Following the Footsteps of Paul in Greece
Days 1 & 2 – Arrival
Depart US, arrive Thessaloniki, Greece
Arrive Thessaloniki, Greece and transfer to our hotel in the heart of the city, a short walk from the beautiful harbor. We have an orientation to Greek culture and prepare ourselves for the wonderful journey ahead.
Day 4 – Philippi
Today we visit Paul’s first stop on the Greek mainland, Philippi. In Philippi, we make our way to the riverside and spend a few moments recalling Paul’s words to Lydia whose heart was opened to the Gospel. It was in this stream that Paul baptized her and welcomed her into the Christian community. In the baptistery dedicated to Lydia we join in singing praises as we are thrilled by the marvelous acoustics of the shrine. Following lunch, we make our way to the ancient city of Philippi, walking through the forum, seeing two major basilicas and a Roman theater. We pause at the prison cell of Paul and Silas and recall their words of salvation. Then we travel to the port city of Neapolis (Kavala), Greece's most picturesque mainland port. Paul arrived at this port when landing in Greece. Here we see a modern mosaic depicting Paul's vision and arrival at Neapolis before returning to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Meteora
Nestled in western Thessaly lies the rock forest of Meteora where famous Byzantine monasteries perch precariously on summits of soaring, sheer-sided gray rock pinnacles of varied and spectacular shapes. Hermits began meeting in this area in the 9th century and in the evolving centuries formed community life, first in wooden shelters and later transformed into monasteries. We visit the Grand Meteoron and with its Hall of the Martyrs, the Independence Museum, Kitchen, and Ossuary. We enjoy lunch and then off to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 – Corinth
On our way to Corinth, we visit the isthmus that boasted two major ports and controlled the flow of goods in ancient times, one reason that Corinth became the leading commercial city of the Greek mainland. Paul spent a year and half in this community and later wrote letters to them, the first of which contains his chapter on love. We visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema and Temples. We celebrate communion among the ruins of this great city. We return to Athens for our closing meeting and a celebratory final dinner.
Day 3 – Thessaloniki
The New Testament books to the Thessalonians are Paul's letters to this community of first century Christians. In Thessaloniki we see the old city ramparts, the landmark White Tower proudly adorning the harbor, and the Arch of Galerius that rises over the Via Egnatia. We visit the most beautiful basilica in the city, the church of St. Demetrius, dedicated to a Roman military officer who was martyred for his faith in Christ by Emperor Galerius. As part of our appreciation of modern Greece, we visit the bustling open air market with its wide variety of Greek olives and feta chesses. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 – Veria and Vergina
When Paul arrived in Veria (Berea), he went immediately to the Jewish synagogue and shared the message of the Messiah with them, proving that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. We visit the traditional rostrum where Paul delivered his sermons, and the remnants of the Jewish quarter housing the synagogue. Then we are off to Vergina, one of the most fascinating sites of recent discovery. In the mid-seventies, the tomb of Philippi II, father of Alexander the Great, was discovered containing silver vessels and golden crowns. The Royal tombs also house one of the few remaining paintings from the Macedonian period. In the afternoon take a hike on beautiful Mt. Olympus. The hike ends at our quaint inn in the mountainside village of Litochoro.
Day 7 – Athens
The architectural splendors of this ancient city are magnificent. We make our way to the world-renown Acropolis with its Propylaea entrance. As we stand before the Parthenon we can still hear the hammers striking stones of marble as reconstruction continues to maintain the wonder of this monument to man’s achievement. We also visit the Acropolis Museum and the Erectheum before descending to the Areopagus (Mar's Hill) and read the sermon that Paul addressed to the Athenians of his day. From there we stroll through the Agora, the ancient market place and center of Athenian public life. During the day we may also see the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian's Arch, and the Panathenic Stadium. Overnight in Athens.
Day 9 – Depart
Return to the States with unforgettable memories and a new understanding of the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul.