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Lands of St Paul

Pilgrimage on the Footsteps of St Paul the Apostle with Fr Chris Sarkis.

15-28 JULY 2019 – Travel with St Paul and his companions as they courageously preached the word of God and kept their Christian communities alive in faith. Be prepared to capture afresh the fervour and spirit of the Church’s greatest evangelist.

Athens • Ancient Corinth • Meteora • Philippi • Thessaloniki • Island of Patmos • Ephesus • Optional 3 Night Malta Extension.
St Paul Pilgrimage

MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner
Day 1: Monday 15 Jul – Depart for Greece
Welcome to Athens, where we enter the world of the New Testament. Here, St Paul and his companions established the first Christian communities. We begin our journey together over a warm Welcome Dinner.

Day 2: Tuesday 16 Jul – Arrive Athens (D)
Theme: The Athenians
Athens today is the thriving capital of Greece, but, more importantly, we have entered into the world of the New Testament where St Paul and his companions established the first Christian communities throughout his four missionary journeys. On arrival in Athens we will be met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. This evening we will celebrate our first Mass together. Athens overnight.

Day 3: Wednesday 17 Jul– Athens & Corinth (BD)
Theme: The Corinthians
When St Paul first came to Athens it was predominantly a city which worshipped pagan gods. St Paul was taken before the city council at the Areopagus Hill, a rough outcrop of limestone rock from which he preached the Gospel message to the Athenian philosophers (Acts 17:16–21). We begin our pilgrimage with a tour of Christian Athens including the Acropolis, the Areopagus where St Paul delivered his famous sermon about the identity of “the Unknown God” (Acts 17:15–34). Visit the Ancient Agora where Paul preached about Jesus and the resurrection, the Plaka (Old Greece), and explore the Parthenon. Also see the Kallimármaro Stadium, dating back to 330BC and restored for the first modern Olympic Games held here in 1896. Journey out to Ancient Corinth this afternoon where the apostle Paul lived for almost two years, teaching the people the Word of God and converting many. On arrival we will view the Erastus inscription dating back to the first century AD and concerning a Christian convert, Erastus (Rom 16:23) who was the ‘director of public works’ in Corinth. We visit the ancient ruins and see the site where he preached the Gospel from the Rostrum. See the Peirene fountain, and the 6th century BC Temple of Apollo before an outdoor Mass in this stunning pilgrimage setting. Finally we come to Cenchreae, the ancient port from where St Paul said farewell to the believers and departed for Ephesus (Acts 18:18). Athens overnight (BD)

Day 4: Thursday 18 Jul– Via Hosios Loukas to Meteora (BD)
Theme: The Byzantines
We travel north today to the remarkable Byzantine Monastery of Hosios Loukas, built in the 11th century on the slopes of Mt Helikon. In 1990 UNESCO included this site on their World Heritage List. On arrival we will celebrate an outdoor Mass here in the grounds of the Monastery and be taken on a guided tour of the Churches, crypt and surrounds where we admire the amazing frescoes and mosaics. We continue north this afternoon to the small town of Kalambaka built at the foot of the majestic grey rocks of Meteora. Kalambaka overnight.

Day 5: Friday 19 Jul – Meteora Exploration (BD)
Theme: The Monastics
We spend some time today marvelling at this unique phenomenon of nature – 24 perpendicular rocks where 600 years ago Byzantine monks chose to worship God and build their cave-like Monastic community of Meteora. We will visit some of these living monasteries by foot and view the extraordinary collection of priceless religious frescoes and other treasures that will make this a remarkable day. Enjoy some free time this afternoon. Kalambaka overnight.

Day 6: Saturday 20 Jul– Via Beroea To Kavala (BD)
Theme: The Bereans
Today we journey north by coach to Beroea (modern Veria). The “Bema” – an impressive monument to Paul – is believed to incorporate the steps from the original synagogue from which he preached the gospel to the Jews, who welcomed the word of God and began to study the Scriptures (Acts 17:10–12). A small church was established here and we will also view the ‘hidden churches’, a collection of about 20 Byzantine structures, camouflaged in the form of barns from the invading Ottoman Turks. Continue east along the ancient route of the Apostle Paul to the port city of Kavala (ancient Neapolis), once named “Christoupolis” after being the first European city to accept Christianity. It was here that St Paul, St Timothy and St Silas first landed from Troas (Acts 16:11), one of the great moments in the history of Christianity. Kavala overnight.

