Day 1: Monday 13th February UK – Greece
Depart London Heathrow on the Aegean flight A3601 departing at 12;15 and arriving in Athens at 17:50 – where you take a domestic flight to Thessalonica OA126 departing at 19:00 and arriving at 19:50. Meet with our guide and enjoy a short orientation tour on the way to your hotel and transfer to the hotel – dinner and overnight stay Hotel Capsis. www.capsishotels.gr
Day 2: Tuesday 14th February Thessalonica – Kavala
Drive east to the town of Kavala and Philippi. We cross the fertile plains of Macedonia following the route of the ancient Roman road ” Via Egnatia ”. We arrive in Philippi, where St. Paul first preached the gospel on European soil. Christianity spread rapidly in this Roman town. In the 5th century, the first vast Basilica (130 x 50m) was built and was one of the most important early Christian architectural monuments in Greece. The ruins stand at height of 6.50m. It was destroyed in the 6th century and never rebuilt. A second three aisle basilicas was then built, but was abandoned unfinished, because the dome collapsed. Excavations have revealed two more basilicas. Here is also a crypt of the Roman times known to be the prison of Paul. After the visit, we drive to the nearby small village of Lydia. It was here that Paul baptised a woman called Lydia, the very first to be baptised in the whole of Europe. Arriving here, we can enjoy the beautiful view of the town port. The port Kavala corresponds to the ancient port of Nepalese, where Paul landed after he had sailed from Troad (Asia Minor) to Macedonia, Greece. Going back to Thessalonica next to the Strimon River is an imposing monument called the Lion of Amfipolis. Further out is the ancient Amfipolis, through which Paul had passed on his way to Thessalonica. Return towards Thessalonica to visit the upper city and dinner overnight at hotel – this way we follow exactly St. Paul’s route.
Day 3: Wednesday 15th February Thessalonica – Kavala – Kalambaka
Today we visit the city of Thessalonica, the second largest in Greece, famous for its beautiful old and modern quarters and Byzantine churches. We visit St. Demetrios church of the 11th century. According to tradition this church was built on the place of Martyrdom Synagogue, where Paul had preached whilst in Salonica. Departures to Veria – visit St. Paul’s Bema (Hebrew for pulpit) and proceed to Vergina to visit the King Philip’s tomb- father of Alexander the Great. Drive to Kalambaka for dinner and overnight stay at the Hotel Divani www.divanis.com.
Day 4: Thursday 16th February Kalambaka – Athens
Visit of the Monasteries of Meteora. From the 12th century onwards, monks and hermits began to retire to the recesses in these immense grey rocks of Meteora and in the 14th century a large monastic state began to develop, which in the 16th century numbered 24 monasteries. Only five of these are still occupied, two of these monasteries are visited. Drive to Athens for dinner and overnight stay at the Hotel Wyndham Grand www.zeusintl.com.
Day 5: Friday 17th February Athens
Visit Athens. Drive through the main streets, where the most important monuments can be seen: the University, Library, Academy and the Parliament building, the 6th century B.C Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. Visit the Acropolis and the famous Parthenon. Then the rocky Hill of Mars well known Areopagus located on the northwest slope of the Acropolis. This Hill gave name to a Council of Nobles, which became the Senate and the Supreme Court of Ancient Athens. In 61 A.D. Paul delivered the Sermon on the unknown God. It was here that Senator Dionysius was converted to Christianity and later became the patron Saint of Athens. Rest of the day free. Dinner and overnight Athens
Day 6: Saturday 18th February Corinth – Athens
Early departure for our excursion to Corinth. The drive the Corinth offers a variety of landscape viewing the Saronic Gulf and its islands. This is the gulf, which Paul had sailed going from Athens to Corinth. Stop to see the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean with the lonian Sea. Ancient Corinth is located inland on the foot of Mt. Acrocorinth. The city’s “Long Wall ” began from the summit of the mountain, encompassed the city and ended at the port of Lechaio, which was the artificial harbour built on shore of the Gulf of Corinth. In the area city itself, the ruins are those of its Agora (Forum) as it was in the days of the Romans in the 1st century A.D. On the northern side of the Agora, 7, of the 38 columns of the Ancient Temple of Apollo (6th century B.C.) still stand. To the Northwest of the Agora are the remains the Theatre and the Roman Odeon. Among the ruins of the Roman Forum we can see the Bema, a single structure from where Paul preached to Corinthians. Corinth was the city Paul visited twice on first trip and where he spent 18 months. Here in Corinth, Paul created one of the biggest Christian communities in Europe. Visit also the museum containing finds from the Agora. Visit the small port of Lechaio, where St Paul disembarked to visit Corinth. Dinner and overnight Athens
Day 7: Sunday 19th February Greece – UK
Transfer to the airport for departure on Aegean flight A3601 departing at 13.25 and arriving at London Heathrow at 15.30.
*This tour is open only to clergy and lay leaders who have every intention of one day leading their own pilgrimage tour to Greece