Greece and Malta Pilgrimage
Spiritual Director: Fr. Patrick Keane
May 17 – 28, 2024
Thessaloniki · Phillippi · Kavala · Meteora · Kalambaka · Delphi · Corinth · Athens
Thessaloniki · Phillippi · Kavala · Meteora · Kalambaka · Delphi · Corinth · Athens
Your trip includes
- Lunches, Tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1 | Friday, May 17: Depart for Greece
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 | Saturday, May 18: Arrive Thessaloniki
Upon landing at Makedonia Thessaloniki Airport, 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 and this evening enjoy a delicious meal. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
Day 3 | Sunday, May 19: Philippi - Kavala - Thessaloniki
After breakfast, start your journey in Greece with the first stop of the day in Philippi. Philippi was the city 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 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) in which 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 a delicious meal and restful overnight.
Day 4 | Monday, May 20: Thessaloniki City Tour - Kalambaka
Start your 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 artifacts, 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 honor the Roman Emperor Galerius following the Roman victory over the Persians. Following your city-tour, transfer to Kalambaka. This evening, you will have a wonderful meal and a relaxing overnight in Kalambaka.
Day 5 | Tuesday, May 21: Meteora - Delphi
After breakfast, you 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 breathtaking scenery that surrounds the Monastery. Continue to Delphi for dinner and an overnight.
Day 6 | Wednesday, May 22: 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 an overnight at your hotel in Athens.
Day 7 | Thursday, May 23: Athens - Excursion to Corinth
After a nice breakfast at the hotel, you 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. As a result, 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. Following your visit to Corinth, return to Athens for a delicious meal and an overnight.
Day 8 | Friday, May 24: Athens - Malta
After breakfast, depart to Athens airport for Valetta, Malta. Upon arrival, collect your luggage from baggage claims and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where you’ll be met by a tour guide and/or driver and transferred to your hotel. Later, your guide will tell you about St. Paul and Christianity in the Maltese Islands. You will attend Mass at a local church before dinner at your hotel.
Day 9 | Saturday, May 25: Malta - The Three Cities - Valletta
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for a full-day guided excursion to the Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea, where in 1530 the Knights of St. John settled on the east coast in the creeks of Grand Harbor. Next, see the Miraculous Statue of Jesus Christ the Redeemer in the Oratory of the Basilica, dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary in Senglea. Later, take a typical harbor boat tour from Vittoriosa across the Grand Harbor to Valletta and see its waterfront. You will also see St. Johns Co-Cathedral and Museum in Valletta, and visit the oratory, which houses the famous Caravaggio paintings. Dinner and a restful overnight.
Day 10 | Sunday, May 26: Malta - Mellieha - Gozo
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for a full day’s guided excursion to Gozo, a sister island of Malta. Here you’ll visit the Mellieha Sanctuary of Our Lady, a Marian Shrine. The sanctuary was blessed by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Malta in 1990. The Sanctuary enjoys a picturesque view of the Valley of Our Lady, Mellieha Bay, Comino and Gozo. Later, see Munxar Parish Church, a Baroque style building dedicated to St. Paul, the Gozo Cathedral of the Assumption, and St. George’s Basilica, known as the golden church of the “marble Basilica” of Gozo. The relics of St. Clement rest in the Baroque alter in the side chapel of St. Lazarus, one of eleven side chapels within the Basilica. Next, visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’Pinu, Malta’s most important pilgrimage site. The narrow rooms on either side of the alter are full of testaments of the local belief in the intercession of Our Lady. Lastly, return by ferry to Malta, and enjoy dinner and an overnight at your hotel.
Day 11 | Monday, May 27: Malta - St. Paul’s Bay - Mosta - Mdina - Rabat
After breakfast at your hotel, another full day’s guided touring awaits. See St. Paul’s Bay by boat, the Church of the Assumption of our Lady, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Museum in Mdina, the medieval walled city, the Bastions, St. Paul’s Catacombs, and St. Paul’s Grotto. St. Paul’s Grotto is said to be the place where St. Paul took refuge and prayed for three months while trying to convert the Maltese to Christianity following his shipwreck around 60 AD. Pope John Paul prayed in the grotto during his visit in 1990. Return to Malta for dinner and your last overnight.
Day 12 | Tuesday, May 28: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to the airport for your return flights home.
*206 Tours Disclaimer:
Occasionally local religious and national holidays, weather, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of events or the missing of certain events/places. Though every effort will be made to follow the itinerary, it should be considered as an indication, rather than a contract of events and places to be visited.
About your trip
About Greece and Saint Paul
The important role that Greece has played in history is widely known; philosophy, the arts, medicine, democracy. But there is also a great page in the history of Christianity: early days of Christianity and the ministry of the Apostle Paul! This amazing man, moved by the Holy Spirit preached “good news” to Jews and Gentiles. Traveling along the major trade routes of the Roman empire and visiting large thriving communities of Asia Minor and Greece his mission was accomplished; Christianity became the biggest religion in the world. Our tours are not just tours; they are an inspiring journey to the actual places where the Apostle Paul lived and preached God’s word. Travel with our bible-oriented guides down timeless roads; take time to pray and rejoice in the ancient biblical sites; visit thousand-year-old Churches and temples; and encounter a unique spiritual experience that will help you to better understand “The Steps of Paul” selecting bible-oriented guides, incorporating lectures and providing printed material, for people to achieve a deeper understanding of the Apostle Paul and his work.