2018 St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise (SOLD OUT)

19 October 2018 to 28 October 2018

Watch the entire full length pilgrimage video below.
You can also download it in HD here.

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We visit 9 biblical sites following St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

These are the biblical sites (not counting other islands and cities): Athens, Corinth, Thessaloniki, Kavala (Neapolis), Philippi, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete, Ephesus and with the extension, Rome.

Rome extension Oct 28-31, 2018

Prices vary due to the cabin you choose if you want the Rome Extension and other factors.

For pricing options see the brochure below or contact the Pilgrimage Department at Corporate Travel:

Phone: 866.468.1420   Fax: 313.565.3621   E-mail: elizzio@ctscentral.net.

Steve and Janet Ray are with the group every step of the way. Steve will be giving his talks at the sites and be guiding you through the Bible. Our local guides in each city will provide the local history and color.

Daily Mass and great meals. Fellow-minded, enthusiastic Catholics and several great priests. One of the priests is Fr. Robert Cole from St. Katharine’s Parish in New Hampshire and the other priest is Fr. Gregory Plow TOR from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

 

 

ITINERARY FOR THE CRUISE

October 19, 2018 | Depart USA*
Depart USA on overnight flights to Greece.

October 20, 2018 | Athens, Greece*
Arrive in Athens. Meet Steve and Janet Ray and your Greek tour manager and start half day tour of Athens visiting Mars Hill (Acts 17) and the Parthenon. Celebrate Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius. Overnight in Athens. (D)

October 21, 2018 | Corinth, Greece*
Breakfast at the hotel. Tour ancient Corinth and celebrate an outdoor Mass at the Bema where Paul was tried. Visit the ruins of the ancient city where Paul lived including the Agora, Roman Odeon, and magnificent Temple of Apollo. Steve will show you the Erastus Stone off the beaten track and give a talk on how this confirms the truth of Scripture. Visit the museum and have lunch at the famous Corinthian Isthmus. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight. (B|D)

October 22, 2018 | Embark Cruise | Patmos, Greece*
Early breakfast at hotel and depart for cruise port in Piraeus to embark Celestyal Olympia (a modest cruise ship, see page 4 for details). Mass on the ship. Set sail for Mykonos arriving at 6pm. Enjoy free time in port this evening. Ship departs at 11pm. (B|L|D)

October 23, 2018 | Kusadasi/Ephesus, Turkey | Patmos, Greece*
EPHESUS: Drive through the colorful town of Kusadasi to Ephesus and arrive at Mt. Koressos. We will visit the House of the Virgin Mary where she lived while St. John was the bishop of Ephesus. Next our guided tour of ancient Ephesus will take us meandering through one of the most magnificent ancient excavations in the world. See the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the Temple of Hadrian and the stone-seat latrines and the Library of Celsus (where we will take a group picture). Steve will give short talks at both the “ancient brothal advertisement” and The Great Theatre with 24,000 seats. We will also see the ruins of the Church of the Virgin Mary where the Third Ecumenical Council of the Church declared Mary to be the “Theotokos,” the Mother of God. Steve will explain why that is so important. Mass on the ship between stops.

PATMOS: Return to the ship at 1pm and enjoy some down time as we set sail for Patmos. Upon arriving in port at 5:45pm, we will visit St. John’s Monastery and the Grotto of the Apocalypse, where St. John received his apocalyptic vision of Revelation. Ship departs at 9:30pm. (B|L|D)

October 24, 2018 | Rhodes, Greece*
Spend all day in Rhodes, starting at 7am. Tour includes visits to the Medieval walls, the Acropolis of Lindos, Citadel of the Knights, and Temple of Athena. Stop at sites that were important in Paul’s visit to Rhodes. Mass on the island, location TBA. Ship departs at 6pm. (B|L|D)

October 25, 2018 | Crete, Greece | Santorini, Greece*
Arrive in port at 7am. Today’s tour will highlight sites related to Paul’s journey here. Ship departs at Noon. Celebrate Mass on the ship between ports today. This afternoon, enjoy free time while the ship is in port in Santorini between 4:30-9:30pm. No planned tours of Santorini. (B|L|D)

October 26, 2018 | Disembark Cruise | Thessaloniki, Greece*
After disembarking cruise ship, transfer to Athens airport for flight to Thessaloniki. Arrive and tour city including stops at the White Tower, St. Demetrius Church and the Trigoniou Tower (time permitting). Celebrate Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Dinner at the hotel and overnight in Thessaloniki. (B|D)

October 27, 2018 | Kavala, Greece*
Tour Ancient Philippi, where Paul first preached on European soil. See ruins of the first Basilica in Greece, the Forum, Walls, and jail where Paul and Sylas were imprisoned. Steve will give his short talk on salvation where the Philippian jailer asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved? ” (Acts 16:30). Celebrate Mass outdoors on the river where Paul’s first European convert named Lydia was baptized. Continue to Kavala, see the port of Neapolis where Paul landed after sailing from Troas to Macedonia. Return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight. (B|D)

Mass at hotel for those returning to USA to fulfill Sunday obligation.

