The tour will be lead by ABR staff member Gordon Franz and ABR board president Robert Sullivan. Gordan and Rob will lead on-site Bible studies as well as give lectures on the long bus ride between sites. Below is an outline of the itinerary, God willing.
Day 1, March 18
We will meet at JFK airport on the first day for our afternoon departure at 1:55 PM on Turkish Air to Istanbul.
Day 2, March 19
We arrive early morning, 5:45 AM, at Istanbul airport and depart for Thessaloniki at 1:15 PM. Our short flight get’s us into Thessaloniki at 2:35 PM. Our guide, James Nikolopoulos, and a driver will meet us at the airport and be transferred by bus to Philippi where we will begin our first day of touring.
Day 3, March 20
Our first day of touring begins at the Church of Lydia and Paul and we discuss the meeting of the apostle and seller of purple in this city. We will spend the rest of the morning in the modern city of Kavala, built over the ancient city of Neapolis, where the Apostle Paul and his team first landed in Greece. We will walk a short segment of the ancient Via Egnatia, the Roman Road that went the length of Macedonia. We will view the ancient harbor of Neapolis and then walk to the church dedicated to the landing of Paul in Greece. There will be free time to change money and have lunch in the city. In the early afternoon we return to Philippi and visit the excavations, the archaeological museum, and have an optional hike up the acropolis. Those who do not want to do the hike can return to the hotel, just a short walk from the museum. On this day we will discuss Paul’s ministry in Philippi (Acts 16:11-40); the Book of Philippians; the lives of Lydia: An Open Heart and an Open Home; Epaphroditus: A Gambling Veteran; and Silas: A Faithful and Fearless Man; also the Battle of Philippi: The Battle that Changed the Course of Western Civilization.
Day 4, March 21
In the morning we will follow the modern road that runs along the ancient Via Egnatia, the route the Apostle Paul took to Thessaloniki (Acts 17:1). Our first stop will be Amphipolis to visit the museum and excavations. As we depart, we will visitthe famed lion of Amphipolis. We continue along the Via Egnatia to Apollonia, the city dedicated to the god Apollo. This site is very rarely visited by tourists, mainly because very little has been done archaeologically. At least we can say, “Been there, done that, just like the Apostle Paul!” By mid-afternoon we should be in Thessaloniki, the most important city in northern Greece. At the end of the day we will visit the Church of St. Demetrius and the Agora/Forum that are located within a stone-throw of our Hotel Orestias Kastorias. The evening will be free to explore and have dinner and taste the local cuisine. Breakfast will be on our own, but there is a grocery store right around the corner from the hotel. On this day, we will discuss: “How Beautiful are the Feet” on the Via Egnatia; Paul at Amphipolis; Paul at Apollonia: The City of Apollo; and St. Demetrius.
Day 5, March 22
The day begins with a tour of the Thessaloniki Museum and see artifacts that have a bearing on the books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Paul’s ministry in this city (Acts 17:1-9). We will continue our journey to Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia and the birthplace of Alexander the Great. We will visit the new ar-chaeological museum and see some of the recent artifacts that were excavated at the site, as well as the excavation of this capital city. Our final stop will be the city of Berea (Vorea) and visit the “Altar of St. Paul” and the “modern” synagogue of the city (Acts 17:10-15). We will spend the night in, or near, Berea. On this day we will consider: Paul at Thessaloniki: Synagogue and Scripture; Demas: Lover of this Present World; Aristarchus: Noble Birth, Nobler Pursuit; Pella and Alexander the Great; Macedonia in the Book of Daniel; and Paul at Berea: “They Search the Scriptures Daily.”
Day 6, March 23
It will be a short ride from Berea to Vergina and our visit to the burial mound of Philip II and the theater where he was assassinated by two of his body guards. We will continue to Dion to visit the excavations and museum. It was here that the god Apollo gave Alexander the Great his blessing to have a military campaign against Persia in order to recapture Greek territory. Unbeknownst to Alexander, he was fulfilling Bible prophecy that was predicted by the prophet Daniel. We will continue to the modern city of Larissa where the tomb of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is located. This evening we will spend the night at the Edelweiss Hotel in Kalembaka. On this day we will consider: Vergina and Philip II; Alexander the Great at Dion; and Hippocrates, Plato, and Public Health.
