12 Day Steps of St. Paul and Passion Play



DAY 01: NORTH AMERICA / EUROPE. Tour members will gather at the ticket counter at the airport two hours prior to their departure to Europe.

DAY 02:  THESSALONIKI.  Paul came to Thessaloniki with Silas and following his usual custom, he went to the Synagogue where he used the Jewish scriptures as the source for his preaching (Act 17:2-4). 

Considered the second capital of Greece, Thessaloniki was founded in 31 BC by one of Alexander the Great's generals, Cassander, who was married to Alexander's step-sister, Thessaloniki. In her honor, he named the town built in the form of an amphitheater at the head of Thermaikos Gulf.  Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.

DAY 03: KAVALLA / PHILIPPI.  "Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a great voyage to Samothrace and the following day to Neapolis” (Act 16:11)

“And from thence to Philippi which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony; and we were in that city abiding certain days (Act 16:12)

We visit the beautiful city of Kavala (ancient Neapolis), and from there on to Philippi, which was a Roman garrison town and the chief city in the province of Macedonia. It was here that Paul won his first European convert, a woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods. Visit the Baptistryof Lydia., the market place (where Paul and Silas were brought before the rulers), the cistern which tradition identifies as the place where St. Paul was imprisoned. We return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.

DAY 04: THESSALONIKI / METEORES / ATHENS.  Continue to the Meteora Monasteries, perched upon the summits of gigantic rocks, which have been etched into variety of strange shapes. Grey gigantic stalagmites rising towards the sky, they seem to be nature's gift to the pious who opted for monasticism and for a life totally dedicated to the worship of God.  The monastic history of the Meteora goes back to the 11th century A.D. when the first hermits sought peace and solitude in the rifts and caves of these rocks, but the first monasteries were not built until the 14th century A.D. attaining their peak in the 16th. Of the 13 large and 20 small monasteries and hermit’s cells, only four are not occupied: Megalo Meteora, Monie Varlaam, Monia Aghias Triadas and Moni Aghiou Stefanou.  Continue to Athens for dinner and overnight.

DAY 05:  ATHENS / PIRAEUS.  Transfer to port and embark the cruise vessel for your 3 day cruise. Our first port of call is the island of Myconos; cubic white houses and those world famous windmills. Free time to explore this lovely island especially the Catholic Cathedral at “Little Venice” for a Mass.

DAY 06:  KUSADASI / PATMOS.  “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples.. " (Act 19:01)

Continue to Kusadasi, a lively Turkish port and gateway to ancient Ephessos. Our tour takes us to visit Ancient Ephessos, the Greek colony founded by the Athenians. Here history truly comes to life; walking towards the ancient harbor down a marble road rutted by the wheels of countless chariots.  You pass architectural masterpieces like the Magnesian Gate and the Library of Celsus before arriving to the Great Amphitheater where St. Paul spoke to the Ephesians.  Visit the house of the Virgin Mary where she spent her last days and we may celebrate a private Mass here. We continue our cruise for the island of Patmos ; considered a holy island for the Christian religion it was here in Patmos where John the Divine, while in exile, wrote the Apocalyptic Revelations which constitute the last part of the new Testament.  Our tour takes us up to the monastery of St. John which still keeps its character of a medieval fortress. Inside the walls you will be able to admire the Byzantine wealth of the Christian Orthodox religion while from its ramparts you will have the most stunning panoramic view of the luminous sea.

DAY 07:  HERAKLION / SANTORINI (Crete).  Early morning arrival to Heraklion, Crete, legendary birthplace of Zeus and where the Minoan civilization began.  After Mass we may take an Optional visit to the Palace of Knossos.  Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the mythological home of Zeus. After a short drive through the town of Heraklion the tour will arrive at the Knossos excavations. Next we visitSantorini - one of the most beautiful of the Greek Islands.  Free time at leisure to visit the island (Shuttle to town on your own).  Often compared to Pompeii, Acrotiri boasts a much earlier age and preserves amazing ruins dating from the second millennium B.C.

DAY 08: PIRAEUS / 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…”

After we disembark from the ship, we visit Athens, one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilization as we know it today. For twenty five centuries, the panorama of this city is dominated by the rock of the Acropolis. After we disembark the ship, we see the ruins of the Parthenon, the Erectheum and the Propylae. Then we will ascend Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians about the one and only God.  From here we have an excellent view of the ancient agora; former center of the Athenian public life. We continue for a drive through the city to see the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square, the evzones in their picturesque uniforms guarding the Presidential Palace and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also see the Library, the University, the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympics of the modern era were held, the temple of the OlympianZeus and Adrian's Arch.

“Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man shall attack you to harm you; for I have many people in this city. " (Acts 18:9)

We board our coach for Corinth, taking the coastal road along the Saronic Gulf to the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean Sea with the Ionian Sea.  Short stop for pictures and continue to the site of ancient Corinth, Paul's beloved city and site of his most extensive ministry. Dominated by the Acro-Corinth rising 1700 feet above the ruins, the marketplace is laid out exactly as it stood in the days of the great Apostle.  We see the bema (the judgement seat) where Paul stood before Galilo and preached (Acts 18).  The museum contains a superb collection of artifacts portraying life in ancient Corinth.  Return to Athens for dinner and overnight

DAY 09:  ATHENS / MUNICH /OBERAMMERGAU.  Early this morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Munich Germany. Upon arrival we are met and begin our city sightseeing tour including the gothic Rathdus (town hall) with its famous glockenspiel, the awesome twin-spired Frauenkirche, Marienplatz, imperial residence Alte Pinakothec and other principle places of interes. Then on to Oberammergau, home of the world-famous Passion Play which is performed once every ten years in this charming small Bavarian village.   Dinner and overnight.

DAY 10:  PASSION PLAY.   The entire day is devoted to attending a performance of the world famous Passion Play.  In 1633 after months of suffering and death from the plague, the village people swore an oath that they would perform the "Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ" every ten years. At Pentecost 1634, they fulfilled their pledge for the first time on a stage they put up in the cemetery above the graves of the plague victims. In the year 2000, the Community of Oberammergau again performed the Passion Play for the 40th time in continuity. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 11: OBERAMMERGAU / LINDERHOFF / ETTAL / MUNICH / DACHAU. After breakfast this morning we drive to Linderhoff. and Linderhoffs Castle - built by mad King Ludwig - a dazzling castle set high in the Bavarian Alps.. Continue toEttal Monastery. Here you can get a glimpse of the lives of the Benedictine monks living at the monastery. Building of the monastery began in 1330 and due to the dedication and hard work of the resident monks, and at times knights, the structure is in pristine condition.  Return to Munich and an optional tour to Dachau.  Dachau Concentration Camp is a Memorial Site, honoring all who suffered and died there. It is a haunting memorial to all those imprisoned in similar conditions under the ruthless control of the Third Reich. 

DAY 12:  MUNICH / NORTH AMERICA.  After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our return the United States of America.  The end of a most enjoyable journey