13 Days Pilgrimage to Lebanon & Greece from Chicago, IL - May 03 - 15, 2019 - Fr. Constantine Nasr
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13 Days Pilgrimage to Lebanon & Greece from Chicago, IL - May 03 - 15, 2019
Day 1- FRIDAY – DEPARTURE TO GREECE
Depart for your overnight flight to Greece, meals served on board.
Day 2- SATURDAY–Arrival in Thessaloniki – Transfer to Hotel
Upon our arrival in the afternoon at the airport in Thessaloniki, we will be met by our English speaking guide, who will take us by our private air-conditioned motor coach to our Hotel. After check-in, there will be free time for rest and freshen-up before our included group dinner at the hotel.
Day 3- SUNDAY– Thessaloniki – Ampipolis – Kavalas – Phillip – Thessaloniki
After breakfast at the hotel, we will depart for a full-day of sightseeing. Amphipolis - Acts 17:1. Traveling east by coach, pass Apollonia to arrive at Amphipolis and visit part of the extensive site, including the North Wall. See both Beta and Gamma gates, and the remains of the Strymon Bridge. View the 4th century B.C. Lion Statue that was prominent on the ancient Egnatian Way that St. Paul would have traveled. Kavala - Acts 16:11. Stop near the harbor of Kavala (biblical Neapolis), St. Paul’s gateway to Europe, a busy port with a striking castle and an imposing aqueduct built by Suleyman the Magnificent. See Agia Sofia, the Greek Orthodox seaside church that marks Paul’s landing spot. Lunch will be on our own and then we continue our sightseeing tour. Philippi - Acts 16:12-40. As a prosperous Roman colony, Philippi had a spacious forum and Agora, as well as a theater that was also a gladiator arena. Nearby there is a crypt, which has been honored since the fifth century as the place of St. Paul’s first imprisonment, where Paul and Silas sang hymns until an earthquake set them free. Philippi is the place where the Apostle Paul arrived on the mainland of Europe in response to the vision of a Macedonian he saw at Troas. Here in Philippi, St. Paul first preached the Gospel in Europe. Outside the ancient city, the River Gangites still flows through quiet countryside where St. Paul addressed his first European congregations and the businesswoman Lydia, a ‘seller of purple’, was the first to be baptized by him; there is a fine chapel commemorating this event. Return via the coastal road to Thessaloniki and our hotel, with free time to rest and freshen-up before our included group dinner at our hotel.
Day 4- MONDAY – Thessaloniki – Pella – Berea – Vergina – Kalambaka
After breakfast at the hotel, we will check-out and depart for another full day of sightseeing. Thessaloniki - Acts 17:1-9. In Roman times this commercial and military center reached a population of 200,000, becoming the capital of Macedonia. Christian Focus: See the Church of George (Rotonda), built at the end of Roman times, about the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th century AD. It is an important monument of that era, built with bricks and part of the palace complex of Galerius (293-310 AD). Its original use is not clear, possibly was a mausoleum or a temple of eastern deities. In Byzantine times, emperor Theodossios (379-395 AD) was christened in Thessaloniki and turned the building into a Christian church, making many architectural rearrangements. Rotonda was the cathedral church of Thessaloniki for more than 1,100 years. At St. Dimitrios, descend to the crypt where St. Paul is believed to have preached and Dimitrios was later martyred. Pause at the cave and well of St. Paul at the Monastery of Vlattadon and the ‘House of Jason’, built where St. Paul stayed for about three weeks. Depart Thessaloniki and drive west into the mountains to Pella, a royal city of ancient Macedonia and the birthplace of Alexander the Great. Visit the beautiful Houseof the Lion Hunt and view the outstanding mosaics preserved in its museum. There is free time for lunch on our own in town before continuing with our sightseeing to Berea, Acts 17:10-15. Approach Mount Vermion and Veria, (biblical Berea) to see the Hellenic tower and walls, St. Paul’s Steps, commemorating the willing audience the apostle found amongst both Jews and Gentiles and Ayios Christos Church, which marks the growth of the gospel. Then we will continue on to Vergina for a stop to visit the local museum and see the Macedonian Tombs before continuing to Kalambaka and the hotel to check-in with free time to rest and freshen-up before our included group dinner.
Day 5- TUESDAY – Kalambaka – Meteroa – Delphi
After breakfast at the hotel, we will check-out and depart for yet another fantastic day of sightseeing. On the western edge of the Plain of Thessaly, just as the Pindus Mountain Range begins to form, one comes upon a unique phenomenon of nature: 24-perpendicular rocks on which Byzantine monks chose to worship God and built Meteora, their monastic community. The ‘Monasteries Hanging in the Air’ is known for their ancient icons. We will visit two of these stunning mountain locations and then have free time for lunch on our own before continuing on our journey. Driving through the contours of diverse landscape, such as thickly wooded green slopes, hills with pines, oaks, poplars and fast-moving streams separated by flat lands, plateaus and lakes, alternating harmoniously with the countless bays and intricate network of coves, brings us to Delphi and the hotel to check-in, with free time to rest, admire the beautiful scenery and freshen-up before our included group dinner at the hotel.
