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                                  Journey of St. Paul

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

Day 2 - ATHENS/THESSALONIKI - We arrive in Athens this morning and transfer to our short flight to Thessaloniki.  On arrival we are met and enjoy a short sightseeing tour of this famous port city.  We drive up to the old town to see the place where St. Paul preached the gospel to the Thessalonians.  We then visit the St. Demetrius Church, the white tower, the Arch of Galerius. If time permits, we enjoy Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church nearby. We enjoy our “welcome” dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 3 - THESSALONIKI/PHILIPPI - Our full day excursion takes us 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 St. Paul established the first church in Europe. 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. We return to Thessaloniki in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 4 - THESSALONIKI/VERIA/VERGINA/KALAMBAKA - This morning following Mass at a local parish Church of the Immaculate Conception, we depart Thessaloniki and drive through the plains of Thessaly, visit the legendary home of the Greek Gods and continue to Veria (Berea of the New Testament) where St. 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 then visit Vergina, a modern town in Greece and the location of the ancient capital of the Macedonians, called Aigeai.  We end our day in Kalambaka with dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 5 - KALAMBAKA/ATHENS - This morning we celebrate Mass at the hotel and then continue to nearby Meteora, whose pillar-like rocks provide an amazing site. The Meteora (meaning “suspended rocks,” “suspended in the air,” “in the heavens above”) is one of the largest and one of the most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox Monasteries in Greece.  The six Monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly.  We will visit two of them. Afterwards we precede south to the highway to catch a glimpse of Mt. Olympus as we proceed through the towns of Lamia, Larissa. We continue to our hotel for dinner and overnight.  

Day 6 - 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.  That afternoon, 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 may enjoy Mass at Holy Rosary Church while on Mykonos. Dinner and overnight aboard our ship. 

Day 7 - 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. While here we celebrate Mass.  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 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, and the Houses of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, Hadrian’s Temple, and the Great Theatre. We return to our ship for lunch and continue our voyage 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 8 - 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. It 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 on 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. En-route 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 celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. 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 9 - LAVRIO/CORINTH/ATHENS - This morning, we disembark and 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. We return to Athens for 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.  After checking in to our hotel, we have the opportunity to explore the culinary delights of Athens tonight, as our “farewell” dinner will be on our own.  Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10 - ATHENS/USA - This morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight home, filled with memories of a lifetime.

“Following in the Footsteps of one of the greatest evangelists in the history of the
Catholic church is always a popular pilgrimage”