Pathways of St Paul – Harvest Journeys Catholic Pilgrimages

Pathways of St Paul

Travel with St Paul and his companions as they courageously preached the word of God and kept the early Christian communities vibrant and alive in faith. Be prepared to capture afresh the fervour and spirit of the Church’s greatest evangelist.

Highlights

Athens (2 nights) • Acropolis • Ancient Corinth • Kalambaka (2) • Meteora Monasteries • Berea • Thessaloniki • Kavala (2) • Ancient Philippi • Island of Patmos (2) • Kusadasi (1) • Ephesus • Pamukkale (2) • Laodicea • Colossae

Unesco World Heritage
  • 12 Days / 11 Nights
  • Athens to Pamukkale
  • Daily Mass

itinerary

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner

DAY 1ARRIVE ATHENS

Athens today is the thriving capital of Greece, but, more importantly, we have entered 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.

Athens overnight (D)

DAY 2ATHENS & ANCIENT CORINTH

Theme: The Athenians & The Corinthians

The Athenians
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). He quickly intrigued 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!

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). View the Ancient Agora and 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.

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.

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. 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 3ATHENS TO METEORA (KALAMBAKA)

This morning we begin our day at the fascinating Acropolis Museum, built to house every artefact found on the rock of the acropolis and the surrounding slopes. We continue north today to Meteora and to the small town of Kalambaka built at the foot of the majestic grey rocks.

Kalambaka overnight (BD)

Day 4METEORA EXPLORATION

Theme: 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. They also were a refuge for the persecuted, providers for the 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 Monastic community of Meteora. We will visit some of these living monasteries and view the extraordinary collection of priceless religious frescoes and other treasures that will make this a remarkable visit.
Enjoy some free time this afternoon back at our hotel.

Kalambaka overnight (BD)

Day 5METEORA (KALAMBAKA) TO KAVALA

Theme: The Bereans & The Thessalonians

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 into the crypt where we find the remains of some ancient Roman baths and streets.

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 in Europe.

Kavala overnight (BD)

Day 6PHILIPPI EXPLORATION

Theme: The Philippians

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. Here he addressed his growing concerns of the influence of false teachers among the faithful.

Arise and journey along the ancient route of the Apostle Paul to nearby 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 on the River Zygaktis and renew our Baptismal vows. Visit the marketplace (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.

Remainder of the afternoon at leisure to rest back at our hotel.

Kavala overnight (BD)

Day 7KAVALA TO PATMOS

Today we are 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 boat transfer to the Dodecanese island of Patmos, where St John the Beloved wrote the Book of Revelation.

Island of Patmos overnight (BD)

Day 8PATMOS DAY

Theme: The Patmosians

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.

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 embroided with silver or gold threads and bejewelled 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.

Island of Patmos overnight (BD)

Day 9PATMOS TO KUSADASI

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 (BD)

Day 10EPHESUS & LAODICEA

Theme: The Ephesians & Laodiceans

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.

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.

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.

We continue east this afternoon towards Pamukkale and on to Laodicea another of the Seven Churches of Revelation, which was an early Christian community with some serious spiritual concerns (their faith neither being hot nor cold) – see Revelations 3:14-21.

The Laodiceans
Jesus’ strong rebuke of the church of Laodicea revolves around the idolatry of wealth, which was rooted in a life of luxury (Rev 3:17). Meanwhile, Jesus reveals the desolate spiritual state of the church here, where the proud attitude of its members claimed, ‘I need nothing’.

When the Laodiceans turned their hearts towards wealth, they portrayed a distorted image of Christ to the world. Jesus commanded them not to be lukewarm but zealous, while yielding again to his lordship, in order that they avoid losing their God-given sphere of influence.

Pamukkale overnight (BD)

Day 11COLLOSAE & THE BLUE POOLS OF PAMUKKALE

Theme: The Colossians

Our final spectacular day will include visit to the ancient amphitheatre of Heirapolis, a world heritage site where there was a mixture of pagan, Roman, Jewish and early Christian influences.

Proceed on to Colossae, where Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians was addressed.

The Colossians
St Paul had spent two years planting a church in Ephesus, which soon fanned out into the neighbouring province to Colossae through his follower Epaphras (Col 1:7).
From prison, Paul had heard that the Colossian Christians, who had at one time been strong in their faith, were now vulnerable to the temptation of deception. Despite this, Paul cared deeply that this community understood the context of their lives within God’s story and what that looks like in their workplace relationships.