Day 7, March 24
We begin with a drive through Meteora and a visit to one or two monasteries. The monastic movement will be discussed and the lifestyle of the monks considered. We will have an optional hike down the hill to Kalembaka. After lunch we will leave Kalembaka for Thermopylae, where the famous battle took place between the 300 Spartans and the Persian army under Xerxes the Great. The battlefield will be explored before we continue to Delphi and the Hotel Acropole. This hotel is a family run, boutique hotel that has charm and a great view out the back! On this day we will discuss: Meteora: “Suspended in Air”; and the Battle of Thermopylae and the Book of Esther.
Day 8, March 25
As we roll out of bed, it will be Independence Day in Greece! Due to the holiday, parks will be closed. We begin our day by walking along the road through the Delphi excavations. Delphi was considered in Greek mythology to be the center of the earth and had the famed oracle temple of the god Apollo. After departing from Delphi, we will make a short stop in Thebes to visit the Church of St. Luke. Tradition has it that he was buried there and his bones later removed to Constantinople and then on to Italy. Recently, the Vatican returned the rib bone closest to St. Luke’s heart to be reinterred in the church! Our journey will bring us to Corinth to spend the night, but before we stop, we will visit the Corinth Canal and then proceed to Kenchrea (Acts 18:18). After discussing Sister Phoebe (Rom. 16:1-2) we will visit the Diolkos where the ships were dragged over the isthmus. Today we will consider: Delphi: “Navel of the Earth”; the Geology of Delphi; the Gallio Inscription; and Luke the Physician: With “Medicine for the Soul”; Paul at Canchrea: Vow and Hospitality; Phoebe: Sister, Servant, and Patroness of the Church at Canchrea; and finally the Diolkos and the Corinth Canal.
Day 9, March 26
Our focus today will be the ancient city of Corinth. We will begin at Isthmia where athletic games were held. In Ancient Corinth we will start with the Acro-Corinth. There will be an optional hike up to the temple of Aphrodite the goddess of love and beauty. There is a splendid view of the entire Isthmus of Corinth from the top. The museum and Agora of Corinth will be explored as well as a visit to the Erastus Inscription (Acts 18:1-17). At the end of the day we will make our traveling home in Athens for the next three nights There is a lot of Biblical material to discuss and it will include: Paul at Corinth: In the World, but Not of the World; “Go for the Gold!”: Paul and the Isthmian Games; “Meat Offered to Idols”; the lives of Erastus: “Salt and Light” in the Government of Corinth; Titus: “Blessed are the Peacemakers”; Apollos: “Eloquent and Mighty in the Scriptures”; Aquila and Priscilla: “A Godly Marriage for Ministry.”
Day 10, March 27
We have arrived in the capital of democracy and Greek philosophy - Athens. On this day we begin with a visit to the Temple of Zeus below the Acropolis. We will walk to the Theater of Dionysis and then up to the Acropolis where we will spend time visiting this important archaeological site. The morning will end in the ancient Agora (Acts 17:16-34). In the afternoon we will visit the National Archaeological Museum. Our discussion for today will be: Paul at Athens: “Jesus is Infinitely Superior to Zeus”; the Household of Stephanas: “First fruits of Achaia.”
Day 11, March 28
On our final day we will visit sites in the area around Athens. Our first stop will be the Piraeus Museum to see the artifacts that were uncovered in the harbor of Piraeus. We will also view and discuss the Battle of Salamis from Mount Aigaleo where King Xerxes watched his naval fleet be destroyed by the Greek navy. Our final stop will be Elusia where the famed temple of Demeter and the Greek mystery religion is located. The rest of the afternoon will be free to shop and explore in Athens. Our discussions for today will include: Mutiny on the HMS Corinth: “Under-rowers for Captain Jesus”; and Eleusis “The Eleusinian Mysteries.” Other topics to be discussed during the trip will be: The Missionary Activity of the Apostle Paul; “He Sent Them Forth Two-by-Two”; Paul’s Missionary strategy; the Chronology of the Life of the Apostle Paul; and the life of Timothy: “Doing the Work of an Evangelist.”
Day 12, March 29
As we depart from Athens I trust we will have pleasant memories of the people we met on the tour as well as the places we visited. The purpose of this tour is to edify and educate the believer in the Lord Jesus so they have a better understanding of the Word of God and the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul.
Our Turkish Air flight leaves Athens at 10:05 AM and arrives in Istanbul at 11:25. The final leg of our flight departs at 1:25 PM for JFK. We should arrive at JFK at 6:20 PM.