DAY 1: DEPART USA
We depart for Greece and enjoy the dinner and breakfast provided on our flight.
DAY 2: ARRIVE ATHENS
We travel through customs and meet our guide/coach driver who transports us to your hotel. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
DAY 3: ATHENS: CITY TOUR
After breakfast, we visit the 11th century Monastery of Kaisariani, consecrated to the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. A tour of the monastery captures our minds before prayer and reflection. Moving on, we tour additional of interest in Athens and see the location where St. Paul had his famous confrontation regarding his speech on Jesus and his Resurrection. We visit the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and Hadrian’s Arch. We have an opportunity to celebrate mass in a local church before having dinner and retiring for the evening.
DAY 4: ATHENS: CORINTH EXCURSION
From Athens we travel to Corinth where Paul spent over a year preaching to the people there. Here, St. Paul worked alongside Aquila and Priscilla, was put on trial, and wrote his many letters. We celebrate the liturgy, meditating on Paul’s letters, and round out the day in Epidaurus, with its well preserved amphitheatre with splendid acoustics. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
DAY 5: CRUISE TO MYKONOS
After breakfast, we embark on our cruise through the Greek Isles. Enjoy the enrapturing scenery of island beaches, warm sun, and the blue sea. We land at Mykonos on the southern Aegean Sea. It has nickname “The Island of the Wind”. then we join our guide for a tour of this charming town filled with restaurants, shops, and old world appeal. In the evening, the night life comes alive. Don’t forget to set aside time to see the magnificent sunset. In the evening we depart for Rhodes.
DAY 6: CRUISE TO RHODES
In Rhodes, we enjoy a relaxing day on the beautiful beach. We visit Lindos to see the Acropolis and the old town of Rhodes. We sail for Turkey and celebrate mass on board the ship before enjoying a lovely evening meal together.
DAY 7: CRUISE TO PATMOS / KUSADASI
In Patmos, we visit the cave where St. John lived and wrote the Book of Revelation. Also, we tour the monastery of St. John, built in the 11th century. After prayer, we return to the ship to continue our voyage to Kusadasi, where we arrive at our hotel and leisurely enjoy the city. Enjoy some time exploring the beautiful town of Kusadasi before we board the ship for lunch and head to Patmos. We arrive at Skala Harbor and its quaint white houses, shopping, restaurants, and colorful flowers. This is home to the cave where St. John lived and is believed to have written the Book of Revelation. Patmos also offers us the chance to visit one of the monasteries dedicated to St. John. They are filled with precious icons and manuscripts. We return to the ship for dinner and to retire for the evening.
DAY 8: KUSADASI: EXCURSION TO EPHESUS
In Ephesus, we pass through the Magnesian Gate and enter into perhaps the most incredible excavation we will see on this trip. See the Great Theatre which held a crowd of up to 24,000 where St. Paul preached. Moving back, we pass along the Arcadian Way, walking in the footsteps of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. We stop at the Basilica of St. John, erected in the 500s AD over his grave. We see the Temple of Diana, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the museum of Ephesus, and the House of Mary, where she is known to have lived out the last of her days.
DAY 9: KUSADASI / PERGAMUM / ASSOS
In the ancient city of Pergamum, we see ruins and remains of the theatre, a temple dedicated to Zeus, a healing center dedicated to Apollo, and we wrap up our day with a prayer service. We travel alongside the Aegean and enjoy the evening by the sea at our hotel in Pergamum.
DAY 10: ASSOS / TROY / ISTANBUL
We move through Assos, stopping to see its ancient theatre, through Alexandria Troas, and stop in the ancient city of Troy, where the infamous Trojan War took place. We cross the Dardanelles by ferry and move on to ancient Constantinople now the modern city of Istanbul.
DAY 11: ISTANBUL: CITY TOUR
With a rich culture, Istanbul is woven together with Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam culture and traditions. As we tour the city, we stop to see St. Sophia Basilica constructed in 537 AD, once the seat of the Byzantine church and now a museum sheltering the mosaics, stained glass, and iconography. It is now a mosque. Also among the sights are the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, constructed in 1616, that was also visited by Pope Benedict XVI. It is often referred to as the “Blue Mosque” as its walls and interior are covered in blue tiles. We visit the Hippodrome, and the underground cistern. Afterward, we take our time exploring the extravagant luxury of the Topkapi Palace. We stop at the world renowned bazaars to haggle with the vendors and hunt for the many bargains.
DAY 12: ISTANBUL: CITY TOUR
We see the Church of St. Saviour, home of a rich collection of iconography and mosaics. Next, we see the Church of St. Anthony and celebrate the Eucharist. We enjoy the evening together in prayer and leisure at our farewell dinner. Recount our adventures and share special moments with your fellow pilgrims.
DAY 13: RETURN TO USA
We board our plane in Istanbul and head home to the United States.