“Even now, when I recall the particular places that I have entered, I find it too overwhelming to contemplate it for long.” — Nick Moloney

Day 7: Sunday 21 Jul– Via Philippi to Thessaloniki (BD)
Themes: The Philippians
Journey out to Philippi, named after Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. It was here that St Paul won his first European convert, a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira (Acts 16:12–40). Visit the Baptistery of Lydia for a beautiful outdoor Mass in this breathtaking oasis on the River Zygaktis, and to renew our Baptismal vows. Visit the market place (where St Paul and St Silas were brought before the rulers) and the cistern which tradition identifies as the place where St Paul was imprisoned. In the ancient theatre we will hear the story of Paul’s arrest, imprisonment and miraculous release. We depart Philippi and journey east along the ancient route of the Apostle Paul via Amphipolis (Acts 17:1) where we view the ruins of many Christian basilicas. Finally we arrive in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, founded in 315 BC, and where St Paul preached during the winters of 49– 50AD and wrote the two epistles to the ancient Thessalonians. It was here that he established the first Christian Church in Europe. Thessaloniki overnight.

Day 8: Monday 22 Jul– Thessaloniki & travel to Patmos (BD)
Theme: The Thessalonians
Our visit this morning will include the ramparts of the city, the triumphal Arch of Galerius, as well as the Rotunda where we can see pieces of the pulpit from which Paul preached. View the Roman Agora where he also preached. Nearby we shall visit St Demetrios’ Church dedicated to a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity, and was later martyred. View its valuable mosaics and frescoes before descending in to the crypt where we find the remains of some ancient Roman baths and streets. We then ascend to the ‘ano poli’ (old town) to the Byzantine Vlatadon Monastery, built over Jason’s house (Acts 17:5) where Paul stayed during his time in Thessaloniki. We will then be transferred to the airport for our flight to Athens. On arrival we will be transferred directly to the Athenian port of Piraeus to embark our deluxe boat transfer to the Dodecanese island of Patmos, where St John the Beloved wrote the Book of Revelation. Patmos overnight
Day 9: Tuesday 23 Jul – Patmos Day (BD)
Theme: St John of Revelations
Lying between the islands of Leros and Ikaria is the ‘ascetic shaped’ Patmos, called the ‘Jerusalem of the Aegean’ due to the overwhelming atmosphere of the island during the great celebrations of Christianity. We begin our day with a walking tour of the main square of the village of Chora. This is the traditional settlement and capital of Patmos, where the narrow streets were designed to ward off pirates over the centuries. Ascend to the Monastery of St John the Beloved, a huge fortress-like building dating from the 11th century, for a visit and celebration of Mass. Our exploration of this living monastery will culminate with time in the actual Cave of Revelation where God chose to reveal to St John the mysteries of the last book of the Bible – the Apocalypse. The cave is now at the foot of the monastery, which houses priceless icons and manuscripts, sacred relics, vestments embroiled with silver or gold threads and bejeweled with precious stones. Later continue to the active Convent of Evangelismos (Annunciation) built by the hieromonk Nikiphoros who was cured from the plague after praying to St Luke the Evangelist. Visit the Convent of Zoodochos Pigi with icons dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Finally we will enjoy a short scenic tour of the island. Patmos overnight.

Day 10: Wednesday 24 Jul– Patmos to Kusadasi (BD)
Depart Patmos this morning by private Charter Vessel to Kusadasi, doorway to Ephesus, the Churches of Revelation and Gallipoli. On arrival in Kusadasi we will be met and transferred by coach to our centrally located hotel for the remainder of the day at leisure. Kusadasi overnight.

Day 11: Thursday 25 Jul – Ephesus Day (BD)
Theme: The Ephesians
We travel directly to Ephesus this morning, the most famous of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev 2:1–7) where St Paul spent more than two years in the course of his third missionary journey. It was to the Christian community of Ephesus that St Paul wrote his greatest and most challenging letter (the epistle to the Ephesians) and also succeeded in converting many away from worship of the god Artemis. Our visit today will include the ruins where St Paul lived and preached. See the prison of St Paul; walk through the ancient marble streets founded in the 10th century BC and see this most ‘complete’ Roman city providing us with an excellent window into Imperial Rome. Pass the Temple of Hadrian, the Library of Celsus, the enormous amphitheatre (Acts 19:29–31), and finally come to the ruins of the Christian Basilica where the Third Ecumenical Council took place in 431AD, and where Our Lady was proclaimed “Mother of God”. We ascend the hill to the House of the Virgin Mary where it is said Mary spent the later years of her life. We celebrate our group Mass here in one of the chapels. Finally we visit the restored remains of the 6th century Basilica of St John at Celcuk where a small church was originally built over the tomb of St John the Evangelist. Kusadasi overnight.