October 28, 2018 | Cruise-only passengers return to USA*
This morning, transfer to airport for flights back to USA


OPTIONAL ROME EXTENSION
  October 28, 2018

Transfer to airport for flight to Rome. Upon arriving, meet your Italian tour manager. Visit St. Clemente’s Church with its tombs of Apostolic Fathers Ignatius and Clement and 1st century excavations beneath. Continue to Mass and visit St. John Lateran, the Mother Church of the World with St. Peter’s Chair. Dinner at the hotel and overnight in Rome. (D)

October 29, 2018 – Christian Rome
Begin your morning by celebrating Mass at St. Peter’s tomb or Tomb of St. JPII (pending confirmation). Then, enjoy a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica where Michelangelo’s “Pieta” will be just one of the highlights. Continue to the Tre Fontane Abbey, where Paul was beheaded. Visit St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, where his bones are today. Italian dinner and overnight in Rome. (B|D)

October 30, 2018
Visit ancient Rome including Capitol Hill, the Roman Forum, and Coliseum. Free time around St. Peters for shopping and exploring. Farewell dinner and overnight in Rome. (B|D)

October 31, 2018 – Return to USA
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to airport for return flights to USA.





Journal

Long Awaited Brochure for our St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise & Pilgrimage

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 2.43.30 PMWe finally have the pricing and final itinerary for our St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise & Pilgrimage this Fall. We will visit 10 biblical sites related to St. Paul, St. John and the Blessed Virgin Mary – not counting the post-cruise pilgrimage through Rome.

Here is a list of the sites we will visit:

Athens, Corinth, Philippi, Thessaloniki, Berea, Kavala (biblical Neopolis), Ephesus, Island of Patmos, Rhodes and Crete. All of these sites are mentioned in the New Testament.

We will have Mass at Mary’s House in Ephesus, outdoors where Paul was tried in Corinth, in the Cathedral of Thessaloniki, at the River Zagatis in Philippi where Paul baptized his first European convert Lydia and more.

See our website HERE and the brochure HERE.


Athens! Group Arrives to Climb Acropolis, See Parthenon & St. Paul’s Mars Hill

The majority of our group arrived at 1:30 PM at the Athens International Airport. Quick tour of Athens before climbing the Acropolis to see the Parthenon.

My favorite place in Athens is Mars Hill (Aereopagus) which is mentioned in the Bible, book of Acts chapter 17 where St. Paul gives a presentation to the Aereopogites. Fascinating passage where St. Paul teaches us how to evangelize our own current age.

Then Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Dionysius, first bishop of Athens (Acts 17:35). You can hear/see the homily here. Then we walked to a delicious dinner and checked into our hotel. Enjoy!


Corinth All Day! One of my favorite days of the cruise

This is one of my favorite days of the cruise. Corinth is such a fabulous biblical site. We filmed here extensively for our documentary “Paul, Contending for Faith.”

St.Paul lived here for 18 months and wrote them at least three letters. It was an immoral city and in literature to “corinthianize” meant to corrupt. A “Corinthian Girl” was a harlot. Paul has a big job to do here!

I gave two talks here: 1) Intro to Corinth (see below), and 2) The Erastus Stone & Trurh of Scripture.”

Beautiful weather, great folks, unique outdoor Sunday Mass (homily here) — a banner day!

STEVE’S INTRO TO CORINTH AND PAUL’S LETTER


Boarding the Ship, Mass on High Seas and Mykonos Greece

After a great two days in Athens and Corinth this morning we boarded our ship, the Olympia. We headed out into the Mediterranean Sea and set course for Mykonos or everyone will have the evening to enjoy and explore the island.

We also had Mass on the ship. The homily was marvelous — and you can see/hear the homily here. Enjoy!


Cruise Day 4: Ephesus & Island of Patmos

Today is one of my favorite days of the cruise along with Corinth which we visited two days ago. Today we visit Ephesus where Paul lived for two years and where the 4th Ecumenical Council took place.

We start our time in Ephesus by going to Mary’s House on the side of the mountain. She lived here for a period of time while St. John was the Bishop of Ephesus. We had Mass at Mary’s House. You can listen to Fr. Gregory’s excellent Marian homily here.

Then, after a free afternoon on the ship, we arrived in the evening to the Island of Patmos where St. John was exiled because of the gospel and his testimony of Jesus Christ. The Book of Revelation was written while he was on this island. We visit the cave where he lived during his stay here.

Video 1 is Ephesus and Video 2 is Island of Patmos. Enjoy!

EPHESUS

ISLAND OF PATMOS


Cruise Day 5: Rhodes and Steve’s Talk on St. Paul

Rhodes is a biblical site mentioned in Acts 21:1 where St. Paul stopped on his 3rd Missionary Journey. Private Mass at Santa Maria Catholic Church in Ialysos, Rhodes and you can hear the homily here.

