent two years during his ministry. It was to this community that Paul may have written his Epistle to the Ephesians. Early Christian tradition also suggests that Mary, mother of Jesus, may have died here. We will visit the ruins of St. John's Basilica where, tradition tells us, the "disciple whom Jesus loved" was buried. We will also visit the Temples of Diana (Artemis), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world

Day 11 PIRAEUS - ATHENS We disembark at the Port of Piraeus with a free day to explore Athens