Following the Footsteps of Paul
We arrive in Athens and transfer to our hotel for check-in, dinner, and a well-deserved rest. We’ll admire the architectural wonders of ancient Athens as we explore the world-renowned Acropolis and see the Propylea, the Erechtheum, and the Parthenon. We will also visit the newly renovated Acropolis Museum. We visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his message on the “Unknown God.” We’ll see the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city. As our bus tour continues, we also see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical Buildings of Athens. Dinner and overnight are in Athens. This morning we drive to ancient Corinth with a stop at the amazing Corinthian Canal. Corinth is where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half on his second missionary journey. We see the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temple, the famous Bema (where Paul stood before Gallio), and the breathtaking Acropolis. Then we drive by Cenchreae, the little harbor from which Paul sailed back to Asia, thus ending his second missionary journey. Dinner and overnight are in Athens.
Set Sail to the Greek Islands
Let’s cruise! We sail this morning from Athens to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. This afternoon, we’ll enjoy some time together as a group in Bible study. After disembarking on Mykonos, we’ll have some free time to experience the waterfront lined with shops and cafes. We stroll the charming walkways through a maze of white-washed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and overnight. In the morning we arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey. A short drive takes us to the amazing ruins of ancient Ephesus, where Paul spent three years during his ministry. The impressive remains of Ephesus include the Agora, the Theater, the Stadium, the Library of Celsus, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis (one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”) and much more. This afternoon, we sail for the island of Patmos, where we visit the Monastery of St. John, on one of the island’s highest points. We’ll also see the Grotto of the Apocalypse, where tradition says John wrote the book of Revelation. Overnight aboard the ship. In the morning, we arrive at Heraklion on the island of Crete. We’ll take a short ride to a scenic overlook and read of Paul who wrote to Titus in Crete and gave him instructions on appointing leaders “in every city.” In the afternoon, we cruise to the picturesque island of Santorini, where we explore and shop at our leisure on one of the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. Overnight aboard the ship.
Explore Thessaloniki & Delphi
We disembark the cruise this morning in Piraeus. After disembarkation, we journey through the beautiful countryside and scenic mountain villages to ancient Delphi. We’ll visit its archeological museum, which includes the Gallio Inscription (Acts 18:12). The ancient Greeks considered Delphi the center of the earth, for here resided the most important oracle in the Greek culture. Delphi also hosted one of the precursors to the modern Olympics, the Pythian Games, in which athletes from all over the Greek world competed. Dinner and overnight are in Delphi. This morning we drive north past Mount Olympus and biblical Berea (Acts 17:11) to ancient Thessaloniki. Here we’ll enter and explore the modest ruins of the ancient city where the church received two of Paul’s epistles on his second missionary journey. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki. In the morning we follow the route of the Via Egnatia to Kavala (Neapolis), Paul’s first stop in bringing the Gospel to present day Europe. Next we travel to Philippi where we visit the Baptistery of Lydia near the river where Paul baptized her. Lydia was the first convert of Paul on European soil, followed by the jailer (Acts 16). We also visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the “Prison of Paul,” and the Theater. We return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
OPTIONAL ROME & POMPEII EXTENSION
We transfer in the morning to the Thessaloniki Airport for our flight to Rome, where we are met by our agent and begin our sightseeing tour. Then we have a special visit to the Catacombs, where we explore tunnels and see the carvings on the walls from early Christians. Next, we’ll walk a short distance along the Appian Way, the very road Paul walked as a prisoner entering Rome. We’ll pass the Circus Maximus, where the great fire of AD 64 began, sparking the persecution of Christians for centuries. After breakfast, our first visit today is to the ornate Vatican Museum and the famous Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s magnificent ceiling. Our next stop is the Basilica of St. Peter, the largest church in the world, which overlooks the enormous St. Peter’s Square, the site where Peter was crucified upside-down. We visit the Roman Forum and see the Arch of Titus, which boasts of Rome’s victory over Jerusalem. We’ll see the Basilica Julias, where Paul was likely condemned, and the Colosseum, where gladiators fought. Dinner and overnight are in Rome. This morning we’ll ride a train to Pompeii, where we’ll meet our tour escort and head south for the spectacular ruins. Covered by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, Pompeii remained buried, preserved, and undiscovered until 1748. The excavations will provide us insight into the first-century Roman Empire of the Apostle Paul. Dinner and overnight are in Rome. We start our day at the Mamertine Prison, where Paul was imprisoned and wrote 2 Timothy. We’ll also visit the Church of St. Peter in Chains, which houses Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, as well as the chains that may have bound Peter. Next we will visit Tres Fontane Abbey, the traditional location where the Apostle Paul was martyred. Here we will have a special communion service. Afterwards we make a visit to St. Paul’s Church where Paul is buried. Dinner and overnight are in Rome.