Footsteps of St. Paul & The Seven Churches with Cruise
Istanbul - Çanakkale - Izmir - Pamukale - Kusadasi - Patmos - Heraklion -
Santorini - Athens - Corinth - Meteora - Thessaloniki - Kavala
Fr. Niranjan Kanmury, Ph.D.
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Main airport of departure
20 - 33
May 12, 2024
May 25, 2024
Price per person sharing room:
Land only price:
About this trip
It is with great pleasure that I invite you to join me on a wonderful pilgrimage and walk together in the Footsteps of Saint Paul and visit in person some of the important early Churches! A pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey, will certainly broaden one’s horizon into how we read and understand the New Testament, particularly the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of St. Paul and the Book of Revelation. The Biblical events and characters will come alive and we begin to understand the Scriptures and our faith as never before.
The commitment and the struggles of Saint Paul (the Apostle to the Gentiles), in brining the gospel message to the Gentile world, is unmatched. In this pilgrimage, we follow the paths St. Paul travelled, visit the places he preached, and witness the Christian communities he established. This pilgrimage into the life and times of St. Paul will deepen our love and respect for him. His untiring efforts to evangelize the people of the distant lands will inspire and help us grow in our own faith life. I look forward to seeing you on our journey in the Footsteps of St. Paul and the Seven Churches of St. John!
Fr. Niru Kanmury
San Rafael Parish
Phone: 858 487 4314
Your trip includes
· Airfare LAX airport to ISTANBUL R/T (Direct flight option not booked yet)
· Credit card fees
In Turkey side
• 2 Nights accommodation on an HB basis at Akgun https://akgunhotel.com/ or a similar hotel in Istanbul
• 1 Night accommodation on an HB basis at Kolin https://www.kolinhotel.com/ or a similar hotel in Canakkale.
• 1 Night accommodation on HB basis at Doubletree by Hilton Alsancak https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/izmiadi-doubletree-izmir-alsancak/ or similar hotel in Izmir.
• 1 Night accommodation on an HB basis at Adempira https://www.adempirahotel.com/ or a similar hotel in Pamukkale.
• 1 Night accommodation on an HB basis at Ramada Hotel and Suites https://www.ramadahotelkusadasi.com/anasayfa/1 or a similar hotel in Kusadasi.
• English-speaking Professional tour guide throughout the program.
• Transportation by 45 seater A/C coach.
• Museum entrance fees as per the above program.
• Service charges, tips for hotels, porterage at hotels.
• Highway, ferry and parking fees.
• Current Accommodation (city) tax 2%.
• Local current VAT.
• 2 overnights on board in a double IA cabin
• Onboard dining and complimentary select drinks and beverages during food service hours
• All port and service charges and entertainment on board
• 1 night in Titania, 4* in Athens (or similar), HB basis
• 1 night in Grand Meteora, 4* in Kalambaka (or similar), HB basis
• 1 night in Holiday Inn, 4* in Thessaloniki (or similar), HB basis
• 1 night in Airotel Galaxy, 4* in Kavala (or similar), HB basis
• Professional Christian English-speaking guide as per the itinerary
• Transfers as per the itinerary
• Entrances in Museums and Archaeological sites
• Accommodation tax
Your trip exclude
• Beverages and Drinks.
• All personal expenses.
• Any other service not mentioned as “Include”.
Your trip Itinerary
Day 01, May 12: Departure day
Depart from LAX to Istanbul
Day 02, May 13: Arrive in Istanbul
Arrival at Istanbul airport. Meet with your English-speaking guide and transfer to your hotel. Dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Day 03, May 14: Istanbul City tour
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for a half-day classic city tour. Start the day with a visit to Hagia Sophia, a marvel of world architecture, before heading to the Blue Mosque, famous for its blue Iznik tiles and the only imperial mosque with six minarets. Continue to the Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium that held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. In the afternoon drive to Canakkale. Take the ferry and cross the Dardanelles. Arrive at your hotel. Dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Day 04, May 15: Canakkale
After breakfast at the hotel drive to Pergamon, the most favoured of the Seven Churches of Revelation where Christianity was introduced very early. Here we will explore the remains of the Acropolis and see the Altar of Zeus, the Temples of Athena, and the main Palace. We will also visit Asklepion, one of the foremost healing centres of the ancient world. We continue on to Thyatira, another of the Seven Churches. Drive to Izmir. Visit the Church of St. Polycarp, which is the oldest church in ancient Smyrna and is dedicated to one of the first Christian martyrs. Transfer to your hotel in Izmir. Dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Day 05, May 16: Izmir
Following the breakfast drive to Sardis, the Lydian capital city where money was first minted, to visit the Roman Gymnasium and the remains of the Artemis Temple, which symbolized one of the Seven Churches. We will then stop at Philadelphia which was referred to as the “New Jerusalem”. Proceed to the spa city of Pamukkale, where we will see the cascading water from the cliffs forming crystallized, dazzling White “frozen waterfalls”. Visit the Roman health spa of Hierapolis and see the magnificently preserved Necropolis, the Main Street and the Gates. Transfer to your hotel. Dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Day 06, May 17:Pamukale
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches where Christians were chastised by John for being lukewarm. Then proceed to Ephesus to visit the site of the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Paul spent two years in Ephesus and it was to this community that he wrote his Epistle to the Ephesians. Paul implored the Ephesians to cease their worship of Artemis and to turn to Christianity. We will see the great theatre where Paul addressed the crowds and visit the site of the scene of the riots from which Paul escaped. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary and the tomb of St. Luke. While driving to the colourful port of Kusadasi, we will visit the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by Emperor Justinian. Transfer to your hotel. Dinner at the hotel and overnight.
