In the Footsteps of St. Paul
Spiritual Director: Fr. Isaie
September 6 - 16, 2019
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located first class hotels as follows: (or similar)
- Sep 7 – 9: Hotel Capsis, Thessaloniki, Greece
- Sep 9 – 10: Hotel Divani, Meteora, Greece
- Sep 10 – 11: Hotel Amalia Delphi or Nafsika Palace, Delphi, Greece
- Sep 11 – 13: Hotel Divani Palace, Athens, Greece
- Sep 13 – 16: Cruise on Celestyal Cruises Cruise Lines , (outside cabin)
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner while on Cruise
- Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Port taxes & fees
- All tips included while on cruise
- Shore excursions while on ship include:
- ~ Mykonos - Walking tour
- ~ Kusadasi - Ephesus & the house of the Virgin Mary
- ~ Patmos - Monastery of St. John & Grotto of Apocalypse
- ~ Crete - Palace of Knossos
- ~ Santorini - Thira & Oia Village
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches on Day 2 - 7. Beverages not mentioned. Tips to your guide & driver
Fri, Sep 06: Depart for Greece
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Sat, Sep 07: Arrive Thessaloniki, Greece
Upon arrival in Thessaloniki, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrival’s Hall where you will be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver. Make your way to the Bus where your group will transfer to your hotel. You will check-in at your hotel, relax and meet your fellow pilgrims. This evening, you will enjoy a delicious meal followed by an overnight in Thessaloniki.
Sun, Sep 08: Philippi, Kavala, Thessaloniki
The first stop of the day is Philippi (approximately two hours). This was the city to where Saint Paul the Apostle delivered his first sermon and where he established the first church in Europe. "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). Also, it is the site of where Saint Paul baptized a woman named Lydia, the first convert to Christianity in Europe. Additionally in Philippi, you will visit the Roman Forum where Saint Paul cast a spirit out of a fortune-telling woman. While here, you will have the opportunity to visit the prison (now in ruins) of where Saint Paul and Silas were thrown into by the owners of the fortune-tellers. Following this visit, you will continue into the modern port city of Kavala (approximately thirty minutes), which was once the ancient Neapolis. This port is where Saint Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy landed when they sailed into Europe. After enjoying this city by the sea, you will transfer to Thessaloniki (approximately one hour and forty minutes) for a delicious meal and restful over-night.
Mon, Sep 09: Thessaloniki, Meteora: Thessaloniki City Tour
In the winter of 49-50 A.D., Saint Paul wrote two epistles to the Thessalonians. These letters urged Christians to “live blamelessly” and to refrain from living idly while they wait for the second coming of Christ. While in Thessaloniki, you will witness a number of ancient artifacts such as the triumphal Arch of Galerius that is found at the start of Via Egnatia. Due to the convenient location, this arch was once a strategic artery of the Roman Empire. It was originally constructed in order to honor the Roman Emperor Galerius following the Roman victory over the Persians. Following your city tour, you will transfer to Kalambaka (approximately two hours and forty minutes). This evening, you will have a marvelous meal and a relaxing overnight in Kalambaka.
Tue, Sep 10: Kalambaka - Delphi
This morning you will awaken in the home of the Meteora Monasteries! In the eleventh century, there were monks who settled within caves. However, as the occupation of the Turkish increased, the monks were forced to move their settlements higher upon the rocks until they were unreachable by any opposing enemy. These settlements became Monasteries by bringing building, and living, material by ladders and baskets. The Mete-ora Monasteries are notorious for preserving not only the Hellenic religion, but also, their academics and arts as well. During your visit, you will be able to view stunning Byzantine art, as well as the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the Monastery. Your day will culminate with a transfer to Delphi (approximately two and a half hours).
Wed, Sep 11: Delphi - Athens
Delphi is another timeless site to experience. It is believed to be the center of the ancient world, of whose prestige has extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic world. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, nestled within a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios. Historically, this sanctuary was home to the famous Greek Oracle. The Oracle provided advice to those who needed assistance in war, politics, love, and family. You will visit these ruins and the area of which it surrounds. Following this visit, you will transfer to the capital of Greece, Athens (approximately one hour and a half). Saint Paul spoke to the people of Athens and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscrip-tion ‘to an unknown God’” (Acts 17:22). This capital city is one of the most renowned in the world, and has played a vital role in the creation of Western Civilization as it is known today. In the evening, you will enjoy dinner and an overnight in this remarkable city.
