GREECE: October 8-18, 2020 “The Mission Journeys of the Apostle Paul.” (Program #201001)

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Day One. October 8, 2020: Depart the USA from Newark, NJ (EWR)on Austrian Airlines Flight 090 to Vienna; transfer to Austrian Airlines flight 809 for Thessaloniki, Greece. If you are able during the journey, take the time to read Dr. Smith’s “A Short History of the Greeks” that will be provided for you. It includes an overview from ancient times until the current day, and will help you get a sense of who the Greeks of today are, and how their culture was shaped. Overnight: In flight.

Day Two. October 9, 2020: Arrival Day. Arrive in the afternoon (estimated time 15.30 hours) in Thessaloniki; meet our bus and transfer as a group to our hotel. For those arranging their own air, our program begins at dinner in Thessaloniki, where we will meet each other and then look forward to a good night’s rest. Overnight: Thessaloniki. (1 of 3) D.

Day Three. October 10, 2020: The Gospel’s Arrival. After a good breakfast, we will drive eastward to the entry point of the Gospel into Europe at ancient Philippi and its nearby port at modern Kavalla (Neapolis of Acts 16:11). Our drive will give us time to introduce Paul, his life and his journeys, as well as probe important topics like “being a Greek in the first century.” Sites include: Views of Apollonia, Amphipolis, visit to Kavalla and Philippi. When we return to Thessaloniki, our group will have dinner at a local taverna, for a night of Greek food, music and fun experiences. Overnight: Thessaloniki. (2 of 3). B,D.

Day Four. October 11, 2020: Paul and the Thessalonians. After the beating and jailing in Philippi, the perils of the Second Mission Journey continued in what is now modern Greece, as detailed in Acts 16-18. Paul’s visit in Thessalonica was interrupted by a crowd opposed to his teachings about salvation through Jesus alone. Jason (who scholars suggest may have been the cousin of Paul) was arrested in order to press Paul to leave the city after only a few weeks stay. Today we will visit the archaeological remains of an ancient shopping district uncovered in the heart of the modern city, as well as some of the chief attractions of modern Thessaloniki, with a view toward the seven basic practices Paul pressed the early believers to emulate (1,2 Thessalonians). Sites include: Christian-Byzantine Museum, the ancient basilica Church of St. Demetrius, the Agora excavation, a visit to the upper city. Overnight: Thessaloniki. (2 of 3). Famous for its fish, you will want to reserve a table at one of the exciting local restaurants (suggestions will be provided). Overnight: Thessaloniki. (3 of 3). B.

Day Five. October 12, 2020: Paul’s Outreach to Macedonia. No visit to Greece would be complete without some look at the contributions of King Philip and Alexander the Great in spreading Hellenism to the whole Mediterranean region. Today we will both be stunned by the beauty of the finds in some ancient tombs, and visit a quiet cemetery with faces on the graves of people who may have met Paul, Silas, Timothy and Dr. Luke at Berea. Sites include: Berea (Veria), Vergina (Tombs of Macedonian Kings), Dion, Litochoro (time permitting). Overnight: Larissa or Trikala area. (1 of 2). B, D.

Day Six. October 13, 2020: Orthodoxy and Theological Foundations. When the Hebrew message of Jesus came from the east into Greek culture, it took on a creedal nature and was systematized into “theological bullet points” (something it never had before). Today we will be challenged as we recall that process and follow the transition of the message of the Gospel to the foundations of orthodox practice, while highlighting the difference between eastern and western thought. Meteora Monasteries. Overnight: Larissa or Trikala. (2 of 2). B, D.

Day Seven. October 14, 2020: Facing Paganism. Lurking in the background of events of the New Testament were an array of strange cults and mythological practices. Some poke through into the text from time to time (as at Lystra in Turkey, where Barnabas was called “Zeus” and Paul was called “Hermes” by the crowd, cp. Acts 14:12). Today we get a primer on the nature of the gods and cultic practices of the people Paul and his companions sought to reach with the message of Jesus. Sites include: Views on the drive to Ancient Delphi and a special visit to that ancient site. Overnight: Delphi. (1 of 1) B, D.

Day Eight. October 15, 2020: The Trek to Athens. The Second Mission Journey was an emotional low point for Paul, so we will follow the story of his struggle and stirring at Athens. We will travel from Delphi to Athens this morning, arrive mid-morning and visit some important sites from the “Golden Age” of Athens: Acropolis (with Parthenon and Erechtheion), view of Herod Atticus Odeon and Theatre of Dionysius. Overnight: Athens. (1 of 3) B, D.

Day Nine. October 16, 2020: Paul in Athens. Greeks of every class engaged the Gospel at the time of Paul and just after him under the ministry of the Pastoral leadership of Dionysius (led to Jesus by Paul). Sites include the Areopagus, the cemetery archaeology of Kereimakos (time and conditions permitting) and an exciting walk in the ancient Agora Paul was stirred in so long ago, as well as a close up look at the Haephestus Temple, the Stoa of Attalos and other excavated monuments in the ancient city. We will have some time for a bit of shopping in Plaka as well. When we return to the hotel, you will want to make an arrangement at one of the great Taverna restaurants in the city for dinner with some of your traveling companions (suggestions will be provided.) Overnight: Athens. (2 of 3). B.

Day Ten. October 17, 2020: Paul in Corinth. Paul both ministered in Corinth for eighteen months, and wrote several letters to them (two of which are included in the New Testament canon).  Today we will journey out of Athens to encounter the place where Paul spent the second longest voluntary stay to build ministry partners (not including his incarcerations). Sites include: Elefsina (ancient Eleusis), Isthmia (time permitting), Corinth and nearby Cenchrea. Don’t miss another exciting night at a local restaurant of your choice! Overnight: Athens. (3 of 3) B.

Day Eleven. October 18, 2020: Departure Day. Depart for the USA. The group air departure is on United Airlines Flight 125 schedule to depart ATH around noon (12:15-16:20). The flight returns to Newark, NJ in the USA.

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Every effort will be made to complete the full itinerary. Yet, because conditions are often unpredictable in travel, we reserve the right to make changes during the tour.