Christian Greek Panorama: 8 Days
Day 1: Arriving at airport. Thessaloniki
We will meet you at the airport of Greece's "Northern Capital" - Thessaloniki. On the way to the hotel and during the tour we will visit the church of St. Dimitrios, the patron of the city, where we worship his holy relics. 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 2: Thessaloniki – Ouranoupolis, Mt. Athos cruise – Souroti - Thessaloniki
After our breakfast we leave from Thessaloniki to Ouranoupolis in Chalkidiki from where we embark on the ship for the cruise to Mt. Athos, the Gardens of Virgin Mary. We will see the most important and magnificent monasteries such as the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon, the Simonos Petras, The Pantokratoras, the Vatopedi, the St. Paul and the Megistis Lavras monastery. Disembark to Ouranoupolis and continue our trip with the monastery of St. Anastasia Pharmacolytria and veneration of her holy relics. Then we will go to the monastery of St. John Theologos the Annunciation. The monastery is the tomb of Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos and the cathedral contains the relics of St. Arseny of Cappadocia. We end up to Thessaloniki. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Thessaloniki – Meterora – Igoumenitsa - Corfu
Today, after our breakfast we farewell Thessaloniki to continue our pilgrimage trip visiting the unique and breathtaking 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 and St. Nicholas. Then we leave Meteora and head to the port of Igoumenitsa. Departure by boat to the island of Corfu. Arrival to Corfu and check in to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Corfu
After breakfast we start our pilgrimage around this beautiful Ionian island. In the old town of Corfu we visit the church of St. Spyridon who is the patron of the island. Saint Spyridon the Keeper of the city for the miracle of expelling the plague from the island and the saving it at the second great siege of Corfu of 1716. We will visit the monument of St. Theodore Ushakov (the Admiral) inside the fortress of Corfu. We continue to the church of St. Theodora, the church of St. John the Baptist where is the burial of the Russian soldier, the church of Panagia of foreigners, the church of St. Apostles Jason & Sosipatros where their holy relics are. Returning back to the town of Corfu and the southernmost peninsula of Kanoni, there is a small monastery dedicated to Virgin May of Vlachernes, where the miraculous image of Virgin Mary is kept. Being on a small village linked to mainland by a narrow path seems as if the little whitewashed monastery springs out of the sea. Following the winding road 25 km from Corfu town, we reach the monastery of Panagia Paleokastritsa founded in 1225, today also includes a museum with Byzantine icons, books and other relics. Next will be the monastery of Agia Triada in the Northern part of the island, a symbol of faith since 1400. The monastery is famous for its murals, dating back to XVII century and icons of 1850. Afternoon free to walk around the narrow streets of the old town. Dinner and overnight on board to Patras.
Day 5: Patras – Kalavrita, Mega Spileon – Loutraki - Athens
Early morning arrival in Patras where we will visit the church of St. Andrew the patron of the city and one of the biggest churches in the Balkans. Here kept the head and some parts of the cross that St. Andrew been crossed. We continue our trip and drive to Kalavryta, where one of the oldest monasteries in Greece - Mega Spileon (Big Cave) is. The Monastery which is considered the oldest in Greece, was built in 362 AD by monks Thessalonians brothers, Simeon and Theodore. Inside the monastery there is a temple built into a cave, which houses the miraculous image of the Mother of God from mastic and wax, said to have been made by the Apostle Luke. This picture is almost 2000 years old. Our next stop is in Loutraki a small and picturesque seaside city, where we visit the convent of St. Patapiya Egypt. Then transfer to Athens. Check in at the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Athens
Today we 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 7: Athens – Aegina – Athens - Katerini
Early morning departure by boat from the port of Piraeus for small cruise to the island of Aegina. After an hour trip we get to the island that is known for both its religious history, and natural beauty. The first visit will be to the monastery of St. Nektarios. In this abandoned monastery, in 1904, Saint Nektarios decided and renovate the monastery of Agia Triada. The restoration work lasted three years, from 1904 until 1907. In this monastery, St. Nektarios retired a year later, in 1908, when he resigned from his position as director of Rizarios school. So finally fulfilled the ardent desire to become a monk. St. Nektarios "slept" on November 9, 1920. In 1961, officially recognized as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Back in the picturesque harbor and we get the ferry back to Piraeus. Our trip continues to Katerini where we arriving late at night. Dinner and overnight
Day 8: Katerini – Mt. Olympus Riviera (Paralia) – Thessaloniki - Departure
This morning after our breakfast we will visit the Monastery of St. Dionysius, located on the slopes of Mt. Olympus. In the museum of the monastery there is a script signed by Peter. Transfer to the airport of Thessaloniki. Departure flight back home.