I was able to make the arduous climb all of the way to the top of the acropolis with about 12 others in the pouring rain and the wind blowing hard enough to knock you off the mountain so that I can get pictures of the port of St. Paul where he arrived 2000 years ago.

We took a tour of ancient Rhodes in the archaeological site on our way back to the ship. Return to the ship for lunch and a free rest of the day. There’s a lot to do on the ship and people are enjoying themselves. I also gave my talk “The Life and Ministry of St. Paul” at 5:00 before we had dinner. Enjoy Rhodes!


Islands of Crete & Santorini; free time on the ship

Today we landed in Heraklion in Crete, Greece’s largest island. According to Greek mythology it was the birthplace  of Zeus, the head of the gods. But for us, the most important thing is that St. Paul was on this island at least twice and established the church here. He later left Titus on Crete to put things in order and to appoint bishops.

We started off with Mass at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. It’s always a challenge to find a Catholic Church because this country is almost exclusively Greek Orthodox. You can hear/see Fr. Gregory‘s excellent homily here.

We then toured the archaeological site of Knossos. After our time on the island of Crete everyone had a whole afternoon free to nap, go to the ship’s shows or any of the other activities that are available on the ship.

In the late afternoon at 4:30 PM we landed at the island of Santorini where most everyone disembarked to experience this beautiful and exotic Greek island. The ship departed at 9:30 PM and we’re heading back to Athens.


Busy Day from Athens to Thessaloniki

We disembark the ship at 7:00 AM gathered our luggage and boarded the bus for downtown Athens. Everyone had 3 to 4 hours of free time to enjoy the restaurants and shops and ambience of this ancient city.

We boarded our plane and headed on the short flight to Thessaloniki after which we boarded our bus and did a tour of this biblical area in northern Greece.  We had Mass at the Thessaloniki Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. You can hear/see Fr. Cole‘s homily here.

After a good dinner at the hotel will be nestled in for the night ready to visit Philippi tomorrow morning. Enjoy!


Thessaloniki to Philippi

We drove just under two hours to Philippi from our very nice hotel in Thessaloniki. We have two sites to visit today which are both related to St. Paul. The first is Philippi where we will tour of the ancit site and see the prison where Paul and Silas were chained (Acts 16). Will also have Mass on the river where he baptized his first European convert named Lydia. Fr. Gregory’s homily.

Then we visited Kavala which is the modern name of ancient Neapolis where Paul first set foot on European soil.

We then flew back to Athens for a very short night before everyone flies home or to Rome or other destinations. It’s been a great pilgrimage! These videos will continue with the contingent that is going with Janet and I for three days to Rome.


Arrival in Rome

Most of our group returned back to the United States today but smaller contingency of us continued on to Rome. We boarded the Aegean Airline flight from Athens for the two hour flight. We started the day with Mass of San Stefano Rotondo. Fr. Cole’s homily here.

Lunch (wow, back in Italy with the best food in the world!) A tour underground at San Clemente, which is one of my favorite churches because it has the bones of two of my favorite Apostolic Fathers: St. Ignatius of Antioch St. Clement of Rome. Then to the Mother Church of the world, St. John Lateran with the papal chair. I also do a talk on the amazing typology around the name of the church on both sides and show all of the amazing relics the church contains that very few people know about.

Checking into our Michelangelo Hotel and dinner at The Goose. Enjoy!


Rome 2: St. Peters Basilica, Martyrdom and Bones of St. Paul

We started today with Mass at St. Peter’s in the Hungarian Chapel. It was nice and quiet and private, down in the Crypt with the tombs of all the popes. You can hear/see Fr. Cole’s excellent homily here.

Then we followed the footprints of Saint Paul to the place where he was martyred and I gave my short talk on the end of Paul‘s life.

Then we went to The Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls where he is buried, which is the 2nd largest church in Rome.

Everyone had the afternoon free to explore and do what they wanted to do including shopping and resting and praying. Dinner at La Pilotta which is one of our favorite restaurants. Enjoy!


Rome 3: Peter in Chains, Roman Forum, Colosseum and more

Our last day of the cruise and extension to Rome. Tomorrow morning we all head back home. But today was an exciting day to put the frosting on the cake.

We started out with Mass at the Church of St. Peter in Chains. (Fr. Cole’s homily here.) This church contains two sets of chains that fused together. One that bound Peter in Jerusalem and the other that bound him in Rome. When they came together they joined miraculously. You doubt it? I don’t!

Today we are emphasizing ancient Rome by walking through the Roman Forum and discussing the ancient history that laid the foundation for Christianity. Then we’ll go into the massive Colosseum which was built by slaves captured in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. It was completed in 80 HD and even today is magnificent. This is where Saint Ignatius of Antioch, one of my favorite church fathers, was eaten by lions in 107 AD.

Free afternoon and other fun things before a great dinner at Schiavi D’ Abruzzo which is one of our favorite restaurants in Rome. Enjoy!


Steve’s 6-Minute Perspective on St. Peter’s in Rome

This was my spontaneous explanation to my group of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. I shared the story of my first visit here as a Catholic. It’s only 6 minutes long.