Journeys of Paul in Turkey & Greece
2022 Central Territory Biblical Education Tour
Fit to Travel Requirement:
Passengers registering for the tour accept the responsibility for being in good health and able to walk and travel on the tour. Because many sites are not accessible to the physically challenged, those needing assistance will find the tour extremely limiting in their experience.
The following is a tentative itinerary for the upcoming tour- locations and dates on which they appear are subject to change.
March 7 – Depart USA
Your pilgrimage begins as you board your international flight for Thessaloniki, Greece.
March 8 – Arrive in Greece: You will arrive in Thessaloniki, Greece, where you will be met by our representative. Discover Thessaloniki, where Paul was accused of turning the world upside down with his preaching of Christ (Acts 17: 3-6). See St. George’s Basilica, believed to be built over the synagogue where Paul preached, reflect on the two epistles the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church here. Along the Via Egnatia stands the Galerus Arch, and you can look out over the second largest city in Greece from the Old City Ramparts, some dating back to Roman times. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
March 9 – AMPHIPOLIS, PHILIPPI, and NEAPOLI (KEVALA): Follow in the footsteps of Paul and Silas to Amphipolis and explore the ruins of the many Christian basilicas there. In Philippi is a baptismal site commemorating where God opened the heart of Lydia (a seller of purple from Thyatira) to hear the words of Paul (Acts 16:13-15). Lydia and her household were the first Christian converts baptized on European soil. View the Roman-era crypt thought to have served as a prison for the apostle Paul, and explore Philippi’s famous Acropolis, Market Place, the Basilica of Paul, and Theater. Today’s last stop is Neapolis (Kavala), one of Greece’s most picturesque mainland ports where Paul landed with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. See the Roman Aqueduct and Acropolis before returning to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
March 10 – BEREA and METEORA: Follow the path of Paul when he fled Thessaloniki for the safety of Veria (Berea), where Jews and some honorable Greeks accepted the new faith (Act 17: 10-12). Travel south to the interior of Greece where you will visit the rock forest of Meteora (“in the heavens above”) in western Thessaly, imagine the apostle Paul walking that treacherous terrain on his missionary journey. Gaze up at the breath-taking Byzantine monasteries spectacularly perched on soaring, sheer-sided grey sandstone pillars. In the 13th century, monks sought refuge in cliff-side caves before fleeing higher to build the original wooden shelters that later became these monasteries. Overnight in Kalambaka
March 11 – CORINTH: In Corinth, the city where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla, the tent makers, and where the Lord spoke to Paul by a vision saying, “I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18: 10). Here, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue believed in the Lord, and many Corinthians as well hearing Paul, believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8); thus, began the church at Corinth to whom Paul wrote two epistles. Visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place and Temples. Walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood before Gallio facing charges brought by the Jews that were dropped. Travel to Athens for dinner and overnight.
March 12 – ATHENS: Enjoy the architectural splendors of the ancient city of Athens as you follow your guide to the world-renowned Acropolis, the Propylaea, the Parthenon, and the Erectheum. View Mars Hill where the apostle Paul stood and said, ” I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23). See the Agora, the ancient marketplace and center of the Athenian public life, where the apostle Paul preached “Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18) to the skeptical Athenians. Also see the House of Parliament, the Presidential Palace, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This afternoon fly to the Cappadocia region of Turkey.
March 13 – CAPPADOCIA: You will explore Cappadocia where amazing cone-shaped rock formations create a fairy-tale landscape. Pre-historic farmers were attracted by the remarkably fertile white soil. Because the stone hardens when exposed to air, generations have carved dwellings in the soft rock faces. As you explore, you will discover that, even today, people make their homes in the cliffs and rock cones of Cappadocia. It is estimated that over 3000 rock churches exist in the region. You will visit the Rock Chapels of Goreme, the Cave Village of Avcilar, and the Monastic Complex of Zelve.
