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St Paul Pilgrimage with Oberammergau Passion Play

Accompanied by Bishop Peter Ingham.

The Acts of the Apostles will come alive as we go out with St Paul and his companions to rediscover the faith and struggles of the early Christian communities. Be prepared to capture afresh the fervour and spirit of the Church’s greatest evangelist. Pilgrims will then have the once-in-a-decade opportunity to attend the world renowned Passion Play in the heart of Bavaria.

26 MAY – 09 JUNE 2020. 11 Nights / 15 Days: Athens (2 Nights) • Ancient Corinth • St Paul Cruise (3) incl. Ephesus • Patmos • Crete • Delphi • Meteora (2) • Beroea • Kavala (2) • Philippi • Thessaloniki (2) • Optional 3 Night Oberammergau Passion Play Encounter.
 
St Paul Pilgrimage

 
MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner
Day 1: TUESDAY 26TH MAY – DEPART AUSTRALIA

Day 2: WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY - ARRIVE ATHENS (D)
The Athenians - In 49AD, while waiting in the city for his travelling companions, Paul’s spirit is stirred by the worship of pagan gods. His preaching is soon heard by the philosophers, many of whom believed that the purpose of life was to eat, drink and be merry. Paul uses an altar he sees dedicated to an ‘unknown god’ as a springboard to teach the Athenians about the Real God who can be known! 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. Welcome to Athens. Join with fellow pilgrims this evening for a Welcome Dinner. Athens overnight.

Day 3: THURSDAY 28TH MAY - ATHENS & CORINTH (BD)
The Corinthians - At the time of Paul, Corinth was a great cosmopolitan Greek city thriving in commerce, a proud culture and a resulting widespread immorality. Its ‘sin city’ reputation saw it given over to rampant prostitution, jealousy and deep divisions. Even within the city confines was a Pagan temple dedicated to the goddess of Lust (Venus). Paul responds with an effective severity that insults the opposition while offering deep insights into how the good news can speak order into the chaos. This approach eventually brings him joy in witnessing the results of true repentance and reconciliation within the Corinthian community. 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.

Day 4: FRIDAY 29TH MAY - EMBARK CRUISE SHIP (BLD)
The Mykonians - Following breakfast we will be transferred to the port to board our 3 night St Paul cruise! We sail this morning from Athens to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. On arrival we have the option to disembark and explore at our own pace the charming walkways through a maze of white-washed buildings or join an optional shore excursion (at own expense) before returning to the ship for dinner and evening activities. Overnight onboard cruise ship.

Day 5: SATURDAY 30TH MAY - CRUISE SHIP – EPHESUS & PATMOS EXCURSIONS (BLD)
The Ephesians - This first Christian community was established by St John and developed by St Paul through his fervent preaching over a 3 ½ year stay, during which he wrote his letter to the Ephesians. Although Ephesus was the most famous of the 7 churches of Revelation, Paul had to contend with its pagan stronghold Temple dedicated to the goddess of Fertility (Diana / Artemis) – now one of the seven wonders of the Ancient world – among other enchant? in magicians and soothsayers. Paul’s preaching throughout the city left such an impact that Ephesus soon became the third most important city of Christianity after Jerusalem and Antioch. The Patmosians - Successfully settled by the Dorians from 500BC and later the Ionians up until the 2nd century, the volcanic island of Patmos became a penal colony under Roman rule for political and religious troublemakers. In 95AD St John the Theologian was sent into exile here where he lived in a cave below the hilltop temple of Apollo dedicated to the pagan goddess Diana. During his time on what is now called the ‘Holy Island of Patmos’, St John wrote the book of Revelations and composed the Fourth Gospel as a very old man. This morning we arrive into the Turkish port city of Kusadasi, doorway to Ephesus. Shore Excursion: House of the Virgin Mary & Ancient Ephesus Before his crucifixion, Jesus entrusted the safety of the Virgin Mary to St. John the Evangelist. St. John moved Mary to Ephesus for safety. In 1957 the Vatican recognized the “House of the Virgin Mary” as the place where the Virgin spent the last years of her life and since then it is an important pilgrimage site for both Christians and Muslims. Next stop the city of Ancient Ephesus, the Ionian colony, which is one of the largest open-air archaeological museums in the world. Together with our tour guide, we will pass the Magnesian Gate. Traces of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian period are scattered everywhere: the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main Street of the Kouretes, the Thermal Baths of Scholastica, Trajan’s Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Houses of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, Hadrian’s Temple, and the Great Theatre. The excursion is completed at the Covered Bazaar of Kusadasi with some free time for shopping and… bargaining! We reboard our ship in the afternoon and continue on to the Dodecanese island of Patmos, where St John wrote the Book of Revelation. 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. Shore Excursion: Patmos The picturesque alleyways wind upwards, towards the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist, founded in 1088 by St. Christodoulos. The visit will open the doors of the Monastery’s yard, the place where the monks take their meals and the old bakery. Of exquisite beauty is the tour of the Byzantine Church of St. John, which is adorned with a wood-carved icon screen, important frescoes from several periods, with both mosaic and other icons. Next stop, the small museum which hosts religious treasures of inestimable value, like manuscripts, medieval textiles, sacerdotal vestments and others. Walking down the stairs, the religious encounter that we will experience will enlighten the soul. Behind the chapel of St. Anne lies the entrance to the Grotto of the Apocalypse. You will see the cross engraved by St. John the Evangelist, according to tradition, the triple fissure in the wall of the cave, from where St. John heard God dictating to him the Apocalypse. And also the spot where he lay down to sleep. We return to our cruise ship for dinner and overnight. Overnight onboard cruise ship.

