FOOTSTEPS OF ST. PAUL
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. PAUL
Itinerary for Turkey with 5 Day Extension in Greece
IncludedFOOTSTEPS OF ST. PAULDeparture TaxesEntry Fees5 Star AccommodationPersonal GuideBreakfast
Overnight flight to Istanbul. Transfer to flight for Adana, Turkey. Transfer from airport to the hotel.
Antioch/ Seleucia Pieria/Tarsus: Drive in our bus from Adana to Antakya (the Antioch of Peter, Paul, Barnabas, John Chrysostom and Ignatius, site of 30 church synods from the third to sixth centuries, AD). View the plains of Iskenderun where Solomon bought horses for Egypt and sold chariots from Egypt (I Kgs. 10:28). Here Alexander the Great defeated Darius of Persia in 333 B.C. Arrive in Antioch-on-the-Orontes (Acts 6:5, 11:19-26, 13:1-14:28, 15:1-19, 23-29, 36-40; Gal 2:1-21), modern day Antakya. In the time of Paul Antioch was the third city of the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria. The city of Paul covered four times the present city’s surface area and is 35 feet below the present city due to earthquakes and conquests. Visit the Church of St. Peter, now a National Park, the Grotto where Peter preached and baptized and Christians found refuge. The facade is from the time of the Crusaders. During our visit to Antakya we will celebrate Eucharist at the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in center city, followed by lunch in Samandag. From Samandag (Seleucia/Pieria, Dan 11:7, I Macc 11:8, Acts 13:4, 14:26, 15:9), Paul and Barnabas departed on their missionary journeys. After lunch we will head to Tarsus (II Macc 4:30, Acts 9:11, 21:39, 22:3), birthplace of Paul, which was the capital of the Roman Province of Cilicia. It was here that Paul’s family obtained Roman citizenship. In the reign of Augustus, Tarsus reached its golden age, renowned as a center of learning surpassing both Alexandria and Athens. The spoken language of Paul’s city was Greek. The city of Paul is 20 feet below the present city. We return to Adana for dinner and overnight.
Leaving Adana, we head west along the coast, we take a brief break to stretch our legs, visiting the grotto of St. Thecla, in Silifke. She was the reported female companion of Paul. We stop for lunch in Anamur and arrive late afternoon at our hotel in Antalya, where we will have our dinner and overnight.
Departing from Antalya, we head northeast to the city of Perge (Acts 13:13, 14:24) where Paul and Barnabas preached and John Mark left their company. It was, in their time, a city of 100,000. The agora was 215 ft. on each side. From there we head to Demre (Myra, Acts 27:5-6) which dates back to the 5th century B.C. On Paul’s final journey back to Rome he changed ships here. Nicholas (Santa Claus) was bishop here in the 4th century in the Church which was rededicated to him in the 6th century. We will celebrate Eucharist in the Church of St. Nicholas. After lunch in Demre, we head northwest to Laodicea/Colossae/Hierapolis, where we arrive at our hotel in Pamukkale in late afternoon for dinner and overnight. Pamukkale (Hierapolis, Col 4:13), the third city where Epaphras labored was six miles from Laodicea and twelve miles from Colossae. The weary and the curious have been coming to its hot springs for 23 centuries. The 1st century tomb of the Apostle Philip is located above the excavated city, in the center of a 4th century Church excavated in 2011.
Leaving ancient Hierapolis and the cotton cliffs of Pamukkale behind, for a brief visit to Colossae and Laodicea, the unexcavated Colossae (Col 1:7-8) was an important center from the 5th century B.C. for its wool-working and cloth-dying industries. By the 1st century B.C. it was surpassed by Laodicea and Hierapolis. Laodicea (Col 2:1, 4:12-16; Rev 3:14-22, Acts 27:8) founded in the 3rd century B.C. was one of the three cities in the area evangelized by Epaphras, a disciple of Paul. Col 4:16 mentions a letter Paul sent to the Laodiceans which they were supposed to share with the Colossians. Extensively excavated over the last several years, the most recent season in 2015, this city, one of 7 rebuked in the book of Revelation, received its water by aqueduct from the hot springs of Hierapolis, arriving lukewarm. Their arrogance, noted in Rev 3:17 was illustrated by their refusal of any help from Rome after the earthquake of A.D. 60. We then head northwest for lunch in the town of Alaṣehir, the Philadelphia of Revelation 3:7, which has only the piers of a Byzantine church, and some sparse remains of a theatre on a the nearby hill; Visit of (ancient Thyatira, Rev. 1:11, 2:18, 2:24) with just a city block of ancient Thyatira in the middle of the town, the hometown of Lydia, who met Paul in Philippi (Acts 16:14) , we drive through the Turkish country side to Sardis (Rev 1:11, 3:1 & 3:4), another of the Apocalypse cities with its Temple of Artemis commissioned by Alexander the Great and one of the largest in antiquity. From there we head to the coast to Izmir for the evening and overnight
After a visit to the Roman remains of Izmir ((Smyrna, home of St. Polycarp, Rev 1:11, 2:9-10; Acts 17:5-8),), we’ll head north to arrive at Pergamum (Rev 1:1, 2:12). Perhaps because it held sanctuaries to the Emperor, Asklepios and Zeus, it is referred to in Revelation as “Satan’s seat” (Rev. 2:12-17), situated in a commanding position with a view of the sea and the purple peaks of Lesbos in the distance. Its ruins stretch over 30,000 acres. Its Golden Age was the first half of the 2nd century. The library dating to this period held 200,000 volumes and introduced books called manuscripts written on pages rather than scrolls of papyrus. Winding our way back to our hotel in Kusadasi for dinner and overnight, the evening is free.
