Steps of Paul Holiday 2021
Steps of Paul Holiday 2021
Daily Devotions and time for worship
Return Economy Airfares with Emirates Airlines
7 Night Aegean Cruise with CFT shore excursions
Quality hotel accommodation with private
Sightseeing as outlined and all entry fees
Professional local guides
Luggage assistance at hotels
We begin this very special journey with an evening flight from Australia (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth). We arrive in Dubai in the early morning and have arranged for the hotel rooms to be ready on arrival.
On Wednesday following an early morning transfer from the airport to the hotel you will have time for a shower and change in our hotel rooms that will be arranged to check into early. Later in the morning you’ll enjoy a guided tour of this amazing new city resplendent with stunning skyscrapers and towers: an architectural oasis in the desert. Tonight, we will enjoy our first group dinner together when we dine in a local restaurant overlooking the dancing fountain show.
This morning we fly to Athens, the capital of Greece and the heart of its ancient empire. On arrival in Athens we will be meet and transferred to our hotel. Athens was an important stop on St Paul’s missionary journey, and it is from here that we start our own travels in his footsteps.
Like Paul we travel from Athens to Corinth (Acts 18:1-18), a city that inspired Paul’s most familiar letter. You’ll visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Temples, and walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood. While here we’ll read some of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and visualize his address to the Gentiles as he began the task of building Corinth’s church. Take time to imagine where Aquila and Priscilla lived and where they had their tent making business.
Enjoy a cruise along the Corinth Canal before our return to Athens.
Athens is regarded as the cradle of Civilisation and the ancient remnants of once beautiful buildings still dominate the city. We visit the ancient citadel of the Acropolis that sits high above the city skyline. The nearby Areopagus (Mars Hill) was once the site of a council that served as an important legal institution under the Athenian democracy. It was here that the Apostle Paul spoke boldly to the council members of the Areopagus with his famous “Men of Athens” speech (Acts 17:16-34).
With our guide we will tour the famous Parthenon; when it was built in the 5 century B.C it was the largest and most lavish temple the Greek mainland had ever seen. Today, it is one of the most recognized buildings in the world and an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece.
A short drive to the Pier and we will embark the Celestyal Crystal for the start of a wonderful 7-night cruise, a journey following much of Paul’s Second Missionary voyage.
Thessaloniki is a city full of history, culture and beauty, but a city where Paul received a mixed reception, having to escape by being lowered in a basket over the city wall. Paul first came to Thessaloniki in 50-51 AD during his second missionary journey and it was here that he established the second Christian community in Europe (after Philippi) and wrote his letter Philippi to the Thessalonians. We travel to the Monastery of Vlatadon, built over the site where Paul peached during his time here. We also visit the vast Citadel and see the remains of the ancient walls that once surrounded the town.
From the port city we drive to Veria (ancient Berea) to see its traditional Tribune and the memorial that commemorates Paul’s preaching to the local Jews in 54AD – “The Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians.” (Acts 17:1-15). During the Byzantine era many small, delicate, frescoed churches were built in the city, which came to be known as “Small Jerusalem.” We will visit one of these immaculate churches, the Church of Christ, which was built in the early 14th century and is home to masterworks by the most famous painter of the era.
Take time to wander and explore and shop in this marvellous ancient city before we return to the harbor at Thessaloniki.
Today we will arrange our own time of worship. As we read from St Paul’s letters, in the actual places that the events he described occurred, you will feel your Bible has come alive.
A wonderful way to spend a Sunday.
We disembark in the northern Greek city of Kavala (ancient Neapolis), the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia. Following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul was directed to travel to Macedonia, and it was here that he that he first set foot in Europe, accompanied by Silas, Luke and Timothy. We visit the former city of Philippi where Paul delivered a sermon that sowed the seeds of Christianity. We learn of two significant conversions and the first baptism on European soil when Lydia and her attendants were converted and baptised outside the city gate by the river.