March 14 – ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA: Today you will drive west through the Turkish countryside with a visit to Antioch in Pisidia. In Antioch of Pisidia, Paul preached his first recorded sermon (Acts 13:14-52). While his speech was well-received, he ran into opposition from some in Lystra. He and Barnabas were forced out of town. As a result, they symbolically “shook off the dust from their feet” and left (Acts 13:40-1). Continue to Pamukkale, meaning “Cotton Castle”, named for the limestone-laden hot springs which cascade from one white-edged terrace pool to the next, for overnight.
March 15 – COLOSSAE, LAODICEA, and HIERAPOLIS: Famous as the receiver of Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, the town of Colossae has fallen into obscurity. While you can still see traces of the theatre, the Necropolis and the church, the ancient city is mostly indistinguishable ruins. The Christians of Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches (Rev. 3: 14-22), were chastised for being lukewarm, and for being too comfortable incorporating pagan and Christian beliefs. In the famous scripture from Revelation (3: 20-21), Jesus says to the Laodicean church: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock . . . “. Today, there are many acres of ruins to see, including the stadium and columned streets. Paul mentions Hierapolis in his Letter to the Colossians in saluting Epaphras, a fellow laborer, for his love of the brethren there (Colossians 4: 13). The ruins cover more than a mile. You will see the impressive amphitheater with seats still in perfect condition. You will see the City Gates, column-lined streets and arches, which have stood through time and earthquakes. Overnight in Pamukkale.
March 16 – PHILADELPHIA, SARDIS, and IZMIR: Visit the site of Philadelphia also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 3: 7-13). Christ told those who overcame that He would write upon them “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem.” (Rev.3: 12) Today, not much is left to mark the spot. You will see an ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine basilica. Travel to Sardis, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Jesus told Sardis, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead”(Rev. 3: 1-6). You will be impressed by the massive scale of the Temple of Artemis, by the white marble Royal Road, by the gymnasium, and by the synagogue. The third largest city in modern Turkey is Izmir, long a center for Jewish and Christian communities. In Paul’s day, the town was known as Smyrna. It was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 2: 8-11). You will see the Agora, the colonnaded commercial center where Roman statues can still be seen. Overnight in Izmir area.
March 17 – PERGAMUM (BERGAMA) and THYATIRA (AKHISAR): Pergamum was another of the seven churches mentioned in Revelations (Rev. 2: 12). The fabled Acropolis towers 1000 feet above the town and commands a spectacular panorama. As you pass through the Royal Gates, you will enter one of the great centers of classic Greek culture. You will see the foundations of the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Athena, and the ruins of the Library which once held 200,000 parchment volumes. You will see the remains of the Temple of Trajan, the Grand Theater, the Gymnasium, and the Health Center (Aesclepion). Visit Thyatira once a busy trading center. Today, it is famous for Persian rugs. Thyatira, one of the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelations, tolerated the false prophetess, Jezebel (Rev. 1: 11; 2: 18-29). Overnight in the Izmir area.
March 18 – EPHESUS: Ephesus is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 1: 11). In ancient days, Ephesus was a bustling port town of 250,000, graced with wide, colonnade bordered streets. Today, you will be impressed with the spectacular excavations of the major streets of ancient Ephesus. You will view the Library and the huge Agora. The Temple of Artemis was declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today, only a single column remains to mark the site. Travel to the airport in Izmir to begin your flight back to the USA or continue to the Rome extension.
March 19 – Return to the USA/Extension to Rome
March 19 – Depart Izmir and journey to Rome. Visit the Catacombs, Appian Way, St Paul Outside the Walls, and the Pantheon.
March 20 – Ancient Rome, Colosseum, Campidoglio, the Forum, Circus Maximus, Arch of Titus, Baths of Carcalla, Monti Region, Victor Emmanuel Monument
March 21 – Christian Rome, the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s Frescoes March 22 – Return to the USA