FOS Tours & Travel

Greece

Monasteries & Churches
September 19-29, 2011
Escorted by: his Grace, Bishop MELCHESIDEK

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 2011 PITTSBURGH – NEW YORK – ATHENS
Depart from Pittsburgh International Airport for Athens, Greece via Delta Airlines.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 20011 ATHENS
10:35am arrive in Athens.  After passport control and custom formalities, your guide will meet you and then transfer you to the hotel for check-in.  Time to relax and freshen up prior to your meeting with the Archbishop of Athens.

Byzantine Museum

Byzantine Museum

2:00pm travel by coach to the headquarters of the Holy Synod (Pataki Monastery) and meet with the Archbishop of Athens.  Afterwards, tour the monastery.  On your return to the hotel, enjoy a city panoramic orientation tour of Athens; one of the oldest cities in the world. Your panoramic tour will include such sights as, the Panatheneum Stadium where the first Olympic Games took place in 1896.  Pass by the Museum of Cycladic Art, home to ancient Aegean artifacts; you will also see the Byzantine Museum, War Museum, the National Gallery and the Prime Minister’s residence.  You will also see the ex-Royal Palace, guarded by the colorful Evzons, where our bus will stop for a photo opportunity and then we continue on and see the Zappion Garden, the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, a monumental gateway resembling a Roman triumphal arch and St. Paul’s Church as well as both the old and new Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Constitution Square and other famous sites.   Dinner is at the hotel.  The evening is at leisure to walk around the Plaka area, which is walking distance from your hotel.   D

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 ATHENS

Panoramic view of the city of Athens

Panoramic view of the city of Athens

Today, you will visit the Byzantine Museum.  This afternoon we continue our tour to Ancient Corinth. Here, under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, St. Paul preached and lived for two years. The vigorous and mostly Gentile Church he founded here in 50 AD caused him much grief and prompted him to write, at least, four letters to them. Visit the ruins of the ancient city where Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla. See the remains of the first century shops, the agora where Paul’s trial by Gallio took place, the Fountain of Peirene, Temple of Apollo and the Bema. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight.  B, D

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 ATHENS – METEORA – KALAMBAKA
This morning we drive to Meteora through Thebes, where we will visit the tomb of St. Luke and one of the icons’s by the hand of St. Luke, and then continue to the 11th century Byzantine Monastery of Ossios Loukas. Continue to Kalambaka via Triakala.  Dinner and overnight in Kalambaka.

Meteora Monastery on top of the rocks

Meteora Monastery on top of the rocks

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 KALAMBAKA
Today, we will visit the three most important monasteries in Meteora. Great Meteoron, the largest of all of the local monasteries, is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ. It was built in the second half of the 14th century. The second site that we will visit this morning will be the monastery of Varlaam, which is located near the Great Meteoron and was establish in the mid 14th century by a monk named Varlaam. Two centuries later, the humble hermit’s refuge was much expanded and then decorated by Theban iconographers. In addition to splendid frescoes, the monastery also offers a small but very interesting museum where visitors can see medieval manuscripts and precious Byzantine icons. If time permits, visit to St. Stephen’s Church. After lunch, continue exploring the area with a visit to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church in the town of Kalambaka. The present church dates back from the 12th century, but it was built on top of a Paleo-Christian church. Our final visit today will be to the convent of St. Stephen. Originally it was built in the 14th century but was expanded in the 19th century. The nuns keep their facilities in a perfect shape with numerous ongoing projects to improve the convent. Late in the afternoon return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.  B, D

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 KALAMBAKA – KARDITSA
Today we visit the village and churches of Karditsa and the Monasteries of the Pindos in Kastraki.   Dinner and overnight at the Mouzaki Palace hotel in Karditsa.   An audience with the Metropolitan in Karditsa. B, D

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 KALAMBAKA – VERGINA – BEREA –  THESSALONIKI