Day 07, May 18: Kusadasi and Patmos
Embark on your cruise after a seamless transfer to the port. Set sail at 1300h and relish the open waters. Reach the captivating port of Patmos, often dubbed the Jerusalem of the Aegean and enjoy your lunch in a local restaurant. Opt for an enriching tour to explore the Monastery of St. John and Grotto, a significant pilgrimage site, or unwind in the charming main town. Savour a delightful onboard dinner. As night falls, immerse yourself in live entertainment. Overnight on board.
Day 08, May 19: Heraklion andSantorini
Begin your day in Heraklion, the vibrant capital of Crete, and the largest of the Greek Islands. Opt for an optional tour to explore the legendary Palace of Knossos, believed to be the fabled labyrinth of King Minos and a cornerstone of the Minoan civilization. In the afternoon, arrive at the captivating island of Santorini, a true gem in the Aegean Sea.
Disembark at Athinios port via cruise tender and enjoy your lunch in a picturesque tavern, before embarking on an inclusive tour. Discover the island's beauty, highlighted by a visit to Oia, renowned as one of the Mediterranean's most spectacular spots. With its picturesque shops and panoramic views of the Caldera, Oia offers an unforgettable experience. Return to the cruise ship for a delightful dinner. As the sun sets, immerse yourself in onboard live entertainment, completing a day filled with exploration and enjoyment. Overnight on board.
Day 09, May 20: Athens and Corinth
Arrive in Athens and disembark. Waste no time as you set out on an unforgettable journey. Drive to Ancient Corinth, where St. Paul preached and wrote epistles. Visit significant sites linked to his ministry. Return to Athens via the Corinth Canal. Our pilgrimage begins as St. Paul’s journey often began, by diving into the secular world. While the remainder of our pilgrimage will be devoted to sacred sites of Christianity, we would be remised to not visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Erectheum. In Acts of the Apostles, chapter 17, St. Paul began his mission in Athens, gaining a handful of followers for Christ and thus planting the seeds of the faith in Greece. We will take time for prayer at Holy Apostles Church (which dates back to the 10th century) and the Metropolis (Cathedral), the seat of the archbishop and hub of the Greek Orthodox Church. Dinner at the hotel and MassTBD. Overnight in Athens
Day 10, May 21: Athens andKalambaka
Today, our pilgrimage continues north as we leave Athens. Our first stop is at the Byzantine monasteries at Meteora that seem to precariously perch on the very edge of the cliffs. We will ascend to these sacred retreats via cable car, but you can only imagine how hundreds of years ago monks were ascending on foot! Our final place for prayer today will be the Kalambaka Cathedral, Church of the Dormition, for vespers with the community. (B/D) Mass at the hotel before dinner. Overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 11, May 22: Thessaloniki
St. Paul leads us further into his journey to Thessaloniki, home of another early new community he evangelized. A prayer will be offered at the “Dais of the Apostle Paul,” in Veria and we will also spend time at the Byzantine Basilica of the Resurrection of Christ. Once in Thessaloniki, we will have time for prayer at the Byzantine churches of St. George, St. Demetrius, and Agia Sophia. The evening will be free to explore the city. (B/D)
Mass at the hotel before dinner. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
Day 12, May 23: Kavala
Today, we begin our pilgrimage toward Philippi, where St. Paul preached and baptized the first Christians in Europe and descended into a crypt that served as a prison for St. Paul when he was held captive here. Mass will be celebrated alongside the river where St. Paul preached 2000 years ago and baptized Lydia, his first European convent. Our day ends in Kavala, the ancient [port of Neapolis, where St. Paul landed with his disciples, Timothy & Silas. St Luke the Evangelist also came here from Troas. We will have time for prayer at the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Paul and St. Nicholas Church. Overnight in Kavala.
Day 13, May 24: Istanbul
Today, we celebrate Mass at the hotel before we depart. We leave Greece behind and cross the border into Turkey, arriving in Istanbul. Check-in at the hotel and dinner.
Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 14, May 25:Departure
Transfer to Istanbul Airport for home flight.