Mount Athos: 8 Days
Day 1: Arrival at Athens airport – Athens
We will meet you at the airport of Athens. We will have a look at Athens, named in honor of their patron saint - the favorite daughter of Zeus, goddess of wisdom Athena. City tour by bus, where our guide will show you the Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Palace and Kallimarmaro Stadium (Panathinaikon Stadium), where the first modern Olympic Games took place. Visit the fabulous Acropolis New Museum from where you can have a magnificent view of the Parthenon and Erectheum before viewing Athens a top Mars Hill where St. Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentile nation. Visit also the Acropolis Parthenon and the Agora (ancient market place and centre of Athenian public life). A short walk through the narrow streets of the Old city, the famous Plaka with a multitude of shops and cafes. We will visit the Metropolis Cathedral, where the holy relics of Gregory V the Constantinople Patriarch are, and the small Kapnikarea church. Check in to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Athens - Souroti - Ouranopoli
Departure from Athens by coach to Chalkidiki. En route we will stop at the nunnery of St. John Theologian in Souroti Thessaloniki. The monastery is dedicated to Saint John the Theologian and St. Arsenius the Cappadocian, whose relics are in the church. In the monastery there is the grave of Elder Paisios. The nuns of the Monastery Sourotis had spiritual mentor to the blessed Elder Paisios. On July 12, 1994 Elder reposed in the Lord and was buried next to the church of St. Arsenius. We continue through a beautiful and peaceful ride and will arrive in the picturesque Ouranoupolis of Chalkidiki. Ouranoupolis is on the doorstep of Athos. It is the last secular place where the visitor who intends to visit the monastic state arrives. Check in at the hotel of our stay, dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Mount Athos
MEN: After breakfast we take for men unique pilgrimage experience at Garden of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Mountain. Having ensured one-day permit from the Holy Supervision for our visit to Mount Athos and in the accompaniment of an experienced chief-attendant, we will depart for the port of Dafni in Mount Athos. We will visit the small monastic city of Karyes, the famous temple of Protaton, the Monastery Koutloumousiou, the Cloister of St. Andrew's, the Skete of Prophet Elias, the Monastery of Pantocrator, the Abbey Stavronikita, the Monastery Iberians, the Monastery Philotheou and the Monastery Karakalou. In the afternoon, we return to the port of Mount Athos, where we will sail to Ouranoupolis. Transfer to hotel, dinner and overnight.
WOMEN: After taking breakfast, we will move to beautiful Ouranoupolis port to begin our cruise along the "Autonomous Monastic State" in Greece, considered the center of Orthodox monasticism. Mount Athos is a self-governing monastic community in the most mountainous and rugged of the three peninsulas of Chalkidiki. Under the escort of our experienced guides, who will provide us with a full description of the history of the peninsula, the monasteries, morals and customs and life of the monks, the experience will be truly memorable. At noon back and free time for relaxation. In the afternoon visit to the neighboring island, Ammouliani with the beautiful beach of Alykes, which is covered with fine sand and has turquoise waters. In the evening return to Ouranoupolis and our hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Ouranopolis - Thessaloniki
After breakfast we will depart from Ouranoupolis for Thessaloniki, where we will worship at the church of St. Dimitrios, the patron of the city. We can organize Divine Liturgy there upon your request. Right after we will get to know the most important Orthodox Temples of Thessaloniki, starting with the church of St. Sophia which is one of the oldest in the city with its unique mosaics. We continue with the Rotonda – St. George, the catacomb church of St. John the Baptist, the church of St. Grigorios Palamas and before we end up to our hotel we will visit the White Tower - the symbol of the city - built by the Turks in the 15th century. Arrival at the hotel, check-in, rooms settle and free time to relax. Dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Day 5: Thessaloniki – Veria – Meteora
After our breakfast we leave Thessaloniki for the city of Paul: Veria. According to the city formerly Veria called "little Jerusalem", with dozens of churches in the form of early Christian basilicas. Among them is a small Byzantine basilica church of the Resurrection of Christ from the hands of famous painter Michael, one of the representatives of the "School of iconography Paleologos". We would also visit the old cathedral (11th century), which is dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul and the Church of St. Blaise - one of the most important monuments the city, with beautiful frescoes from the 14-16 centuries. In a short distance from Veria is built Sumela Monastery of Panagia. There was moved the miraculous image of the Virgin of Sumela Monastery (Turkish Trabzon on the Black Sea coast), who is the patron of the house and all Pontians. Afternoon is dedicated to the monasteries of Meteora. Here you will see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched 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 the cliffside caves then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, later transformed into monasteries. We will have the opportunity to visit the monasteries of St. Barbara, St. Stephen, St. Nicholas and St. Varlaam. Dinner in Kalambaka and overnight.
Day 6: Meteora - Evia
Our Pilgrimage trip continuew with visiting Evia. There in some villages it seems to stop the time: traditions, customs, celebrations - almost indistinguishable from how it happened decades and centuries ago. We will visit the monastery of Osios David situated in the heart of a dense area. In the church of the Monastery kept the fragrant and miraculous bones of St. David the Elder, the censer and stole of the Saint (Russian origin) and other precious relics. Also, around and outside the monastery you can visit many churches in memory of various saints. Do not forget to visit the hermitage of Saint David, covering walk a short distance to the cave where the hermit miraculous saint. Worth over from the basement chapel of St. Anargiron in the SE wing of the cells of the monastery, which gives you the opportunity to admire paintings of the 17th century. Then we will visit the church of St. John the Russian. John, he was born in Russia in 1690. John was a soldier in the army of Peter, and was captured by the Turks, after he fiercely resisted all efforts to end the Turkish officer let him free quiet to keep his faith. He became famous humility and miracles during his lifetime and after his death. Arrive in the beautiful city of Chalkida, check in to our hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Evia - Athens
After leaving Evia we are moving to Nea Makri where we visit the monastery of St. New Ephraim, where his sacred relics are. Then we arrive in Athens where we we have the rest of the day free to relax, take a last walk and shop. Check in to our hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Athens - Departure
This morning after our breakfast we depart from our hotel to Athens airport. Departure flight back home.