Day 6: SUNDAY 31ST MAY - CRUISE SHIP (BLD)
The Cretans - Being surrounded by the sea, the Cretans were excellent sailors and also famous for their archery. Their reputation however was less than ideal having been described by one of their own prophets as “perpetual liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). St Paul visited Crete following his first imprisonment in early 63AD. He left Titus on the island to assist maturing the Church, some of whose members were the first to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). This morning we arrive in Heraklion, Crete. There is the option to disembark for some free time and perhaps visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, home to king Minos and his legendary beast the Minotaur. In the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion are unbelievable works of art (pieces of sculpture and pottery, jewellery, arms, frescoes) that have been found in a number of Minoan sites all over Crete. Alternatively join an optional shore excursion (at own expense). In the afternoon, we cruise to the isle of Santorini, often referred to as the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. We have the option to disembark and admire the exquisite whitewashed villages. Option to join a shore excursion (at own expense). Overnight onboard cruise ship.

Day 7: MONDAY 1ST JUNE - VIA DELPHI TO METEORA (BD)
The Delphites - Citizens in Delphi honoured the gods Zeus, Demeter and of course Apollo who claimed Delphi as his sanctuary. They also had the biggest celebration dedicated to Zeus in all of Greece among many pagan temples and shrines. The power and influence of Delphi eventually collapsed under Christianity and in 362CE the gods would no longer speak there. An edict by Theodosius the Great in 393 outlawed the practise of ancient religion and the infamous Panhellenic Games. By the 5th century AD, a Christian community resided here, erecting their churches and replacing the ancient marble temples with embossed Christian crosses. After disembarking back at Piraeus port this morning, we board our coach and journey north to the remarkable city of Delphi where we are rewarded with the view of this ancient site unsurpassed with natural beauty. We will be taken on a guided tour including the Sanctuary of Apollo and the Museum housing important relics excavated here. 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 8: TUESDAY 2ND JUNE - METEORA EXPLORATION (BD)
The Monastics - The foundation of the stunning Meteora monasteries began around the 11th century inspired by the monks’ love of God and quest for holiness through monasticism and asceticism. The entire life of a monk consists in fully opening to the heart of God and striving for sanctification whether working, studying or in the stillness of prayer. Through the centuries the monastics became watchful custodians of the faith tradition forming schools for the Greek children under Turkish Rule, a refuge for the persecuted, providers for freedom fighters and teachers of the way of holiness. 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 9: WEDNESDAY 3RD JUNE - VIA BEREA TO KAVALA (BD)
The Bereans - The Apostle Paul came to evangelise Berea at least three times during his ministry. The faithful here possessed a teachable spirit towards the Bible and receiving the word with all readiness of mind and weighing up arguments against holy scripture on a daily basis. This was the surest way to come to a strong conviction of the Gospels’ divine origin. The promise that “they who seek shall find” was fulfilled by the Bereans and Paul’s visits resulted in the conversion of many. Today we journey north by coach to Berea (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.

Day 10: THURSDAY 4TH JUNE - PHILIPPI & KAVALA (BD)
The Philippians - The fellowship in Philippi was the first European church founded by St Paul. Although composed primarily of those who were poor, the church caringly sent supplies to Paul being regularly concerned to give to the ministry like no other community. Here too a woman named Lydia was deeply moved by St Paul’s preaching and was soon baptised along with her entire household. Paul’s letter to believers living in Philippi was written between 61 and 63AD while in prison and addressed his growing concerns of the influence of false teachers among the faithful. 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 return to Kavala to enjoy some free time before dinner. Kavala overnight.