We then take time this afternoon to visit the miraculous white water hot pools of Pamukkale, famous the world over for both their incredible beauty and for their healing properties.

Pamukkale overnight (BD)

Day 12DEPART TURKEY

This morning we will take the final leg of our pilgrimage to Denizli airport to join our homebound flights via Istanbul. (B)

All tour inclusions and order of daily arrangements remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the tour leadership.

DATES & PRICES

Dates
Chaplain
Tour Cost
18 – 29 September 2024
Most Rev Mark Edwards
AUD $6690*
More info
BOOK NOW
SP2402
18 – 29 September 2024
More info

Dates

18 – 29 September 2024

Chaplain

Most Rev Mark Edwards

Tour Cost

AUD $6690*

Tour Code

SP2402

Single Room

AUD $1990 Supplement

Start

Athens

Finish

Istanbul

Prepaid Tipping

$216 per person

16 – 27 October 2024
TBA
AUD $6690*
More info
BOOK NOW
SP2403
16 – 27 October 2024
More info

Dates

16 – 27 October 2024

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $6690*

Tour Code

SP2403

Single Room

AUD $1990 Supplement

Start

Athens

Finish

Istanbul

Prepaid Tipping

$216 per person

2 – 13 April 2025
TBA
AUD $TBA*
More info
BOOK NOW
SP2501
2 – 13 April 2025
More info

Dates

2 – 13 April 2025

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $TBA*

Tour Code

SP2501

Single Room

AUD $TBA Supplement

Start

Athens

Finish

Istanbul

Prepaid Tipping

$TBA per person

28 May – 8 June 2025
TBA
AUD $TBA*
More info
BOOK NOW
SP2502
28 May – 8 June 2025
More info

Dates

28 May – 8 June 2025

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $TBA*

Tour Code

SP2502

Single Room

AUD $TBA Supplement

Start

Athens

Finish

Istanbul

Prepaid Tipping

$TBA per person

3 – 14 September 2025
TBA
AUD $TBA*
More info
BOOK NOW
SP2503
3 – 14 September 2025
More info

Dates

3 – 14 September 2025

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $TBA*

Tour Code

SP2503

Single Room

AUD $TBA Supplement

Start

Athens

Finish

Istanbul

Prepaid Tipping

$TBA per person

15 – 26 October 2025
TBA
AUD $TBA*
More info
BOOK NOW
SP2504
15 – 26 October 2025
More info

Dates

15 – 26 October 2025

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $TBA*

Tour Code

SP2504

Single Room

AUD $TBA Supplement

Start

Athens

Finish

Istanbul

Prepaid Tipping

$TBA per person

*Per person, twin share

Costs are based on prices as at December 2023 and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions for more details.

Included
  • ACCOMODATION & MEALS: Based on Superior Standard / 4-Star accommodation • Meals as specified in Itinerary
  • TOURING & TRANSPORTATION: Internal European airfares Thessaloniki to Athens and Pamukkale to Istanbul • Deluxe Air Conditioned Coach • Professional Pilgrimage Escort / Local Guides • Sightseeing and Entrance Fees
  • OTHER: Fully Escorted by Pilgrimage Chaplain • Porterage at hotels • Harvest Backpack, Pilgrims Journal and Travel Wallet
Not Included
  • International airfares
  • Other meals not listed
  • Passport and Visa Costs (if applicable)
  • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc.
  • Travel insurance
  • Prepaid Tipping

Chaplain

SEPTEMBER 2024

Most Rev Mark Edwards OMI PhD DD

Mark Stuart Edwards OMI, born in Indonesia, to an Australian father and Dutch mother, moved to Australia in 1962. He attended Mazenod College and later joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. After his priestly ordination in 1986, he served in teaching roles and pursued a PhD in Philosophy. In 2014, he became an Auxiliary Bishop in Melbourne, actively participating in Catholic education and other commissions. In 2020, he was appointed as the 6th Bishop of Wagga Wagga, continuing his involvement in Catholic education and the Plenary Council.

  • “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 & the Early Church
  • “Even now, when I recall the particular places that I have entered, I find it too overwhelming to contemplate it for long.”

    Nick Moloney
    St Paul & the Early Church

St Paul's Missionary Journeys

From Athens to Corinth, passing through Antioch and Ephesus, here is a map of St Paul’s missionary journeys. St. Paul spent time in most of the cities that made up the known world during his time.

St Paul Missionary Journey Map

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