8 Days program "Following Paul's steps from Northern Greece to Patmos"
DAY 01: THESSALONIKI
Paul came to Thessaloniki with Silas and following his usual custom, he went to the Synagogue where he used the Jewish scriptures as the source for his preaching (Act 17:2-4).
Arrival in Thessaloniki, the beautiful city of the North that is considered the second capital of Greece and transfer to the centre of the city. On route to the hotel you will have a condensed city tour of the city that Paul preached during the winters of 49-50 AD and wrote two epistles to the ancient Thessalonians. See the ramparts of the city, the triumphal Arch of Galerius starting at the Via Egnatia, once a strategic artery of the Roman Empire, the Church of Saint Dimitrios who is the patron Saint of Thessaloniki. Afternoon Free.
DAY 02: KAVALLA - PHILIPPI - THESSALONIKI
"Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a great voyage to Samothrace and the following day to Neapolis” (Act 16:11) "And from thence to Philippi which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony; and we were in that city abiding certain days (Act 16:12)
Today you will visit the beautiful city of Kavala (ancient Neapolis). Paul landed here with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. Luke, the Evangelist, also came here from Troas. This ancient city of Neapolis was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. Continue to the ancient city of Philippi, which was a Roman garrison town and the chief city in the province of Macedonia. It was here that Paul won his first European convert, a woman named Lydia. Visit the Baptistery of Lydia., the market place (where Paul and Silas were brought before the rulers), the cistern which tradition identifies as the place where St. Paul was imprisoned. Return to Thessaloniki and visit St. Demetrius Basilica, dedicated to a distinguished member of the Roman army and a martyred Christian convert, before returning to the hotel, ovenight.
DAY 03: THESSALONIKI - VEROIA - METEORA
After breakfast you will depart for the beautiful city of Veroia to view the synagogue where Paul preached, the Bema surrounded by mosaics of Paul and the plaque of scripture regarding the "more noble" church. Continue South to the town of Kalambaka with the fascinating characteristic, it's spectacular setting of the precipitous Meteora rocks that border the northern part of it's skyline. Visit and the unique formation of Meteora monasteries,spectacularly perched atop rocky pinnacles in Thessaly, one of the most striking sights in Greece. The present monasteries were built in the 14th and 15th centuries during a time of instability and revival of the hermit ideal, they flourished until the 17th century but only six survive today; four of these still host monastic communities. This afternoon you will visit the monasteries of Roussanou, Ayias Triadhos and Ayiou Stefanou . Evening free,overnight in Kalambaka.
DAY 04: METEORA-ATHENS - ferry to PATMOS
After breakfast visit 2 more of the Meteora Monasteries Varlaam and Great Meteoron, among striking scenery, that seem to be suspended in mid-air, where you can see exquisite speciments of Byzantine art. We continue to Athens and the port of Piraeus to board our overnight ferry to the island of Patmos. Early morning hours arrive at the island of Patmos and transfer to hotel for a few hours rest.
DAY 05: PATMOS ISLAND OF REVELATION
Today we will visit the island of Patmos, a holy island for the Christian religion. It was here in Patmos where John the Divine, while in exile, wrote the Apocalyptic Revelations which constitute the last part of the newTestament. Our tour takes us up to the monastery of St. John which still keeps its character of a medieval fortress. Inside the walls you will be able to admire the Byzantine wealth of the Christian Orthodox religion while from its ramparts you will have the most stunning panoramic view of the luminous sea. Afternoon free and Overnight.
DAY 06: PATMOS - ferry to PIRAEUS.
Today is a free day in Patmos to enjoy and savoir the beauty and hollyness of this island. In the evening board the scheduled ferry for the return cruise back to Athens. Overnight and dinner aboard ship. Next morning early arrival and transfer to hotel in Athens.
DAY 07: ATHENS.
"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 inscription ‘to an unknown God'. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you . . .”
Today we visit Athens, one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilization as we know it today. For twenty five centuries, the panorama of this city is dominated by the rock of the Acropolis; we see the ruins of the Parthenon, the Erectheum and the Propylae. Thereafter, 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 continue for a drive through the city to see the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square, the evzones in their picturesque uniforms guarding the Presidential Palace and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also see the Library, the University, the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympics of the modern era were held, the temple of the Olympian Zeus and Adrian's Arch. This afternoon is at leisure for activities of our own. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 08: ATHENS - return flight.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, the end of a marvelous tour.