Day 6-WEDNESDAY – Delphi – Athens
After breakfast at the hotel, we will check-out and visit the ancient sanctuary of the god Apollo, in its dramatic setting on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Visit the impressive archeological site associated with the mythology and history of the ‘Oracle’. Among the many points of interest you will see are the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Doric Temple of Apollo, the Sacred Way, the 5,000 seat theater, where the Delphic Festivals were held, the Stadium, where the Pythian Games took place every four years, the Castalian Fountain, the Sanctuary of Athena and the Tholos Rotunda. A visit to the museum is also included and here on can see, among many other artifacts, the amazing ‘Charioteer’, an ancient bronzed statue. We will then break for lunch at our own expense and then continue to Athens and our hotel with free time to rest and freshen-up before our included group dinner.
Day 7- THURSDAY – Athens – Ancient Corinth – Athens
After breakfast meet our motor coach and local guide, as we begin our half-day city tour. This tour starts at the Dipylon Gate near the ancient Roman Market and then visits the Temple of Hephastos, spending time exploring the Ancient Agora and the rebuilt Stoa of Attalus and its museum, visiting the water-clock of Andronicos and Hadrian’s Library. We will then climb Mars Hill, associated with Paul’s address to the councilors and philosophers of the Areopagus, view St. Paul’s Well and the foundations of the church dedicated to Dionysius the Areopagite, one of St. Paul’s converts (Acts 17:16-34). After visiting the famous Acropolis and the Parthenon, we will continue the tour by visiting the Acropolis Museum and its many artifacts, then continuing on to view the Filopapou Monument, Hadrian’s Arch and the Olympic Stadium. After lunch at our own expense, we will travel to Ancient Corinth (Acts 18:1-18), where St. Paul arrived in A.D. 50-51 to preach the teachings of Christ. Stop at the archeological site housing many statues and artifacts, such as the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Agora, the Bema Courthouse, where St. Paul’s enemies brought him before Gallio, the pavement inscription of Erastus, the Roman Lechaion Road and the Lower Fountain of Peirene. It was here in Corinth that St. Paul wrote First Thessalonians and also, most likely, his Epistle to the Romans. Continue to Athens and cross the Corinth Canal, stopping briefly to learn the history of this famous man-made construction - one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Then return to Athens for dinner, head to the airport for our evening flight to Lebanon.
Day 7- THURSDAY – Departure Greece – Arrival in Lebanon
Upon arrival in Beirut, we will meet our local guide and driver and head directly to our hotel for dinner and overnight
Day 8- FRIDAY -Byblos – Saint Charbel – Jeita Grotto
Breakfast-Visit Byblos (Jbeil), the Phoenician city known to being the oldest continually inhabited town, where you will visit the Crusaders’ castle, the Phoenician temples and the Roman theatre, the Royal Necropolis and enjoy a lovely promenade on the coast next to the port .(Boat trip 30mn ). Time for lunch on your own. Visit to Saint Charbel in Annaya , and continue on the slopes of Mount Lebanon to Jeita Grotto, one of Lebanon’s most unusual tourist attractions, an enormous cavern festooned with every shape and size of stalactite and stalagmite. Back to the hotel
Day 9- SATURDAY - Balamand – Bcharri – Cedars
Breakfast. Visit the monastery of Balamand, the center of the Greek orthodox in the north, continue to Bcharri the hometown of the famous international poet Gebran Khalil Gebran of Lebanese origin. Visit the museum. Continue the tour in the Cedars; known for its beautiful pine trees forest from biblical times lying at an altitude of 1600 to 2000 meters above the sea level. The Cedars area is also known for its winter skiing resort. Back to Ehden for lunch in spring of Mar Sarkis (on your own) . Back to hotel.
Day 10 - SUNDAY - Baalbak – Berdawni – Zahle
Breakfast. Visit to Baalback a marvelous monumental citadel (visit of the big stone, temples of Jupiter, Bacchus, Venus) and have lunch near Berdawni River in Zahle on your own, Continue to our lady of Zahle, back to hotel.
Day 11 - MONDAY - Harrisa – Beirut – Rawcheh – Deir el Kammar
Breakfast. Drive to our Lady of Harrissa and the basilica of saint Paul . Continue to Beirut, stop near the Rawcheh , then the Deir el Kammar , and Beit el Dine - Back to hotel. Dinner in hotel.
Day 12 - TUESDAY – Beirut – Free Day
Breakfast and enjoy a free day at leisure
Day 13 - Wednesday – Departure
Breakfast, and check out. Then Drive to the airport for our flight back home. We will arrive on the same day.
Trip Date: May 03 - 15, 2019
Departure City: Chicago, IL (other cities available)
Package price includes the following:
- Meet & Assist at Airports upon arrivals and departures.
- Eleven nights’ accommodation in double occupancy with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Thirteen days sightseeing in modern air conditioned private bus.
- English speaking government licensed guide on duty.
- All entrance fees to places of interests.
- Round Trip airline ticket.
- Flights tickets Greece to Lebanon.
- All Applicable Taxes and surcharges.
- Spiritual activities.
Package price does not include the following:
- Soft drinks.
- Tips for Guide, Driver.
- All Personal Expenses.
- Travel Insurance.
- Anything that’s not mentioned in included.