Join us in Beautiful and Exotic Turkey, the 2nd Holy Land where Christianity Grew Up

by Steve Ray on November 10, 2015

Our group in Ephesus last week

If Christianity was born in Israel, it certainly grew up in Turkey!

This makes Turkey, which was once called Asia Minor, the 2nd Holy Land. St. John was bishop of Ephesus and lived here with Mary. St. Paul established churches here, the first Eight Ecumenical Councils took place here and we will see all the locations. St. Paul was born in Turkey and we were first called Christians here in Antioch. And this is only the beginning…

Lunch in Turkey

Many people are afraid to travel to Turkey and visit Istanbul. We just returned from a trip to Turkey and all our 40 pilgrims were delighted with the friendliness, safety, cleanliness and beauty of the city. No one felt the least bit worried or afraid. Do not let an unfounded fear keep you from visiting this modern and sophisticated country which is very Western European. Plus, the food is out of this world delicious!

Click here to see the brochure

Join Steve & Janet Ray on a Jubilee Year of Mercy Pilgrimage to Turkey, the 2nd Holy Land, April 17- 28, 2016. Visit exotic Istanbul seeing the Blue Mosque (many Catholics have never been inside a mosque) and the magnificent Hagia Sophia (which was the largest church in the world for a thousand years). Celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. Esprit Church where Pope John XXIII was a priest for ten years. Join in the celebration of Mass at St. Anthony Padua Church before sailing for a dinner cruise between two continents on the Bosporus Straits.

We will stop in Nicea, the home of the First and Seventh Ecumenical Councils, where we received the Nicene Creed. Steve will give an impassioned talk on the divinity of Christ and the struggle to maintain orthodoxy.

Cable cars up to biblical Pergamum

The journey continues as you hear Steve speak about Pergamum (one of the Seven Churches of Revelation) and visit the “throne of Satan” (Rev. 2:13). Izmir (Smyrna) is one of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation. Learn about Bishop St. Polycarp, visiting the site of St. Polycarp’s martyrdom and where he and St. Ignatius of Antioch once met; celebrate Mass at St. Polycarp Church and hopefully see the relics.

Mary's House in Ephesus where we celebrate Mass

Drive to Ephesus, one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation, and celebrate Mass at Mary’s House where Our Blessed Mother lived the later years of her life with St. John the Apostle. Enjoy an elegant outdoor lunch fit for royalty, followed by a demonstration of the famous art of Turkish carpet weaving at the Sultankoy Carpet Weaving Center. Then, time to venerate the tomb of the Beloved Apostle, St. John the Evangelist. We will also visit the tomb of St. John the apostle.

Mass and History of St. Nicholas in his city

Continue your pilgrimage by celebrating Mass in Sardis before stopping in Philadelphia, two of the Seven Churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. See the tomb of St. Phillip, the Churches of Laodicea and Colossae, to which St. Paul wrote his letters of encouragement.

Stop in the town of Myrna, the town where St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) was bishop and see the Cathedral Church where he worked. Visit the town of Perge, where St. Paul preached upon arriving from Cyprus and where he was abandoned by St. Mark. Tour the Antalya Museum and see the St. Nicholas exhibit. This ends the main trip.

Wonders of Cappadocia

A 5-day extension is also available, during which you will celebrate Mass in Pisidian Antioch (Galatia), where St. Paul often stopped. See Cappadocia with its lunar-like landscape, which was home to early Christian monks during the pagan persecution in Asia Minor. Celebrate Mass in First Cave Church before proceeding to the Goreme Open Air Market to take in the remarkable frescoes of the early cave churches.

Steve at St. Paul's Well in his hometown of Tarsus

In Kaymakli, marvel at the Underground City, where the monks protected themselves from Arabic raids. In Tarsus, visit the foundations of the house where St. Paul lived and celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Paul. Stop in the city of Hatay (Antioch) where St. Peter and St. Paul met and the early “Followers of the Way” were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). Celebrate Mass in the Cave of St. Peter, the very first Christian Church, continuing to Hatay Archeologic Museum.  Your extension ends here in Hatay.

We hope you can join us for this exciting drive back through biblical and early Church history. You can see our website here and our brochure here. For more info or to register, contact Suzanne at or (313) 744-2530 or toll-free 1-800-727-1999, ext.121.  

Video invitation and map


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