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Day 1 - DEPART USA - We depart the USA on our wide-bodied jet. We enjoy in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast while aloft.

Day 2 - ATHENS - We arrive in Athens and are met to begin our sightseeing of Athens with a visit to the legendary Acropolis.  We see the chief jewel of the Acropolis; the Parthenon, the Temple of Winged Victory, the Propylea and the Erechteum with its peerless Porch of Maidens.  Beneath the Acropolis is the Areopagus or Mars Hill.  This is where St. Paul made his famous "Men of Athens" speech revealing a considerable knowledge of the Greek philosophy and character. If possible, we will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. Dionysius. We enjoy our “welcome” dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 3 - ATHENS/CORINTH - This morning, we drive along the coastal highway to Corinth, with a splendid view of the Aegean Sea.  After a short stop at the Corinth Canal which connects the Aegean and Ionian Seas, we arrive in Ancient Corinth.  We visit the ruins of Corinth where St. Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla.  Included are the first century shops, the Agora, Temple of Apollo and the Bema Seat.  Conditions permitting, we celebrate Mass on the very site, where St. Paul preached.  Following a break for lunch on our own, we return to Athens and we continue our tour of the city seeing the National Library, Academy, the University, Presidential Palace, Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 4 - ATHENS/LAVRIO/MYKONOS - We are transferred from our hotel to the seaport of Lavrio, where we board our cruise ship for our three-day cruise to the Greek Islands and Turkey.  We arrive at the island of Mykonos with its whitewashed houses and winding streets.  We are free to explore this picturesque island, startling white against the multi-hued sunset. If time permits, we will enjoy Mass at Holy Rosary Church before boarding our ship. Dinner and overnight aboard our ship. 

Day 5 - EPHESUS (KUSADASI)/PATMOS - This morning our ship docks in Kusadasi, where our excursion takes us first to “Mary’s House”.  Early Christian tradition believes that before His crucifixion, Jesus entrusted the safety of the Virgin Mary to St. John the Evangelist. St. John moved Mary to Ephesus for safety. She lived here with St. John. We celebrate Mass here.  Some of the most spectacular ruins of the world are to be found in Ephesus, the early Christian of city to whom St. Paul wrote his famous epistle.  Together with our tour guide, we 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, and the Houses of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, Hadrian’s Temple, and the Great Theatre. We return to our ship for lunch where we continue on to Patmos, which was considered sacred and is often referred to as the "Jerusalem of the Aegean."  It was here that the Evangelist St. John received the inspiration for the Apocalypse.  Our excursion visits the Monastery of St. John, a huge fortress-like building dating from the 11th century.  We also visit the grotto, where tradition says that St. John wrote the Book of Revelation.  We return to our ship for dinner and overnight. 

Day 6 - CRETE/SANTORINI - This morning we arrive at Crete. We will visit 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. We visit the excavations first begun in 1878 by the Heraklion Minos Kalokairinos and later 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.  Return to our ship for lunch while sailing to Santorini.  This afternoon, we visit Santorini, the island thought by many to be the lost continent of Atlantis. Here we join a visit to Oia Village. While enroute we admire the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and neighboring islands. Built on the Caldera rim, Oia Village is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture. We explore by walking along the cobble-stone streets and the white washed houses with blue shutters which appears as a beautiful travel poster. If time permits, we willcelebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. John. Our excursion ends in Fira where our guide will show us the way to the cable car back to the ship. Dinner and overnight aboard our ship.

Day 7 - LAVRIO/METEORA/KALAMBAKA - Upon arrival in Lavrio, we disembark and proceed by motor coach through the towns of Lamia, Larissa on our way to Kalambaka. We will continue to Meteora, whose pillar-like rocks provide an amazing site. Monasteries were built into the cliffs in the 14th century. We will have the opportunity to visit two of them. Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka followed by Mass at the hotel. 

Day 8 - VERGINA/VERIA/THESSALONIKI - This morning, we drive through the plains of Thessaly and visit the legendary home of the Greek Gods including Vergina a modern town in Greece and the location of the ancient capital of the Macedonians, called Aigeai. We break for lunch on our own and then visit Veria (Beroea of the New Testament) where Paul visited on route to Athens and the Scriptures say the people were "More noble than in Thessaloniki."  St. Paul and St. Silas the Martyr were taken here after the Thessaloniki pagans attacked them. We arrive in Thessaloniki where we celebrate Mass at the local Church of the Immaculate Conception and conclude with dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 9 - THESSALONIKI/PELLA - This morning, we tour Thessaloniki, the Biblical Thessalonica, where St. Paul founded the Church in 49-50 AD. It is the largest city and capital of Macedonia.  Highlights include treasures of the ancient Byzantine and medieval eras such as the famous Byzantine St. Dimitri Church, Vlatadon Monastery, the University and Arch of Galerius. Following a stop for lunch on our own, we drive to Pella, the birthplace of Alexander. Return to Thessaloniki, where we once again celebrate Mass at the Church of The Immaculate Conception before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 10 - PHILIPPI/KAVALA - Today we drive along the ancient route of St. Paul, through mountain passes and plains on the traces of the Old Egnatia Avenue.  We continue to Ancient Philippi, where Paul established the first church in Europe. We break for lunch on our own. Weather permitting, we celebrate an outdoor Mass at Philippi at the traditional site where St. Paul baptized St. Lydia. We then continue a short drive to Kavala on the site of ancient Neapolis, where St. Paul landed on the way to Philippi.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel here.

DAY 11 - KAVALA/ISTANBUL - This morning we meet our Turkish tour manager and board our Turkish coach to make our way to Istanbul.  We cross the border into Turkey and after a break for lunch on our own, arrive in Istanbul for dinner and overnight. We have the option of Mass at the beginning of our journey or once we are settled in at out hotel in Turkey.

DAY 12 - ISTANBUL - Our full day sightseeing of Istanbul begins with Mass at the Church of St. Espirit.  Our touring includes a visit to Hippodrome Square.  Originally Greek and Roman, it was the largest racetrack in the world.  We visit the Chora Museum with its 13th and 14th century mosaics. We also visit St. Sophia Museum, originally a church converted to a mosque and now a museum.  It is a superb example of Byzantine artwork.  We then visit the fascinating underground cistern built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Luncheon is served in Topkapi Palace, followed by a visit of the Palace which houses one of the greatest treasuries anywhere in the world.  We then visit the Blue Mosque - the only mosque with 6 minarets, constructed between 1609 and 1617.  Return to our hotel for our “farewell” dinner and overnight.

DAY 13 - ISTANBUL/USA - This morning we travel to the Istanbul airport where we board our connecting flight back home, arriving later today with memories of a lifetime.

“From the sites St. Paul and his early church leaders built up,
to the Catholic roots of Constantinople,
Turkey rounds off a perfect Mediterranean pilgrimage”