Thu, Sep 12: Athens - Excursion to Corinth
Today you will tour the oldest city in the world, Athens! You will begin with a visit to 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, your group will 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. The last stop on your tour will be to the 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 (approximately one hour). 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, you will return to Athens for a fantastic meal and overnight.
Fri, Sep 13: Athens - Start 3-day Cruise (Celestyal Cruises Cruise Lines) Mykonos
Following breakfast, you will proceed to the Piraeus port where you will board your 3-day cruise. The first port that you will stop at is Mykonos, the most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands that attracts visitors from all over the world. After docking, the coaches will take you to Hora, the island’s capital. Upon arrival in Hora, you will enjoy a walking tour that will take you on the narrow cobbled streets of the city. While on this tour, you will pass chic boutiques, elegant nightclubs, and white washed houses until arrival in Alefkandra. This section of Mykonos is known as the “Venice of Mykonos,” as the homes have wooden balconies and are built on the sea. Historically, these homes were of the wealthy merchants and captains. This evening, you will enjoy the picture perfect sunset while dining at one of the most exquisite restaurants in Alefkandra. Following dinner, you will return to the town of Mykonos where you will board a shuttle bus to transfer back to the port.
Sat, Sep 14: Kusadasi & Ephesus (Mary's House) & Patmos
Today, you will arrive at the lively Turkish port of Kusadasi. Upon arrival in Kusadasi, you will transfer to the small village of Mt. Koressos. While in this village, you will visit the small stone chapel that is situated upon the site of where the Virgin Mary spent her last days following Christ’s crucifixion. Following this visit, your group will walk through the Magnesian Gate to the ancient Ephesus. While in this ancient city, you will begin your walking tour that will take you through the most magnificent excavations in the world. Some of the sites include the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, and the Library of Celsus. The last stop on the walking tour is to the Great Theatre, the largest ancient theatre that had a capacity of 24,000 people and is a site of where Saint Paul preached. On the return of your walking tour, you will follow the exact route that Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession via the Arcadian Way. This main street runs from the Great Theatre to the main city’s harbor. On your transfer back to Kusadasi, you will have the opportunity to view the Basilica of Saint John. In the sixth century, Emperor Justinian erected this structure over the grave of the evangelist, John. Upon arrival in Kusadasi, you will enjoy free time to explore this beach town before returning to the ship. When you embark on the ship, your journey will continue to Patmos. Upon arrival in Patmos, you will continue a short distance to the village of Chora. While in this island’s capital, you will visit the monastery of Saint John the Theologian. This marvelous structure was built nine-hundred years ago, and continues to be supported by the walls of a strong fortification. In addition to the stunning main church that contains outstanding frescoes, you will have the opportunity to view the beautiful courtyard, dining room, and the bakery. Your tour continues to the small museum where you will view priceless ecclesiastical treasures such as books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, textiles, vestments, and jewelry. Following this visit, you will board the motor coach that will take your group to the Monastery and Grotto of the Apocalypse. In this grotto, you will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to view the site of where the Book of Revelations was written. The silver niches in the wall mark the pillow and ledge that were used as a desk by the author of the Book. Additionally, you will view the three-fold crack made by the voice of God who emphasized the importance of honoring the Holy Trinity. Your day will culminate with a transfer to the port of Scala. While in this quaint and picturesque harbor, you will enjoy free time before returning to the ship.
Sun, Sep 15: Heraklion - Santorini
This morning you will awaken and transfer to the largest city on the island of Crete, Heraklion. While in this administrative capital, you will visit the ancient ruins of the Palace of Knossos. These ruins were discovered in 1899, and the palace is currently partially reconstructed. This ancient palace is believed to have been the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. Additionally, it is the site of where Saint Paul met the owner and captain of the ship who warned him of continuing his journey to spread Christianity in Rome. Following this historical visit, you will embark on the ship that will take you to the idyllic island of Santorini. Santorini is definitively the most breathtaking island of all of the Greek Islands. Upon arrival in Santorini, you will visit Thira where you will see the iconic whitewashed houses, narrow streets, open air cafes, and glittering boutiques that cling to steep cliffs. This evening you will return to the ship for your last dinner and overnight on your cruise.
Mon, Sep 16: Return Home
Today marks the end of your cruise. Following disembarkation, you will say your heartfelt farewells to a journey that will last in your memory forever. You will be transferred to the Athens airport for your return flight(s) home.