|Starts||Mon 25 May 2020|
|Finishes||Tue 09 June 2020|
|Tour Cost||AUD $7,930 Twin Share *|
|Single Room||AUD $1,490 Supplement|
|Deposit||$800 non-refundable deposit|
* 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.
|AIRFARES: Economy class airfare from Sydney to Istanbul & Rome return (N.B. Airlines taxes are included on standard itinerary and subject to fluctuations).
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS: Based on standard hotel and religious 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 • Prepaid Tipping • 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) • Other meals not stated • Porterage at religious accomodation • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc • Travel insurance (Harvest will recommend a special group policy rate).
Istanbul (2 nights) • Gallipoli • Canakkale (1 night) • Alexander Troas • Assos (1 night) • Pergamum • Kusadasi (2 nights) • Ephesus • Malta (4 nights) • Rome (3 nights). Optional post-tour extension to Oberammergau Passion Play (2 nights).
Accompanied by Fr Peter de Souza, Hornsby Cathedral Parish. 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.
Today we arrive into Istanbul – a glorious city uniquely located on two continents. On arrival we will proceed to our hotel for check-in and some free time before dinner.
Istanbul overnight (D)
We begin our day at the Church of St Anthony of Padua. Following Mass visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque and the incredible Hagia Sophia (meaning ‘Holy Wisdom’). Built in 548 AD, Hagia Sophia was the greatest Church in Christendom until Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire.
Continue to visit the 6th-century Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city. Explore the enormous Topkapi Palace then time permitting we visit the Grand Bazaar, with over 4,000 exotic tiny shops.
Istanbul overnight (BD)
Following breakfast, we journey south to Gallipoli, where 7,594 Australian and 2,431 New Zealand soldiers lost their lives in battle during World War I. Here we visit Anzac Cove where we will take some time to reflect. We then drive past Courtney’s and Steele’s Post and Quinn’s post. Visit the Nek, Chunuk Bair, the New Zealand Monuments and Lone Pine Cemetery where we will celebrate a touching Eucharist, coming in faith to pay tribute and pray for the souls of the heroes of those tragic months of 1915. Weather permitting, we board a private charter vessel for an inspiring journey along the Gallipoli Peninsula See the Anzac Cove coastline emerge before our very eyes, giving a rare perspective of the troops landing on 25th April 1915. We then travel by ferry across the Dardanelles to Canakkale.
Canakkale overnight (BD)
Departing Canakkale we come to Homer’s Troy, famous for its legendary wooden horse. overnightWe will explore this extraordinary site before proceeding to Alexander Troas where the St Paul spent seven days as he returned from Macedonia. Troas is also mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:13 as the place where St Paul left his cloak. St Paul had so much to say to his friends that they stayed up all night preaching here, although one listener (Eutychus) survived despite falling three stories from a window. The incident was only a brief interruption however in St Paul’s preaching that continued to daybreak!
Following Mass at Troas we journey south to Assos. Here St Paul had arranged to rejoin his companions before sailing onto Miletus. Explore the remains of the Council Chamber and the 6th century BC Temple of Athena. Also see the impressive Acropolis and experience the brilliant acoustics of the Amphitheatre.
Assos overnight (BD)
This morning we journey south to Pergamum, one of the most impressive classical sites in Turkey and another of the Churches of Revelation. On arrival we will view the region’s longest building; the Red Basilica dedicated to St John the Apostle. Our time here will also incorporate the Upper Acropolis, including the Hellenistic Theatre, Trajaneum, Atheneum, Sanctuary of Athena and Royal Palaces as well as the Lower Acropolis, including the Temple of Demeter, Sanctuary of Hera, House of Attalus, Lower Agora and Gate of Eumenes.
Following our visit, we journey south to Kusadasi, doorway to Ephesus and the Churches of Revelation.
Kusadasi overnight (BD)
This morning we travel directly to Ephesus, the most famous of the Seven Churches of Revelation where St Paul spent more than two years during his third missionary journey. It was to the Christian community of Ephesus that St Paul wrote his greatest and most challenging letter and succeeded in converting many away from worship of the god Artemis.
Our visit will include the ruins where St Paul lived and preached, the Ephesus Museum and 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. We pass by 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.
We later ascend the hill to the House of the Virgin Mary for Mass where it is said Mary spent the later years of her life. 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 (BD)
Early this morning we travel to Izmir, home to a lively Christian community under the pastoral care of its bishop – the saintly Polycarp. After Mass, we continue to the airport for our flight connections to Malta. We will be met and transferred to our hotel.
