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INDICATIVE PRICING
Tour Code PV4820
Starts Thu 28 May 2020
Finishes Thu 11 June 2020
Air & Tour $7290 Twin Share
Single Room $1490 Supplement
Prepaid Tips $240 per person
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.
OBERAMMERGAU OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR
Tour Cost $2190 Twin Share
Dates 25-29 May 2019
Single Room $590 Supplement
Prepaid Tips $60 per person
Deposit $400 non-refundable deposit
NB: Includes flight from Greece to Munich.
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

St Paul Pilgrimage with Oberammergau Passion Play Option

A Pauline Pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey

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.

Accompanied by Bishop Peter Ingham

St Paul Pilgrimage Itinerary

15 Days / 11 Nights: Thessaloniki (2 nights) • Kavala (2) • Kalambaka (2) • Athens (1) • via Delphi • St Paul Cruise (3) incl. Ephesus • Patmos • Crete • Athens (1)

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
Time out – Planned site for extended opportunity for prayer & reflection

DAY 1THURSDAY 28TH MAY DEPART FOR GREECE

DAY 2FRIDAY 29TH MAY - ARRIVE THESSALONIKI

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.

We arrive 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.

Free afternoon – meet pilgrims from Australia

Thessaloniki overnight (BD)

Day 3SATURDAY 30TH MAY - THESSALONIKI

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 (BD)

Day 4SUNDAY 31 MAY - THESSALONIKI TO KAVALA

We journey 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 (BD)

Day 5MONDAY 01 JUNE - PHILIPPI & KAVALA

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.

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.

Kavala overnight (BD)

Day 6TUESDAY 2ND JUNE - KAVALA TO METEORA VIA BEREA

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 south 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.

Kalambaka overnight (BD)

Day 7WEDNESDAY 3RD JUNE - METEORA EXPLORATION

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 (BD)

Day 8THURSDAY 4TH JUNE - ATHENS

From Kalambaka we journey south 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 south this afternoon to Athens.

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.

Athens overnight (BD)

Day 9FRIDAY 5TH JUNE - EMBARK CRUISE SHIP

Theme: 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 (BLD)

Day 10SATURDAY 6TH JUNE - CRUISE SHIP - EPHESUS & PATMOS EXCURSIONS

The Ephesians – This first Christian community was established by St John and developed by St Paul through his fervent preaching over a 3½ 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: 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 isla 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 (BLD)

Day 11SUNDAY 7th JUNE - CRUISE SHIP

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 Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11).

Shore Excursion: Minoan Palace of Knossos – 1st European Civilization

This morning we arrive in Heraklion, Crete.

The ancient city of Knossos, with constant habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D., is beyond doubt the land that “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans.

The first excavations were begun in 1878 by the Heraklian Minos Kalokairinos. A bit later (1900-1913 & 1922-1930) the excavations by the British Sir Arthur Evans were to complete the scientific research, bringing to light the Minoan palace in its entirety, which was, according to tradition, the residence of the wise King Minos.

The palace of Knossos spreads around the large Central Court. You will reach the awe inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies”, the imposing Grand Staircase, the Queen’s Megaron in the east.

Walking through the apartments of the Knossos palace and observing the finds even as passers- by, you will feel part of this cultural heritage.

We will stop in Heraklion on the way back to the ship.

Heraklion was founded in 824 and is an important homeland of many contributors to Literature and Art, some examples of which are the Nobel winning poet Odysseas Elytis, the Renaissance painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) and the writer Nikos Kazantzakis.

Heraklion is also endowed with some wonderful edifices: the “Koules” fortress, the award winning Venetian structure of the Loggia, the Morosini Fountain, the Basilica of Saint Mark, and the Church of Agios Titos. Starting the walk from Liberty square of Heraklion guests will pass by the shopping streets of Dedalou and 25th August and see the aforementioned sights along the way.

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 (BLD)

Day 12MONDAY 8TH JUNE - CORINTH

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.

Today we travel to Ancient Corinth 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 13TUESDAY 9TH JUNE - DEPART GREECE

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 continue 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.

After the end of the tour we will be transferred ns airport for our home bound flight connections. (B)

Day 14WEDNESDAY 10TH JUNE - TRANSIT

Day 15THURSDAY 11TH JUNE - ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

Image Gallery

Pre-Tour Option: Oberammergau Passion Play

2 Nights / 3 Days
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.

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

DAY 1MONDAY 25TH MAY 2020 - DEPART AUSTRALIA

DAY 2TUESDAY 26TH MAY - ARRIVE MUNICH

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 (BD)

DAY 3WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY - MUNICH TO OBERAMMERGAU

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 re- enacted the passion of Jesus, and people of every religious denomination have been drawn to this cherished spectacle.

Oberammergau Region overnight (BD)

Day 4THURSDAY 28TH MAY - OBERAMMERGAU – THE PASSION PLAY

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 (BD)

Day 5FRIDAY 29TH MAY - OBERAMMERGAU TO THESSALONIKI

Transfer to Munich for our flight connections to Thessaloniki.

  • “This trip has intensified our spiritual connection with Mary and the time provided gave us opportunities for personal reflection.”

    Jocelyn & Jinny Lee
    Saints of France