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St Paul Expedition

St Paul Expedition with optional extension to Malta & Rome accompanied by Fr Geoffrey Plant PP.

2–19 SEPTEMBER 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.

14 Nights / 18 Days: Thessaloniki (1 Night) / Kavala (2) / Philippi / via Beroea / Meteora (2) / via Delphi / Athens (2) / Corinth / Patmos (2) / Miletus / Kusadasi (2) / Ephesus / Istanbul (3) • Optional Malta & Rome Extension (6 Nights).
 
St Paul Pilgrimage

 
MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner
Day 1: MONDAY 2 SEP – DEPART FOR GREECE

Day 2: TUESDAY 3 SEP – ARRIVE THESSALONIKI (D)
Afternoon arrival into 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.

Day 3: WEDNESDAY 4 SEP – THESSALONIKI TO KAVALA (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 where Paul stayed during his time in Thessaloniki. Mid- afternoon we depart Thessaloniki, journeying 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, one of the great moments in the history of Christianity.

Day 4: THURSDAY 5 SEP – PHILIPPI & KAVALA (BD)
Theme: 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. 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.

Day 5: FRIDAY 6 SEP – VIA BEREA TO KALAMBAKA (BD)
Theme: The Bereans
Today we journey west by coach via Amphipolis where we view the ruins of many Christian basilicas. Continue west 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. 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. We travel south this afternoon to the small town of Kalambaka built at the foot of the majestic grey rocks of Meteora.

Day 6: SATURDAY 7 SEP – 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.

“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 8 SEP – VIA DELPHI TO ATHENS (BD)
Theme: The Delphites
Today we journey south by coach 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. Continue south to Athens.
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.

Day 8: MONDAY 9 SEP – 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. We begin our day 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”. 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 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 setting. Finally we come to Cenchreae, the ancient port from where St Paul said farewell to the believers and departed for Ephesus.

Day 9: TUESDAY 10 SEP – TRAVEL TO PATMOS (BD)
After checking out of our hotel this morning we will celebrate Mass in St Denis’ Cathedral. In the afternoon we will be transferred directly to the Athenian port of Piraeus to embark our deluxe ferry-boat transfer to the Dodecanese island of Patmos, where St John the Beloved 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.

Day 10: WEDNESDAY 11 SEP – PATMOS DAY (BD)
Theme: St John of Revelations
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.

Day 11: THURSDAY 12 SEP – PATMOS TO KUSADASI (BD)
Depart Patmos this morning by private Charter Vessel to Kusadasi, doorway to Ephesus and the Churches of Revelation. On arrival in Kusadasi we will be met and transferred south by coach to Miletus. St Paul and his companions travelled via Mytilene, Chios and Samos to Miletus, where St Paul delivered his touching farewell address to the elders of Ephesus and predicted his death. We will return to Kusadasi to check in to our centrally located hotel before dinner.

Day 12: FRIDAY 13 SEP – EPHESUS DAY (BD)
Theme: The Ephesians
We travel directly to Ephesus this morning 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, 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.

Day 13: SATURDAY 14 SEP – FLY TO ISTANBUL (BD)
Today we will be transferred to Izmir airport for our flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival we are met and transferred to our accommodation.

Day 14: SUNDAY 15 SEP – ISTANBUL (BD)
We begin our day with Mass at St Peter and Paul Church, then a special city cruise along the Bosphorus where we will sail past the Ottoman Palaces, Byzantine fortresses, Beylerbeyi Palace and Suleimans Mosque. Continue to the Topkapi Palace. Onwards then to the Grand Bazaar, with over 4000 exotic tiny shops.

Day 15: MONDAY 16 SEP – ISTANBUL (BD)
This morning we begin with a visit to the Church of St Anthony of Padua, where we will celebrate Mass. Continue to the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque and nearby Hagia Sophia (meaning ‘Holy Wisdom’). Built in 548 AD, Hagia Sophia was the greatest Church in Christendom until 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. We then visit the 6th century Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city. Free time in afternoon and tonight, we enjoy a special farewell dinner.

Day 16: TUESDAY 17 SEP – DEPART TURKEY (B)
Return to the airport for our homebound flights or onward pilgrimage extension to Malta.

Day 17: WEDNESDAY 18 SEP – IN TRANSIT

Day 18: THURSDAY 19 SEP – 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

St Paul Apostle Map
 
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.
+ 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.

cost
Tour Code: PV6319
Dates:
2 - 19 September 2019
Air & Tour (Twin Share)
AUD $7,990
Single Room Supplement
AUD $1,990
Tipping Made Easy: $10 per person / per day
Malta and Rome Extension
Tour Cost (Twin Share)
AUD $4,890
Single Room Supplement
AUD $1190
* Costs have been based on prices as at November 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
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.


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