Pre-Conference: Footsteps of Apostles
Wednesday, March 30
Thursday, March 31
Philippi and Neapolis (Kavala)
In Philippi (Acts 16:12-40; 20:6) Paul preached his evangelistic sermon to women who had gathered at the river. You will visit the river where Paul baptized Lydia, a purple fabric merchant, who became the first Christian woman to be baptized on European soil (Acts 16:14, 15, 40). You will also see a crypt, dating from the Roman period, which according to the Church's tradition have been the place where Paul was flogged and imprisoned. You will see the ancient Roman Agora (Forum) built during the time of Augustus and mentioned in the Book of Acts as the place where Paul was publicly punished after he healed the demon possessed girl (Acts 16:19). You will also see the Basilicas and the Greek Theatre (4th century BC), which was converted into an arena by the Romans and used during the persecutions of the early days of the church. Paul's letter to Philippians was addressed to the local Christians, 14 years after his first visit there.
You will also see Neapolis (present day Kavala), Greece's most picturesque mainland port. Paul arrived in this city (Acts 16:11) with his coworkers Timothy (Acts 16:1-3; 17:14-15; 18:5; 20:4, 5) and Silas (Acts 15:22-35, 40, 41; 16:25-40; 17:4, 14, 15). On the way back to Thessaloniki you will see the remains of ancient famous road Via Egnatia. You will pass by the ancient cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia, which are mentioned in the Book of Acts (Acts 17:1). Dinner and overnight at Mediteranean Palace Hotel.
Friday, April 1
Paul wrote two epistles to Thessalonians, both in the New Testament (Acts 17:1-13). You will visit the Roman Agora (Forum), the Archaeological Museum and the Basilica of Saint Demetrios. You will also see the White Tower, the statue of Alexander the Great and the remains of the Palace complex of Galerius (Late 3rd century AD). The Arch of Galerius and Rotonda was later converted to the Church of Saint George. You will also see the City Walls and the Great Gate, which connects the city with Via Egnatia - the trans-continental east-west road of the Roman Empire built on the 2nd century BC.
You may visit the St. Luke’s hospital in Thessaloniki and have lunch there. Then we will be traveling to Veria (ancient Berea) where Paul visited and preached to the Jewish synagogue of the city and to the Greek nobility who readily accepted the new faith (Acts 17:10-15). In this city there is a monument dedicated to Apostle Paul. You will see the Jewish quarter where the synagogue is still situated today.
We will continue to the recently discovered archaeological site of Vergina, the old capitol of the Macedonian Kingdom (5th to 2nd centuries BC). There you will visit the grave of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.
Dinner and overnight at Poseidon Palace hotel by the seashore of Leptokaria.
Saturday, April 2
Departure after breakfast to Meteora monastery. This is a tremendous introduction to Eastern Orthodox Church. Travel approximately 4 hours to Athens for dinner and overnight at the Oscar Hotel.
Sunday, April 3
The architectural splendors of this ancient city are majestic. You will visit the world-renown Acropolis. Special emphasis will be on the visit to the Areopagus (Mars Hill) where Paul's gave his famous speech to the Athenian philosophers (Acts 17:18-34). You will be visiting also, in the same area, the Ancient Agora (Forum), where Paul met the Philosophers, the Stoa of Attalus and the Temple of Hephaestus. You will explore the meaning of democracy and its connection with biblical concepts of Assembly (Ecclesia) and Reasoning (Logos).
Enjoy free time for shopping in the famous Plaka area of Athens. Transfer to Eretria Village for dinner and overnight with conference starting the following day.