King Phillip’s tomb in Vergina

King Phillip’s tomb in Vergina

Divine Liturgy followed by an audience with the Metropolitan of Karditsa.  Traveling northward into Macedonia we visit King Phillip’s (Alexander’s father) tomb in Vergina, one of the most outstanding finds in all of Greece. A stop will be made in Berea to view the ancient synagogue where Paul spoke and the Bema surrounded by mosaics of Paul and the plaque of scripture regarding the “more noble” church. Driving through town we see remnants of the original Roman road that spanned the nation during Paul’s time. A stop will be made near Veria to see visit the Monastery of the Panagia Soumela.   En route to the hotel we will view the old city ramparts; the newly excavated Forum, St. George Church, an ancient Roman monument which was transformed into a church and the Galerius Arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia. We spend four nights here.  Dinner is at your hotel in Thessaloniki.  L (boxed lunch), D

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 THESSALONIKI

Church of St. Demetrius, Thessaloniki

Church of St. Demetrius, Thessaloniki

Early morning start with a drive to the “Upper town,” where the complex of medieval fortifications that so effectively guarded the city from multiple barbarian incursions is preserved. Haghia Sophia, the old Cathedral and Palymas Theodore. From here, we walk down through the web of narrow and charming streets to see the Chapel, Vlatadon Monastery, the church of Hosios David, where you will see a splendid mosaic of Christ with various depictions based on the Old Testament, and the church of St. Nicholas Orfanos’ great Pagnagioko.  The Churches of St. Demetrius and St. Theodosius.   In the afternoon we will continue the exploration of the city center, where we will visit numerous monuments from the Byzantine period. Most interesting among them are the Church of the 12 Apostles, the churches of the Transfiguration and St. Catherine and others from the late Byzantine period.  Dinner is at the hotel.  B, D

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 THESSALONIKIORMYLIA
Today, we visit the Sacred Convent of the Annunciation in Ormylia, is a large women’s monastic community with over 120 nuns.  Spend some time at the Monastery before returning to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.  B, D

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 THESSALONIKIPHILIPPI
We begin the day by following the massive battlement Byzantine wall to the citadel for a panoramic view of the city. Next, we will visit Philippi and Kavala. Kavala is Greece’s prettiest mainland port with a most elegant harbor. Paul landed here with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. Luke, the Evangelist, also came here from Troas. This ancient city of Neapolis was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. Imagine walking on the same sod as these men of the Bible! We will see the Roman Aqueduct and the ruins of the Acropolis in this beautifully located city, known since the 5th century as Kavala. Continue on to Philippi where Paul preached his first evangelical sermon and baptized the first Christians on European soil. We will view the baptismal site where Lydia surrendered her life to Christ and visit a crypt dating from the Roman period that is thought to have served as a prison for Paul. See the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica, and the Theatre.   Board a ferry for a cruise around Mt. Athos – for a sea view of some 20 monasteries on the Mt. Athos peninsular.   Return to Thessaloniki and visit St. Demetrius basilica, and some free time before returning to the hotel for the evening. Evening dinner in a local restaurant. B, D

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 THESSALONIKI – ATHENS – PITTSBURGH
Depart from ThessaloniKI to Athens by Aegina Airways and then Delta for Pittsburgh.

B – Breakfast
L – Lunch
D – Dinner

TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Round-trip economy air transportation from Pittsburgh to Athens via Delta or similar carrier
  • All ground transfers from the airport to hotels by deluxe motor-coach
  • All ground transportation by deluxe air-conditioned motor-coach
  • 9 nights hotel accommodations in first-class hotels with private facilities
    2 nights in Athens: Divani Palace Hotel
    3 nights in Kalambaka area
    4 nights in Thessalonica:
  • 19 Meals: 9 breakfast, 1 lunch, 9 dinners
  • All sightseeing as listed in the itinerary
  • Boat ride around the Mt. Athos
  • Services of an English-speaking guide on tours
  • Hotel taxes, service charges and baggage handling of one piece of luggage per person
  • Airline departure taxes and fuel surcharge are included
  • Group Cancellation and Trip Insurance

Each sharing a twin room: $3,695
Single hotel room supplement:  $675.00

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED:

  • Gratuities to Greek escorts, drivers and local guides
  • Beverages with lunches or dinners (unless otherwise noted)
  • Items of a personal nature

PASSPORTS & VISA INFORMATION:

All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. Passport valid for three months upon return to the U.S.

  1. Passenger # 1
  2. Passenger # 2
  3. Passenger # 3
  4. Passenger # 3
  5. ADDRESS
  6. (valid email required)
  7. Accommodations:
  8. Terms and Conditions

 

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