Malta overnight (BD)
Today we proceed to St Paul’s Bay where a short boat trip takes us to the island where the Apostle was shipwrecked. After some time here, we return to the mainland where we view St Paul’s Bonfire Church.
En route to Mdina we pass the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Mosta where in 1942 during World War II a 500kg bomb penetrated the dome and hit the inside of the church. It failed to explode and no-one was killed by either the bomb or falling debris.
Proceed to Mdina, and visit St Paul’s Cathedral which will be another highlight of our day’s trip. We then walk to Rabat and enter St Paul’s Grotto where St Paul lived during his short stay in Malta. We celebrate Mass here and visit the catacombs dedicated to him.
Malta overnight (BD)
We begin our day travelling by ferry to the sister island of Gozo. Here we visit the Church of St John La Rotunda (in Xewkija village), and walk up the steps to the Gozo Citadel which is a medieval city and the capital of Gozo. From its ramparts one can glimpse a breathtaking view of the entire island. Enjoy some free time for lunch, to wander the quaint town or to visit the Cathedral with its ‘flat dome’ ceiling and the Church Museum.
After lunch we will visit St George’s Basilica, then on to the miraculous Ta’Pinu Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption for Mass. Many miracles have been attributed to people associated with the shrine and even to its construction.
Malta overnight (BD)
Today we leave early for a visit to Valletta. After a drive around the city to admire its bastions, we will walk inside it and observe its baroque style architecture, among others, the Auberges built by the Knights and St John. We enter St John’s Co-Cathedral, and view the impressive and miraculous Crucifix at Ta’Giezu Church – the head is reputed to have been made by angels. Continue to the St Paul Shipwreck Church where we will view two relics of St Paul. We also view the ancient Icon of Our Lady of Damascus.
Malta overnight (BD)
This morning we depart Malta and fly to Rome, the Eternal City. Upon arrival in Rome we will be met by our representative and journey on to the ancient Catacombs for a memorable guided tour. Marvel at these underground burial tunnels for Christians and Hebrews. Transfer to our accommodation for check in.
Rome overnight (BD)
After a private Mass at St Peter’s Basilica we come to the nearby Vatican Museums for an unforgettable guided tour. Wander the spectacular chambers leading to the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo’s masterpieces. Our guided tour will feature Michelangelo’s stunning Pieta, the tomb of Bl. Pope John Paul II, the great Confessional and the Crypt containing the tombs of several Popes.
Following some free time for lunch we visit the impressive St. Mary Major Basilica. Onwards to the Basilica of St. John in Lateran (First Papal residence) and the adjacent Holy Stairs brought from Jerusalem to Rome in 326AD by St Helena. Finally, we visit the Basilica of Santa Croce in Jerusalem with its extraordinary collection of relics including a full-size replica of the Shroud of Turin.
Set out this evening after dinner to explore the Aventine Hill area where the first Christian meetings were held in honour of St Paul and where it is said that he was held under house arrest. Continue by coach past illuminated landmarks and famous monuments and culminate our tour with a visit to the Trevi Fountain before strolling to the Piazza Navona to indulge in a gelati or coffee.
Rome overnight (BD)
Today we travel out to the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls as a special tribute to the Church’s greatest evangelist. Here we will celebrate our group Mass.
Continue to Tre Fontane Abbey which is said to have been built on the site of St Paul’s martyrdom. After the saint’s beheading it is said that three fountains sprung up from the places where his head hit the ground.
We then enter the most visited attraction in Rome – the Colosseum. In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV declared the Colosseum a sacred site, as it was a place where early Christians had been martyred. View the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus en route.
Rome overnight (BD)
Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
“The tour was well organised, the accommodations was excellent. The tour guides were knowledgeable and were an enormous source of information. Border transfers were easily arranged. It was great to travel in an unknown area without any worries.”
In a five-hour-performance, more than 2000 participants bring the story of Jesus of Nazareth to the impressive open-air stage of the Passion Play Theatre. In total, Oberammergau expects 450,000 visitors at 103 playing dates. The Passion Play is uniquely connected to the culture of Bavaria and its well-preserved tradition.
We farewell Rome today as we are transferred back to Rome Airport for our flight to Munich. Upon arrival we are met and transferred to our accommodation near 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 re-enacted the Passion of Jesus, and people of every religious denomination have been drawn to this cherished spectacle.
Oberammergau overnight (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.
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