12 Day Footsteps of St. Paul & Seven Churches Fr. Olive
Athens - Crete - Heraklion - Meteora - Kalambaka - Thessaloniki Kavala - Çanakkale - Izmir - Pamukkale - Kusadasi - Patmos - Piraeus
Fr. Alphonse Olive
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20 - 50
Sep 19, 2023
Oct 1, 2023
Price per person sharing room:
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About this trip
Pilgrims—Pack your bags. We are on the move again. Continue the journey! In 2019, we traveled
to the Holy Land. In 2023, we travel from September 19- Oct 1…..Where?
To Crete, where in 1499 the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was discovered.
To Greece, to see the Acropolis, the Parthenon and follow in the steps of St. Paul. Athens, Philippi,
Corinth, Thessaloniki and Ephesus.
And then to Turkey and the 7 Churches of the Book of Revelation: Smyrna, Perga-mum, Ephesus,
Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
Fr. Mike and I will be your chaplains. So, save the date: September 19- Oct 1. Let’s go on the
road again and meet the Lord in Crete, Greece and Turkey. Ahoy!
Mucho Vino, Ouzo & Raki !!!
Your trip includes
Airfare - Round trip, New York,JFK to Athens (ATH)
Land Transportation- transportation by deluxe motor coach for all the tour
Guiding - English speaking local guide for all the tour
All Entrances as per program
1 night in Athens, 4* Hotel Alexandros or similar
1 night in Kalambaka, 4* Hotel Antoniadis or similar
1 night in Thessaloniki, 4 * Hotel Capsis or similar
1 night in Kavala, 4* hotel Galaxy or similar
2 nights on board ferry Piraeus – Heraklion – Piraeus
1 night on board ferry Patmos – Piraeus
1 night Hotel Akol 4* (www.hotelakol.com.tr or similar)
1 night Hotel Blanca 4* (www.blancahotel.com or similar)
1 night Hotel Hierapark 4* (www.hieraparkhotel.com or similar)
1 night Hotel Marina 4* (www.marinahotelsuites.com or similar).
1 night Hotel Marina 4* or similar
Meals - Lunch in Matala on day 3
Porterage service in hot
Entrances to museums
Your trip exclude
Drinks - Extra drinks at meals
Insurance - Insurance (May purchase through our office in USA)
Tips ($120) per person to be added
Your trip Itinerary
Day 1: Depart from USA
Today, we begin our journey east to follow in the footsteps of the first great missionary disciple, St. Paul.
We will start our day flying from New York (JFK) to Athens, with complimentary meal on board.
Day 2: Arrival, Athens / Crete
After our morning arrival into Athens, our journey begins as St. Paul’s journey often began; by diving into the secular world. While the remainder of our pilgrimage will be devoted to sacred sites of Christianity, we would be remised to not visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Erechtheum. In Acts of the
Apostles, Chapter 17, St. Paul began his mission in Athens, gaining a handful of followers for Christ and thus planting the seeds of the faith in Greece. We will take time for prayer at Holy Apostles Church (which dates back to the 10th century) and the Mitropoli (Cathedral), the seat of the archbishop and hub of the Greek Orthodox Church. Transfer to Piraeus Port for an overnight ferry to Crete. (Dinner can be arranged on board)
Day 3: Crete / Heraklion
Early morning arrival in Crete.
Breakfast in Heraklion Town, buffet style.
You will then visit the Palace of Knossos, the site of the legendary Minotaur, and see the underground corridors of the labyrinth. Knossos, the capital of King Minos and the center of the magnificent Minoan civilization is located only a few kilometers south of Heraklion. Our visit here will take us a step back in time and some 4000 years, 2000 BC. Knossos and her Palace, famous throughout the world through the myths of Europa, the Minotaur, the Labyrinth and Theseus, Daedalus and Icarus, will open up a window to the most ancient civilization of Europe. It is a reality you cannot miss! Knossos’ architectural feats
include several story buildings (first in the world) with light wells and bathrooms, impressive pillars and an ingenious drainage system, aqueducts, irrigation systems, paved roads and magnificent frescoes. All these will impress you and show an advanced and beautiful way of life you never thought possible in the dawn of history.
The Baptistery of St. Paul is located at the entrance of the village Agios Ioannis (St John), near Phaestus. According to tradition, when the Apostle Paul came to Crete and headed to the capital of the island
(Gortyn) where he taught Christianity for two days. At this place, in 1304, the Baptistery, and later the church of St. Paul (that we see today) with the frescoes were built.
Lunch 4 course menu at tavern in Matala (menu to be advised in due time), no drinks are included.
