Steps of St Paul and Medjugorje Pilgrimage Tour- SPP
Number of Days: 18
18 day Medjugorje and Greece – in the Steps of St Paul escorted tour.
In addition to experiencing Medjugorje visit the House of the Virgin Mary (on Mt. Koressos in the vicinity of Ephesus, near Selcuk and discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824), a Roman Catholic nun and visionary. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption. The shrine has merited several papal Apostolic Blessings and visits from several popes, the earliest pilgrimage coming from Pope Leo XIII in 1896, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.
You also travel in the footsteps of St Paul through Greece.
While you will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Christ, the saints, early Christians and pilgrims, visiting magnificent churches and places of miracles or other religious significance, you will also visit the major places of general touring interest
Our package is inclusive of coach touring, 3-4 star hotel accommodation, entrances, taxes and tolls, all breakfasts and some dinners as per itinerary plus the services of an experienced tour guide as per your final itinerary.
Day 1: Athens, Greece
Arrive Athens and make your way to your overnight accommodation. The balance of the afternoon is free.
Day 2: Thessaloniki
Depart Athens for Makedonia Thessaloniki Airport. Upon arrival make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. You will be escorted to the bus to be transferred to your hotel. Enjoy some time to relax after check in. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.
Day 3: Philippi - Kavala – Thessaloniki
After breakfast start your journey in Greece with the first stop of the day in Philippi. Philippi was the city to where Saint Paul the Apostle delivered his first sermon and where he established the first church in Europe. "And from there (He went) to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman Colony. We remained in this city some days..." (Acts 16:12-18). Also, it is the site of where Saint Paul baptized a woman named Lydia, the first convert to Christianity in Europe. Visit the Roman Forum where Saint Paul cast a spirit out of a fortune-telling woman. While here, you will have the opportunity to view the prison (now in ruins) of where Saint Paul and Silas were thrown into by the owners of the fortune-tellers. Continue to the modern port city of Kavala, which was once the ancient Neapolis. This port is where Saint Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy landed when they sailed into Europe. After enjoying this city by the sea, return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Thessaloniki - Meteora - Thessaloniki city-tour – Kalambaka
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel. In the winter of 49-50 A.D., Saint Paul wrote two epistles to the Thessalonians. These letters urged Christians to "live blamelessly" and to refrain from living idly while they wait for the second coming of Christ. While in Thessaloniki, you will witness a number of ancient artefacts, such as the triumphal Arch of Galerius that is found at the start of Via Egnatia. Due to the convenient location, this arch was once a strategic artery of the Roman Empire. It was originally constructed in order to honour the Roman Emperor Galerius following the Roman victory over the Persians. Following your city-tour, transfer to Kalambaka. Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 5: Kalambaka – Delphi
After breakfast we will go for a short drive to the Meteora Monasteries. In the eleventh century, there were monks who settled within caves. However, as the occupation of the Turkish increased, the monks were forced to move their settlements higher upon the rocks until they were unreachable by any opposing enemy. These settlements became Monasteries by bringing building, and living, materials by ladders and baskets. The Meteora Monasteries are notorious for preserving not only the Hellenic religion, but also, their academics and arts. During your visit, you will be able to view stunning Byzantine art, as well as the breath-taking scenery that surrounds the Monastery. Continue to Delphi for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Delphi – Athens
Visit Delphi, the center of the ancient world (navel) of the earth, whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic world. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Phthios. Visit the site and the museum and continue to Athens.“ Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription “ to an unknown God”. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”. Athens, is one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilization as we know it today. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 7: Athens - Excursion to Corinth
After a nice breakfast at the hotel we will start with a tour of the oldest city in the world, Athens. Visit the rock that has dominated the panorama of Athens for twenty-five centuries, the Acropolis. At the Acropolis, you will see the ruins of the Parthenon, Erectheum, and Propylae. After, you will ascend Mars Hill of where Saint Paul spoke to the Athenians. At this site, Paul spoke to the Athenians about the one and only God (Acts 17:22). While in this city, you will be able to view the ancient Agora, the former public center of Athenian life. It held the focus of a political, commercial, social, religious, and cultural center. As you are in the former political center, proceed for a drive through the city to view the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square. Also, you will have the opportunity to view the University of Athens, the oldest higher education institute in Greece, as well as, the National Library of Greece that holds 4,500 Greek manuscripts. Then, visit Panathenaic Stadium, the beautifully marbled multi-purpose stadium. It is home to the Olympian Zeus, and is the site of the first modern era Olympics (1896). Following your visit in Athens, you will proceed to the ancient Corinth. Under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, Saint Paul lived in Corinth for two years. While here, Saint Paul felt great grief over the way that the Gentile Church in Corinth has become. He was prompted to write four letters, all with the overarching theme of love. In Corinth, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of the first century shops, the site of Saint Paul's trial by Gallio, the Fountain of Peirene, and the Temple of Apollo. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Athens - Start 3-day Cruise (Celestyal Cruises Cruise Lines) to Mykonos