(Ephesus). Where Ephesus lies today, since the 11th century B.C. there have been a succession of six cities. Of the first three cities, only one column remains from the Temple of Artemis, dating to the 7th century B.C. The majority of the extant ruins date from the period of the 4th city. This was the city where Paul the Apostle lived for 27 months (Acts 18:19-21, 24-26, 19:1 - 20:1, 16-38, 21:27-22:30; I Tim 1:3, II Tim 1:18, 4:12; Rev. 1:11, 2:1-7). The Temple of Domitian, built at the end of the 1st century A.D., was the first in Ephesus dedicated to a living emperor. Along with Rome and Antioch, Ephesus was one of only three cities to have streets lit at night. The mosaic sidewalks in front of the houses of Ephesus’ wealthiest citizens testify to the level of civilization they had achieved. The Celsus Library begun in the 2nd century A.D. contained 12,000 volumes and was only exceeded in size by Pergamum and Alexandria. The Arcadian Way, leading to the harbor from the theater (seating 25,000) (Acts 19:23-40: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!") was 1500 feet long, bordered by 15 ft. wide colonnaded mosaic sidewalks and shops on either side. The Church of the Council of Ephesus, set back from the Arcadian Way, was built in the 4th century, stretched 600 ft and was 90 ft. wide. We will celebrate the Vigil Mass for Sunday, at the Capuchin Chapel of Meryem Ana before we return to Izmir for dinner and overnight at our hotel. Miletus (Acts 20:15-38, II Tim 4:20) which dates back to the 11th century B.C. The most important port in the area, at one point it had 80 colonies around the Mediterranean. With four harbors and three markets its south agora was the largest in the Hellenic world. The city was during the Greek period what Ephesus was for the Romans. Paul stopped here in the Spring of A.D. 56 on his way to Jerusalem to bid farewell to the elders of the Church of Ephesus. Overnight and dinner at the same hotel in Kusadasi.
In the morning we head to the Adnan Menderes International Airport for our flight to Istanbul where we transfer to our flight back to the United States or to Thessaloniki, Greece
Arrival in Thessaloncia. Boarding our bus at the airport we transfer to our hotel in Thessaloniki where we leave our bags, freshen up, have lunch, a nap and a brief tour of Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9), founded in 315 BC by Cassander one of Alexander the Great’s generals. He strengthened his hold over Macedonia by marrying the last surviving member of the royal family, Alexander’s half-sister: Thessalonica. Our first stop is the citadel which guards the harbor. While it preserves Hellenistic foundations it was finished in its present form in 1536 and is a good example of Ottoman military architecture. The harbor was built by Constantine in the 4th century AD. Today Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and its largest commercial port. From the citadel we travel to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki containing many artifacts from the time of Philip II through the Roman Periods. We return to our hotel for dinner and a restful night.
In the morning after breakfast we head east for a brief stop in Kavala. In the Greek and Roman periods named Neapolis, it was founded by Philip II in the 4th century BC as a transport center for the gold and silver in the mines of Philippi to the north. It was here in 50 AD that Paul set foot on the continent of Europe (Acts 16:9-12). After lunch in Kavala we head north 11 miles to ancient Philippi. Fortified by Philip II (father of Alexander the Great) in 356 BC, it was settled in the first century BC by Roman army veterans after the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the leaders of Julius Caesar's assassination, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. The city became a major stopping place along the Via Egnatia, newly constructed thoroughfare connecting Byzantium and the Italian ports on the Adriatic. The extant ruins date from the late 2nd century AD. The Roman Forum of Philippi was 330 ft. by 165 ft and was paved with marble. The present Forum is located in the position of the Forum in the time of Paul where he and Silas were brought before the magistrates of the city, who had them stripped, beaten with rods and thrown into prison (Acts 16:20-24). The Krenides stream is one of three possible sites where Paul baptized Lydia of Thyatira. We will pause to celebrate Eucharist here before returning to our hotel in Thessaloniki for dinner and an overnight.
In the morning we head south, passing through the town of Beroea (Acts 17:10-15) to which Paul was followed by the Jewish leaders of Thessalonica. After a brief visit to the town square there where Paul is commemorated, we head for Athens with launch stop and possible Icon shopping at the Monastic Complex of Meteora before we arrive at our hotel and overnight in Athens (Acts 17:15-18).
In the morning, we visit the Areopagus (Acts 17:19-24) where Paul preached before the altar of the Unknown God and the Acropolis with its Parthenon built in the 5th century during the Age of Pericles in the late 5th century, the Athens of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. After lunch we continue touring Athens before returning to our hotel and overnight.
On day twelve, our last day of touring, we head west from Athens to the Peloponnesian Peninsula and after crossing the Isthmus of Corinth we visit the site of ancient Corinth (Acts 18:1-17). The city was founded by the Dorian Greeks in the 10th century BC. Corinth controlled the ports of Lechaion and Cenchrae and drew much of its wealth from the commerce that passed between them. The five foot wide rock-cut track for wheeling ships across the Isthmus was constructed in the late 7th century BC by Periander. It was four miles long as is the canal today. The ruins of the city of Paul date from 44 BC when Julius Caesar refounded the city. The fortifications of Acrocorinth which we will visit are 1886 ft. above the city. The outer wall dates to the Crusader Period. The foundations of the highest wall date to the 6th century BC during the rule of Periander. From the height of the Temple of Aphrodite/Diana on the pinnacle of Acrocorinth one can look down and see the Isthmus of Corinth, Lechaion and Cenchrae and get a sense of the significance of Corinth for shipping and commerce in both the Greek and Roman periods. At Cenchrae we will have a Eucharist before we return to our hotel in Athens where we are free to pack and relax before dinner, an overnight
Early morning departure back to the States.