Followers of The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of St. Paul
Tour ItineraryDay 1: Departure for Greece Our pilgrimage to the ancient civilization and first Christian communities in Europe where St. Paul preached starts with an overnight flight to Athens, Greece. Day 2: Arrival in Athens Arrival in Athens this morning where you will be met by a local Faith Journeys representative. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. Time permitting you will celebrate holy Mass at a local church before checking in to your hotel. The remainder of day will be at leisure. Enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight with your fellow pilgrims. Day 3: Athens & Corinth Our day starts at St. Dennis Catholic Cathedral where we celebrate Mass before we start exploring the city of Athens. Highlights today include a visit of the Acropolis to see the ruins of the Parthenon, Erectheum and Propylae. For twenty five centuries, the panorama of this city is dominated by the rock of the Acropolis. We will ascend Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians about the one and only God. From here we have an excellent view of the ancient agora; former center of the Athenian public life. We will continue our journey across the Corinthian Canal to Corinth where St. Paul came after he left Athens and stayed for one and a half years (Acts 18: 1-18). Here we will visit the marketplace where Paul preached to the Corinthians. We will also see the Temple of Apollo and the Corinth Museum. Continuing back to Athens we will make a short stop at what used to be the ancient port of Cenchreae. It was from here that Paul sailed to Ephesus. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Athens. Day 4 (Friday): Cruise – Mykonos Today we’ll leave Athens early in the morning for Piraeus and at 11:00 a.m. set sail into the Aegean Sea. In the evening we arrive at our first island: Mykonos, which belongs to the group of the Cyclades. The mountainous island of Mykonos has about 400 churches. The main city consists of picturesque white houses and the island’s trademarks: the charming windmills. The place has a unique architecture of Byzantine and Western characteristics. Must “sees” in Mykonos include the Church of the Virgin Paraportiani, and the Cathedral on the main square as well as the many boutiques and taverns along tiny paved streets. Return to your ship for dinner and overnight. Day 5 (Saturday): Cruise – Ephesus, Turkey & Patmos, Greece This morning you will arrive at the Turkish port city of Kusadasi. From here we will explore Ephesus, where the Blessed Virgin Mary lived with John in a small house on the hill behind the city. This is a perfect spot to celebrate 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 which are architectural masterpieces. It is here that 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 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. Dinner and overnight on your cruise ship. Day 6 (Sunday): Cruise – Santorini & Crete Today on the last day of the cruise we will have the opportunity to visit Heraklion on the Island of Crete. It is in Heraklion where Paul met the owner and captain of the ship who warned him of continuing his journey to Rome. Optional excursions are also available to the Palace of Knossos. Knossos, which was discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. In the afternoon we arrive at the volcanic island of Santorini where you can take the cable car (not included in the cost) up to the lovely town of Fira. Enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view! Dinner and overnight on your cruise ship. Day 7: Athens & Thessaloniki Today enjoy an early morning breakfast before we disembark the cruise ship. We will meet up with our guide and bus for a transfer to Kalambaka which is near the Meteora Monastery. This afternoon we will visit the Grand Meteoron Monastery (Transfiguration of Christ) considered one of the most beautiful Byzantine monasteries. The word Meteora means literally ‘hovering in the air’ as all the monasteries were built on top of the high rocks. Monks have lived here in the 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 figures in Orthodox monasticism. After the visit we continue to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Kalambaka Day 8: Kavala & Thessaloniki After breakfast leave Kalambaka and continue the modern port city of Kavala, ancient Neapolis, where Paul accompanied by Silas, Luke and Timothy, first set foot in Europe. It was in Philippi where Paul delivered his first sermon in Europe, sowing the seeds of Christianity. “And from there (He went) to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman Colony. We remained in this city some days…” Acts 16:12-18 The Roman forum, completely excavated, is from after Paul’s time. Among the ruins, located on the rocky ledge above the town’s main road is the site where Paul and Silas were thrown into prison. It was in Phillipi that Paul baptized Lydia, the first Christian convert in Europe. Celebrate Mass together here together at this special site where Lydia had been baptized. In the afternoon we drive to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight. Day 9: Thessaloniki, Berea & Athens After breakfast we will celebrate Mass at the Catholic Church before we visit the city of Thessaloniki. Highlights today include The Rotonda and St. George’s Church, one of the oldest constructions in the city dating back to the end of the 4th century. Today we dedicate ourselves to Thessaloniki and St. Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians. Paul established the first church here (Acts 17:1-10). Ruins of an early Christian church are near the Palace of Galerius. We examine in Paul’s letters to this community his unbounded determination to continue the Church. Continue to the stunning Basilica of St. Demetrius, where the Saint was imprisoned tortured and buried. Journey back to Athens via Berea (Veria) where St. Paul and St. Silas were accused by the Jewish community. En route we will also see the legendary battle site of Thermopyles where 300 brave Leonidas fought the overwhelming Persians. Enjoy a farewell dinner with our fellow pilgrims before saying ‘Good-Bye’ to this magical country and having witnessed the life of the St. Paul. Day 10: Athens & Return to the USA After breakfast transfer to Athens airport for our flight back home. © Faith Journeys LLC
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a rare and privileged event. Every person of faith should make such a trip a priority in one's life. However, great care is needed to make sure the experience reflects the intent of the traveler. Without careful planning, advanced preparation and attention to details while in the Holy Land, the pilgrimage can fall short of expectations. Faith Journey's is a trusted, experienced partner who can make sure your journey is a critical step towards a deeper communion with Our Savior and his people.