We will enjoy a guided tour of this archaeological site – the Forum, the Walls, the two Bascilicas and the Theatre. Amongst the Philippi ruins, located on the rocky ledge above the town’s main road, we will see the actual site of the prison where Paul and Silas were thrown for causing a “public nuisance”. It is here that another important conversion occurred when the Philippian gaoler came to faith (Acts 16:11-40). Our time here in Philippi is important for our understanding of the spread of God’s Good News throughout the world.
We cruise into Turkish waters and enter the straits of the Bosphorus, a egionsignificant for the ANZAC Gallipoli campaign during WWI. Before us is Istanbul, formerly Byzantium and Constantinople, a glorious city that straddles both Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait.
Istanbul was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times and our enjoyable day of sightseeing can but skim the surface of one of the most important cities in history.
The Old City is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and here we will see the cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here including the Roman-era Hippodrome, the Byzantine church Hagia Sophia, Ottoman Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque.
The port city of Dikili in Turkey is our stopping off point for Ancient Pergamon, cited in the Book of Revelation as one of the 7 churches of Asia Minor. The acropolis of Pergamon was the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid dynasty and a major centre of learning in the ancient world. After a visit to the Acropolis we visit the remains of the Roman Askelpion, a healing temple and the forerunner of what we would know as a hospital.
Kusadasi is the gateway to Ephesus, an ancient city founded by the Greeks in 2000 BC becoming the second largest city of the Roman Empire. Now one of the world’s largest open-air archaeological museums it is considered a great example of a complete classical city despite only 13% of the site being uncovered; the excavated remains reflect centuries of history, from classical Greece to the Roman Empire to the spread of Christianity. Prepare to be amazed. On our way we will stop by the legendary House of the Virgin Mary then visit St. John the Evangelist’s Basilica, a cross shaped chapel built in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian.
In the 1st Century AD the Apostle Paul spent 3 years in Ephesus preaching the Gospel. Wander the colonnaded streets to the Library, Agora, Trajan’s Funtain, Hadrian’s Temple and the Great Amphitheatre (which held up to 24,000 spectators). It was here that the crowds gathered in protest of Paul’s speaking against the worship of Artemis; local silversmiths, who crafted images of this pagan fertility goddess, were so angered that Paul’s teachings reduced their profits that they chanted for two hours “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.”
We leave Ancient Ephesus to drive to Rug Village for lunch and a demonstration of traditional Turkish carpet weaving. Our excursion concludes in Miletus, an ancient Greek city visited twice by Paul; his most memorable and final visit was toward the end of his third missionary journey in 58 A.D. After summoning the elders in the Ephesian church to come and meet him, Paul exhorted them to be faithful and warned them of splits in the church. Paul then farewelled the local Christians knowing he would not see them again and sailed to Jerusalem to fulfill his destiny.
Patmos is one of the northern most islands in the Dodecanese and one of the smallest, most charming and most spiritual, known as the “Holy Island” for the Christian faith.
Our tour takes us to the island’s summit overlooking the surrounding blue waters of the Aegean Sea. We’ll visit the Grotto of the Apocalypse where, during his exile from the Roman Empire, John was inspired by visions to write the Book of Revelation. We will also tour the 11th Century Monastery of St John, home to over 300 beautifully preserved original handwritten manuscripts, including a Gospel of Luke. A very special day.
An early arrival into the Port for Athens to join our private charter coach for some final sightseeing of Athens including the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Panathenaic (Olympic) Stadium. Enjoy some time at leisure in this incredible city before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Dubai. On arrival in Dubai we will be transferred to our hotel for two nights.
Today is a full day of leisure in Dubai and your tour leader is happy to assist you with planning your time here. You might like to visit the famous Dubai Mall, explore the Gold and Spice Souks or choose one of the many optional tours (available to book on arrival). Tonight, we will have our own worship service followed by a final group dinner at the hotel. This will be a time to give thanks for the wonderful journey we have enjoyed together, one filled with memorable sights, experiences and new friendships.
After breakfast on Monday, we will be transferred to the airport for our final flight home to Australia.
Tuesday morning arrival in Australia. Our holiday may be at an end, but we hope that your personal spiritual journey has been enhanced having followed in the Steps of the Apostle Paul.
9 November 2021
23 November 2021
9 November 2021
23 November 2021