Day 11: FRIDAY 5TH JUNE - KAVALA TO THESSALONIKI (BD)
The Thessalonians - Thessaloniki was the capital city of the Roman province of Macedonia. Paul established a church here of some importance and performed manual work in order to not be a burden on the local folk. He began his usual strategy of preaching to the Jews but it was the enthusiastic response of the Gentiles which provoked jealousy among the Jews who formed a riot that forced Paul to flee to nearby Beroea. Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians from Corinth in 51AD which is said to be the earliest of any New Testament writing. Arise 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. Continue on to 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. Our visit 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. Thessaloniki overnight.

Day 12: SATURDAY 6TH JUNE – THESSALONIKI – FREE DAY

Day 13: SUNDAY 7TH JUNE - DEPART GREECE (B)
Today we will be transferred to the airport for our homebound flight connections OR optional Oberammergau Passion Play package – see below.

Day 14: MONDAY 8TH JUNE – IN TRANSIT

Day 15: TUESDAY 9TH JUNE – ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

St Paul Pilgrimage

OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY EXTENSION - 3 NIGHTS


Day 13: SUNDAY 7TH JUNE – FLY TO GERMANY (BD)
Today we will be transferred to the airport for our flight connections to Germany. On arrival at Munich airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure. Munich overnight.

Day 14: MONDAY 8TH JUNE - MUNICH TO OBERAMMERGAU (BD)
Today we travel to the village of Oberammergau, home to the world-renowned Passion Play. Every ten years affords pilgrims the great privilege of witnessing the world-renowned Passion Play of Oberammergau. For over 300 years this picturesque village in the Bavarian Alps has reenacted the passion of Jesus, and people of every religious denomination have been drawn to this cherished spectacle. Oberammergau Region overnight.

Day 15: TUESDAY 9TH JUNE - OBERAMMERGAU – THE PASSION PLAY (BD)
The history of the Oberammergau Passion Play begins in 1633. During the Thirty Years’ War, after much suffering and also many deaths caused by the plague, the surviving population of Oberammergau vowed that they would perform the “play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ” every ten years if they were spared from extinction. At Whitsun in 1634 they kept their promise for the first time. As early as the middle of the 18th Century spectators came to Oberammergau from all parts of Germany, attracted by the great power and mystique of the play. In 2020 the village will perform the play for the 42nd time, maintaining the continuity of this unique world-famous event. Over 2000 participants bring the story of Jesus of Nazareth to the ears and eyes of the audience in a five-hour presentation on the imposing open-air stage. Almost half of the inhabitants of Oberammergau enact with great devotion the story of Jesus, whose message gives billions of people hope and strength. The play covers the period of Jesus entering Jerusalem and continues up to his death on the Cross and his resurrection. Today is the highlight of our pilgrimage when we attend the Passion Play. Oberammergau Region overnight.

Day 16: WEDNESDAY 10TH JUNE - DEPART GERMANY (B)
Today we farewell Germany as we return to Munich airport for our home bound flight connections.

Day 17: THURSDAY 11TH JUNE – IN TRANSIT

Day 18: FRIDAY 12TH JUNE – ARRIVE AUSTRALIA
 
cost
Tour Code: PV4820
Dates:
26 May – 09 June 2020
Air & Tour
AUD $7290 (Twin Share)
Single Room Supplement
AUD $1490
Tipping Made Easy: $240
Oberammergau Extension
Air & Tour (Twin Share)
AUD $2190
Single Room Supplement
AUD $590
Tipping Made Easy: $60
Includes flight from Greece to Munich
* Costs have been based on prices as at Nov 2018 and must remain subject to possible change in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases and minimum group size (30) contingencies.

Inclusions
AIRFARES: Economy class airfare from Sydney to Thessaloniki & Istanbul return (N.B. Airlines taxes are included on standard itinerary and subject to fluctuations).

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS: Based on Superior Standard accommodation throughout with breakfast & dinner daily.

MISCELLANEOUS INCLUSIONS: Deluxe Air-Conditioned Motor coach with driver • Full Time local tour guides/Tour Director • Sightseeing and entrance fees throughout itinerary • Porterage of 1 piece of luggage per person at hotels • Harvest Backpack, Pilgrims Journal and Tour Wallet.

NOT INCLUDED: Passport • Visas (Turkey – processed online directly by individuals) • Prepaid Tipping • Other meals not stated • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc. • Travel insurance (Harvest will recommend a special group policy rate).

Insurance
CANCEL FOR ANY REASON COVER
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