Greece and Turkey …in the footsteps of St. Paul

January 19-26, 1998

Image result for hagia sophia

 Hagia Sophia – Church of the Holy Wisdom


Monday, January 19 – Day 1

We depart JFK on our transatlantic flight aboard a wide bodied jet. We will be served complimentary beverages, in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft.

Tuesday, January 20 – Day 2

We arrive in Athens in the morning, change planes and continue to Kavala on the site of the ancient Neapolis, where Paul landed on the way to Philippi. Dinner and overnight in our hotel. We will gather this evening for sharing about the pilgrimage.

Wednesday, January 21 – Day 3

Image result for vlatadon monastery thessaloniki

Monastery of Vlatadon ~ Thessaloniki

We depart Kavala and drive along the ancient route of St. Paul, through mountain passes and plains to Amphipolis for a short stop to view the ancient Lion statue. We then continue to ancient Philippi, where Paul established the first church in Europe and where we will celebrate Mass. This afternoon, we drive west to Thessaloniki. Highlights of our afternoon tour 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. We will continue to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Thursday, January 22 – Day 4

This morning following Mass at our hotel, we drive through the plains of Macedonia, visit the legendary home of the Greek Gods, and continue on to Veria (Beroea), where the Scriptures say the people were “more noble than in Thessaloniki.” We end in Kalambaka with dinner and overnight. After dinner we gather for scripture reflection.

Image result for meteora greece

The rising sun illuminates the Monastery of the Holy Trinity and parts of nearby village of Kalabaka below, at the Meteora rock formation in central Greece.

Friday, January 23 – Day 5

We leave Kalambaka for Meteora whose pillar-like rocks provide an amazing sight. Monasteries were built into the cliffs in the 14th century. We will visit two of them and celebrate Mass near one of them. We will proceed via the towns of Larissa and Lamia to Athens for dinner and overnight.

Saturday, January 24 – Day 6
St. Francis de Sales – ATHENS

This morning we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Athens, this most ancient cradle of democracy, and more importantly the first recipient of Christianity after the Resurrection. We will visit the legendary Acropolis and see the Parthenon, the foremost jewel of the Acropolis. At the foot of the Acropolis is the Areopagus or Mars Hill, where we will celebrate Mass. Here Paul made his famous “Men of Athens” speech revealing a considerable knowledge of the Greek philosophy and character. Driving through the city, we will pass the National Library, the Academy, University, presidential palace, the stadium, the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s arch, House of Parliament,  and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. We gather this evening for scripture reflection and discussion.

Sunday, January 25 – Day 7
Conversion of Paul – CORINTH / ATHENS

After breakfast, we drive along the coastal highway to Corinth, with a splendid view of the Aegean Sea. After crossing the canal which connects the Ionian and Aegean seas, we reach Corinth. We will visit the ancient ruins of the city, where St. Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla. Conditions permitting, we will celebrate Mass on the very site where St. Paul preached. Included are the first century shops, the Agora, Temple of Apollo and the bema seat. We will return to Athens and you will enjoy a free afternoon. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Monday, January 26 – Day 8
Return to USA

This morning, we will celebrate Mass in the Cathedral of St. Dionesius. Later this morning, we proceed to the airport for our return trip to the U.S. arriving the same day.


Monday, January 26 – Day 8


Upon arrival, we will transfer to our hotel. In the afternoon, a city tour will take us to the 17th century Blue Mosque, famous for its six minarets and magnificent interior with blue tiles. We will then visit Hagia Sopia (Church of the Holy Wisdom), the greatest work of Byzantine architecture built in the 6th century and know for its restored frescoes. Our tour continues to the Grand Bazaar, world’s largest with 4000 shops. Those of you that wish may linger longer at the Bazaar and taxi back to the hotel on your own. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Istanbul. We gather this evening for scripture reflection and discussion.

Image result for bosphorus cruise

Bosphorus Cruise

Tuesday, January 27 – Day 9

To begin our day, we will celebrate Mass at St. Antoin, a Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul. Later this morning, we cruise by regular ferry across the Bosphorus visiting both Europe and Asia. We stop en roue to take photos of the natural beauty that surrounds us, 15th century Rumeli Hisar Fortress, summer palaces and the old wooden houses. This part of our day ends at the fishing village of Sariyer close to the Black Sea where we rejoin our coach for return to Istanbul. We visit the Topkapi palace, the world famous residence of the Ottoman Sultans housing the riches of 700 years. We will visit the Treasury section with the crown jewels and the unique collection of Chinese Porcelains. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Wednesday, January 28 – Day 10

We transfer to the airport for our flight from Istanbul to Athens and onto JFK.