Following breakfast, you will proceed to the Piraeus port where you will board your 3-day cruise. Your first stop will be the Island of Mykonos, the most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands that attracts visitors from all over the world. After docking, transfer to Hora, the island's capital. Upon arrival in Hora, you will enjoy a walking tour that will take you on the narrow cobbled streets of the city. Pass by chic boutiques, elegant nightclubs, and white washed houses to arrive in Alefkandra. This section of Mykonos is known as the "Venice of Mykonos", as the homes have wooden balconies and are built on the sea and were of the wealthy merchants and captains. Return to ship for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Kusadasi - Ephesus (Mary's House) – Patmos
After breakfast on board, arrive at the lively Turkish port of Kusadasi. Transfer to the small village of Mt. Koressos. While in this village, you will visit the small stone chapel that is situated upon the site of where the Virgin Mary spent her last days following Christ's crucifixion. Following this visit, your group will walk through the Magnesian Gate to the ancient Ephesus. Begin your walking tour, which will take you through the most magnificent excavations in the world. Some of the sites include the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, and the Library of Celsus. The last stop on the walking tour is to the Great Theatre, the largest ancient theatre that had a capacity of 25,000 people and is a site of where Saint Paul preached. On the return of your walking tour, follow the exact route that Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession via the Arcadian Way. This main street runs from the Great Theatre to the main city's harbor. On enroute to Kusadasi, you will have the opportunity to view the Basilica of Saint John. In the sixth century, Emperor Justinian erected this structure over the grave of the evangelist, John. Upon arrival in Kusadasi, enjoy free time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. When you embark on the ship, your journey will continue to Patmos, where you will transfer to the village of Chora. While in this island's capital, visit the monastery of Saint John the Theologian. This marvellous structure was built nine-hundred years ago, and continues to be supported by the walls of a strong fortification. In addition to the stunning main church that contains outstanding frescoes, you will have the opportunity to view the beautiful courtyard, dining room, and the bakery. Your tour continues to the small museum, where you will view priceless ecclesiastical treasures such as books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, textiles, vestments, and jewellery. Board the bus, which will take you to the Monastery and Grotto of the Apocalypse. In this grotto, experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the site of where the Book of Revelations was written. The silver niches in the wall mark the pillow and ledge that were used as a desk by the author of the Book. Additionally, view the three-fold crack made by the voice of God who emphasized the importance of honouring the Holy Trinity. Your day will culminate with a transfer to the port of Scala. While in this quaint and picturesque harbour enjoy free time before returning to the ship.
Day 10: Heraklion – Santorini
This morning transfer to Heraklion the largest city on Crete. wevisit the ancient ruins of the Palace of Knossos - rediscovered in 1899, and the palace is currently partially reconstructed. This ancient palace is believed to have been the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. Additionally, it is the site of where Saint Paul met the owner and captain of the ship who warned him of continuing his journey to spread Christianity in Rome. Following this historical visit, you will embark the ship that will take you to the idyllic island of Santorini. Santorini is definitively the most breath-taking island of all of the Greek Islands. Upon arrival in Santorini, visit Thira with its iconic white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes, and glittering boutiques clinging to the steep cliffs. Return to the ship for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Athens – Medjugorje
Today marks the end of your cruise. Following disembarkation, you will say your heartfelt farewells. You will be transferred to the Athens airport for your flight(s) to Medjugoje. Upon arrival, you'll will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver, who will take you on the 2 1/2 hour drive to the village of Medjugorje. Dinner and overnight Medjugorje.
Day 12 - 17: Medjugorje
Over the next few days experience the beauty and peace of the simple village of Medjugorje. During your stay you will have the opportunity to share your faith with pilgrims from all over the world. Our local guide will explain the history and layout of the village. Pending availability our guide may also arrange meetings with the visionaries at their homes.
Here are some of the activities you will have the opportunity to experience during the next two days:
English language Mass at St. James Church each morning at 10:00am (noon on feast days and Sundays.
Follow the path up Apparition Hill where the visionaries first encountered Our Lady. Touch and pray before the cross that commemorates the spot where Mary first appeared to the visionaries. Visit "Blue Cross," a place of healings and graces, a very special place at the base of Apparition Hill.
At 5.00pm each evening (6:00 pm daylight savings time) join villagers and pilgrims to pray the rosary. The apparition takes place at 5:40 pm (6:40 pm during daylight savings time) and then stay on for Croatian Mass. During the Mass there is the Blessing of the Sick and items you may have with you. There is also the opportunity to climb Krizevac Mountain where in 1933 villagers built a 30' high cross.
The balance of your time in Medjugorje is not designed to be a “tour”, but rather to provide you with time to pray, reflect and explore on your own as you wish. On arrival, there is an orientation tour after which a representative will be available should you have any questions or requests, however, you will not have a guide with you throughout your stay. Daily Mass in English, as well as English confessions are available at St. James Church. During your stay in Medjugorje you will have full discretion over how your time is spent, in order for the fullest personal spiritual experience possi
Day 18: Medjugorje, Dubrovnik
After an early breakfast depart for Dubrovnik Airport for onward flights.
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of a professional local guide throughout
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Meeting with visionaries (Pending availability)
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Travel Insurance
- Optional gratuities for your guide and driver.
- Items not specifically stated as included in the final itinerary or of a personal nature.
- From $8,975 per person based on twin share. Single supplement +$1,895