Day 12: Friday 26 Jul – Depart Turkey (B)
Today we will be transferred to Izmir airport for our homebound flight connections or onward pilgrimage extensions.

Day 13: Saturday 27 Jul – In transit
Day 14: Sunday 28 Jul – Arrive Australia

Optional Malta Extension

FEATURING: St Paul’s Island / Rabat / Mdina / Gozo Day Trip / Gozo Citadel / St George’s Basilica / Ta’Pinu Shrine / Ta’Giezu Church / St Paul Shipwreck Church.

Day 12: Friday – Fly to Malta (BD)
Fly to Malta, upon arrival we will be met and transferred to hotel for check-in. Malta overnight.

Day 13: Saturday – St Paul’s Island – Rabat – Mdina (BD)
A short boat trip takes us to St Paul’s Island. Upon our return to the mainland we will view St Paul’s Bonfire Church. En route to Rabat visit the miraculous Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Mosta. Continue to Rabat to enter St Paul’s Grotto. After a short walk into Mdina, visit St Paul’s Cathedral. Malta overnight.

Day 14: Sunday – Gozo Day Trip (BD)
Travel by ferry to the sister island of Gozo. Visit the Church of St John La Rotunda, and walk up the steps to the Gozo Citadel which is a medieval city and the capital of Gozo. Visit St George’s Basilica, then on to the miraculous Ta’Pinu Shrine for Mass. Malta overnight.

Day 15: Monday – Depart Malta (BD)
Today we visit Valletta. After a drive around the city to admire its bastions, we enter the city by foot and see the Auberges built by the Knights and St John. We enter St John’s Co-Cathedral and view the impressive Crucifix at Ta’Giezu Church.

Day 16: Tuesday – In transit
Day 17: Wednesday – Arrive Australia

“My respect for St Paul was enhanced by his dogged determination and belief in what he was preaching. He was a smart … determined man.” — Ian Ronchi

Pilgrim Highlights
+ Journey by land and sea along the ancient paths of St Paul and his companions.
+ Spiritually themed focus on the trials and triumphs of the various people groups and communities of the early church.
+ Enjoy a breathtaking 3-night St Paul cruise through the idyllic beauty of the Greek islands.
+ Explore the wonders of Ephesus where St Paul lived and preached for more than three years.
+ Visit the holy island of Patmos to enter the actual cave where St John wrote the Book of Revelation.
+ Marvel at the living Byzantine Monasteries of Meteora spectacularly suspended atop rocky pinnacles and occupied by hermits since the 11th century.
+ Stand in the very places of St Paul’s preaching and prayerfully explore the preserved ruins of Ancient Corinth, Philippi and Thessaloniki.

post tour options
Tour (Twin Share): AUD $1490
Single Room Supplement: AUD $660
Prepaid Tipping: AUD $60

Airfares: Economy class flights from Australia (N.B. Airlines taxes and fees are included and subject to fluctuations).
Accommodation & Meals: Based on moderate standard hotel and Religious accommodation throughout with breakfast and dinner daily
Miscellaneous inclusions: Deluxe airconditioned motor coach • Local tour escort/ guide • Sightseeing and entrance fees throughout itinerary
Not Included: Passport and Visa Costs (if applicable) • Other meals not stated • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc. • Travel insurance • Prepaid Tipping Fund.

Enjoy Peace of Mind against the unexpected when you take out cover with Harvest’s preferred Travel Insurance provider. Pay a nominal premium to access the new feature of “Cancel for Any Reason” cover to minimise your cancellation fees regardless of the reason for your withdrawal. Conditions Apply.

Questions? Call us

AU Free Call: 1800 819 156
NZ Free Call: 0800 819 156

Tour Code
Tour Begins:
Tour Ends:
Tour Cost
(twin share PP*)
Single Room
15 July 2019
28 July 2019
AUD $6990
AUD $895
Fr Chris Sarkis PP
Malta Extension
AUD $1490
AUD $660
TIPPING MADE EASY: $15 per person/per day.