Free time in Heraklion and late embarkation to the ferry back to overnight ferry to Piraeus. (Dinner can be arranged on board)
Day 04: Meteora / Kalambaka
Early morning arrival in Piraeus Port. Our journey continues north today as we leave Athens. Our first stop is at the Byzantine monasteries at Meteora that seem to precariously perch on the very edge of the cliffs. We will ascend to these sacred retreats via cable car, but you can only imagine how hundreds of years ago monks were ascending on foot! Our final place for prayer today will be the Kalambaka
Cathedral, Church of the Dormition, for vespers with the community. Overnight in Kalambaka
Day 05: Veria, Kalambaka / Thessaloniki
St. Paul leads us further into his journey to Thessaloniki, home of another early New Testament
community he evangelized. Mass will be offered at the “Dais of the Apostle Paul,” in Veria and we will also spend time at the Byzantine Basilica of the Resurrection of Christ. Once in Thessaloniki, we will have time for prayer at the Byzantine churches of St. George, St. Demetrius, and Hagia Sophia. The evening will be free to explore the city. Overnight in Thessaloniki
Day 06: Thessaloniki / Kavala
We begin our journey today toward Philippi, where St. Paul preached and baptized some of the first
Christians in Europe. We will descend into a crypt that served as a prison for St. Paul when he was held captive there. Mass will be offered alongside the river where St. Paul preached 2000 years ago and
baptized Lydia, his first European convert. Our day ends in Kavala, the ancient port of Neapolis, where St. Paul landed with his disciples, Timothy & Silas. St. Luke the Evangelist also came here from Troas. We will have time for prayer at the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Paul and St. Nicholas Church. Overnight in Kavala
Day 07: Kavala / Canakkale
Today we leave Greece behind and cross the border into Turkey, taking a ferry across Straits of the
Dardanelles to Canakkale. Overnight in Canakkale.
Dinner in hotel.
Day 08: Canakkale / Izmir
Depart Canakkale and drive to visit Pergamum, the most favored, of the Seven Churches of Revelation where Christianity was introduced very early. Here we will see the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of
Athena, the fabled Acropolis and the Royal Gate. We will also visit Asclepeion, one the foremost healing centers of the ancient world. We will continue on to Thyatira, another of the Seven Churches. Then visit the Church of St. Polycarp, which is the oldest church in ancient Smyrna and is dedicated to one of the first Christian martyrs. Proceed to Izmir for overnight at Hotel
Day 09: Izmir / Pamukkale
Following breakfast, drive to Sardis, the Lydian capital city where money was first minted, to visit the
Roman Gymnasium and the remains of the Artemis Temple, which symbolized one of the Seven
Churches. We will then stop at Philadelphia which was referred to as the “New Jerusalem.” Proceed to the spa city of Pamukkale, where we will see the cascading water from the cliffs forming crystallized,
dazzling white “frozen waterfalls”. Visit the ruins of the Roman health spa of Hierapolis and see the
magnificently preserved Necropolis*, the Main Street, and Gates.
Overnight at Hotel
Day 10: Pamukkale / Kusadasi
Depart Pamukkale and drive to Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches where Christians were chastised by John for being lukewarm. Then proceed to Ephesus to visit the site of the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Paul spent two years in Ephesus, and it was to this
community that he wrote his Epistle to the Ephesians. Paul implored the Ephesians to cease their worship of Artemis and to turn to Christianity. We will see the great theater where Paul addressed the crowds and visit the site of the scene of the riot from which Paul escaped. Visit the Church of the Virgin Mary, the House of Mary, and the Tomb of St. Luke. While driving to the colorful port of Kusadasi, we will visit the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by the Emperor Justinian. Dinner and overnight at Hotel
Day 11: Kusadasi / Patmos
Transfer to the pier at Kusadasi.
Pickup from the Port of Patmos where St. John received the mystical revelation which forms the last book of the New Testament. Once we reach the island, we will take an excursion to the Grotto of Revelation and the 11th century Monastery of St. John which houses the original script of the Gospel. Starting from Skala, we go first to the cave, the holy place where St. John the Apostle of Jesus Christ wrote the last book of the New Testament. There we will stay about 30-40 minutes.
In 95 A.D., John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, was exiled in the island of Patmos by the roman emperor. He stayed there for 18 months. Following the tradition, he used the cave as a quiet place to stay and pray. There he heard for the first time the voice of Jesus Christ. Following the tradition, everything that he heard, he wrote in a book, the book of Apocalypse.
Down, inside the cave we will see two chapels. To the right side of the cave is the Chapel of St. John and to the left side is the Chapel of St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary. Both the chapels were built in the 11th century by a monk called Christodoulos.
After the cave, we will go to the main village of the island called Chora. Walking through the streets, we will go to the monastery of St. John, built in the 11th century by the same monk who built the two
chapels inside the cave. There we will visit the main church of the monastery. We will see many icons and frescos from 17th, 18th, and 19th century as well as architecture of the 11th century.
Afterward, we will visit the chapel of the Virgin Mary from the 11th century. There are many original frescos from the 12th century.
Drop off in Patmos Port . We will then board an overnight ferry for Piraeus.
Day 12: Piraeus / Corinth / Athens
This morning, we will disembark from our overnight ferry in Piraeus and then drive to ancient Corinth, the city that inspired many of St. Paul’s most familiar letters. Visit the Archaeological Museum, the
Market Place, the Bema, and the Temples. Standing in the midst of the ruins of the church of Corinth and seeing the pillars, steps, and public worship place where Paul preached will enhance our understanding and love of I & II Corinthians. We will celebrate Mass in Corinth before proceeding to Athens for
check-in at our local hotel. Celebrate a farewell dinner at the hotel on our last night. Overnight in Athens.
Day 13: Athens / New York
Today, we end our pilgrimage and we fly home to New York.