Monday, October 4
Your pilgrimage begins as you depart the USA on your international overnight flight.
Tuesday, Octobet 5
Arrive in TURKEY
Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to hotel. Evening at leisure.
Overnight - Istanbul
Wednesday, October 6
AMPHIPOLIS, PHILIPPI, and NEAPOLI (KAVALA)
Early morning departure from Istanbul. You will arrive in Thessaloniki, Greece, where you will be met by our representative. Follow in the footsteps of Paul and Silas to Amphipolis and explore the ruins of the many Christian basilicas there. In Philippi is a baptismal site commemorating where God opened the heart of Lydia (a seller of purple from Thyatira) to hear the words of Paul (Acts 16:13-15). Lydia and her household were the first Christian converts baptized on European soil. View the Roman-era crypt thought to have served as a prison for the apostle Paul, and explore Philippi’s famous Acropolis, Market Place, the Basilica of Paul, and Theater. Today’s last stop is Neapolis (Kavala), one of Greece’s most picturesque mainland ports where Paul landed with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. See the Roman Aqueduct and Acropolis.
Dinner and Overnight - Thessaloniki
Thursday, October 7
THESSALONIKI and VERIA (BEREA)
Discover Thessaloniki, where Paul was accused of turning the world upside down with his preaching of Christ (Acts 17: 3-6). As you explore St. George’s Basilica, believed to be built over the synagogue where Paul preached, reflect on the two epistles the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church here. Stroll through the Archaeological Museum and the beautiful basilicas of St. Sophia and St. Demetrios, dedicated to a distinguished Roman proconsul martyred for his Christian faith. Along the Via Egnatia stands the Galerus Arch, and you can look out over the second largest city in Greece from the Old City Ramparts, some dating back to Roman times. Follow the path of Paul when he fled Thessaloniki for the safety of Veria (Berea), where Jews and some honorable Greeks accepted the new faith (Act 17: 10-12).
Dinner and Overnight - Kalambaka
Friday, October 8
METEORA and DELPHI
As you visit the rock forest of Meteora (“in the heavens above”) in western Thessaly, imagine the apostle Paul walking that treacherous terrain on his missionary journey. Gaze up at the breathtaking Byzantine monasteries spectacularly perched on soaring, sheersided grey sandstone pillars. In the 13th century, monks sought refuge in cliff-side caves before fleeing higher to build the original wooden shelters that later became these monasteries. After a monastery tour, travel to scenic Delphi, religious center of the ancient Greek world and marked by the conical stone called the omphalos (“navel”). Walk the Sacra Via to the Athenian Treasury, Theatre and the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle performed her prophetic rituals. As you consider the incredible amount of pagan influence just in Delphi alone, you will gain a new appreciation for the tremendous spiritual opposition the apostle Paul faced in preaching the Gospel of Christ here. In the Museum are many ancient treasures, including the 5th century bronzed Charioteer, so detailed you can see his eyelashes.
Dinner & Overnight - Athens
Saturday, October 9
CORINTH and CENCHREAE
Tour the city of Corinth, where the apostle Paul met fellow tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla and received a vision from the Lord saying, “I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18: 10). As Paul spoke, Crispus (chief ruler of the synagogue) and many others believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8), establishing the church at Corinth to whom Paul later wrote his two epistles. Discover the Archaeological Museum, Market Place and Temples. As you walk among the ruins, stand on the Bema, where the apostle Paul stood before Gallio to face charges brought against him by the Jews. Stop briefly at the port town of Cenchreae from which Paul later departed for Syria (Acts 18: 12-18).
Dinner and Overnight - Athens
Sunday, October 10
Enjoy the rich architectural splendor of the ancient city of Athens as your guide introduces you to the world renowned Acropolis, the Propylaea, the Parthenon and the Erectheum. Stand on Mars Hill as the apostle Paul did when he proclaimed, “I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23). As you stroll the Agora (ancient market place and center of Athenian public life), recall that this was where the Apostle Paul preached “Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18) to the skeptical Athenians. Also see the House of Parliament, the Presidential Palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This afternoon journey to Sounion to visit the famous Temple of Poseidon.
Dinner and Overnight - Athens
Monday, October 11
RETURN TO USA
Return home with a new understanding of the apostle Paul’s life and ministry.
OPTIONAL ALL INCLUSIVE GREEK ISLE CRUISE - EMBARK IN PIRAEUS & MYKONOS
Board the ship and sail the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. In the evening, you will arrive at the world-famous Greek Island of Mykonos, where gleaming white-washed buildings seem to climb atop each other to reach the azure sky.
Tuesday, October 12
EPHESUS & PATMOS
This morning, you arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey, and journey to Ephesus, where the apostle Paul spent three years of his ministry. He planted a church here and later wrote to them in his Epistle to the Ephesians. Many of the ruins of Ephesus (known as “the marble city”) have been restored to show the city as it was in the apostle Paul’s time. Visit the Agora and imagine where Demetrius the silver-smith, sold his silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. Stroll through the great theater where Paul witnessed faithfully for Christ. Not far away is the stadium where chariot races took place and gladiatorial combats were held. Tradition has it that the Apostle Paul himself fought here against wild beasts. Visit the ruins of St. John’s Basilica, where early Christian tradition tells us the “disciple whom Jesus loved” was buried. View one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”, the ruins of the Temple of Diana (Artemis) before setting sail for the Island of Patmos to visit the Monastery of St. John, high on the mountain overlooking the entire island. Walk down to the Grotto of the Apocalypse and the caves where it is believed that the exiled Apostle John lived and was inspired by God to write the Book of Revelation as well as other letters to the early Church.
Wednesday, October 13
This morning we arrive at the island of Rhodes. Separated by a mere 10-mile strait from the Asia Minor coast, Rhodes is blessed by nature with exceptional gifts. Homer called it “the Bride of the Sun,” later poets “the Island of Roses.” In the Middle Ages, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem established themselves at Rhodes and built a fortified city, now the best-preserved of its kind in the Mediterranean area. We drive along the medieval walls to the summit of Mount Smith, the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes. From the tumbled massive pillars of the Temple of Athena, the view encompasses the nearby Temple of Apollo, the stadium of Diagoras and the port, once protected by the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The drive continues across the island to Philerimos. The summit of Philerimos was the site of Ialysos, one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes. Later sites include the restored Byzantine Church of Our Lady of Philerimos, a chapel with 15th century frescoes, and the ruined Castle of the Knights. After the visit and some free time, return to Rhodes and begin a guided walk of the old walled city to the Porte d’Amboise. It is a pleasure to stroll the street of the Knights with its medieval buildings, winding alleys, towers, turrets and emblazoned façades. You will then visit the impressive Grand Master’s Palace and have the chance to see the superb mosaics. The pleasant walk passes through the Marine Gate before you return to the ship.
Thursday, October 14
CRETE & SANTORINI
Dock this morning in Crete’s port of Heraklion, just three miles away from the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. Disembark at Santorini, one of the most beautiful of the Greek islands where picturesque whitewashed villages topped with brilliant blue domes stand in stark contrast to the sheer drop cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea. The island itself perches on the edges of a volcano whose eruption 3,500 years ago is thought to have led to the collapse of the Minoan civilization.
Friday, October 15
Disembark and transfer to hotel in Athens. Day at leisure.
Dinner and Overnight - Athens
Saturday, October 16
RETURN TO USA
Morning transfer to Athens airport for our return home with a new appreciation of the Apostle Paul’s life and ministry.
PLEASE NOTE! We reserve the right to omit any site and/or change the itinerary
Should it be necessary due to local conditions.