CYPRUS – THE ISLAND OF SAINTS

  • Duration:9 NIGHTS / 10 DAYS
  • Countries Visited:Greece
  • Highlights: The island of St. Paul, St. Barnabas and the St. Lazarus
  • Tour Inclusions:
    • Round trip airfare NYC/Cyprus/NYC
    • Comprehensive sightseeing as per the itinerary
    • Transportation by a deluxe air-conditioned motor coach
    • English speaking tour escort
    • Baggage handling of one suitcase per person
    • Select International Travel Portfolio

PAUL’S FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY IN CYPRUS

“Having been sent by the Holy Spirit,” as we are told in the Acts, Barnabas, Paul and John Mark set sail for Cyprus, on their first Missionary Journey.

 

DAY 1: DEPART USA

You’ll leave this evening on an overnight flight to Larnaca in Cyprus.

DAY 2: CYPRUS- LEMESOS

Welcome to Cyprus. You are greeted by your tour escort and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is at your leisure to relax and become acclimated to a new time zone.  Overnight in Lemesos. (D.)

{mosimage}DAY 3:  LEMESOS-FAMAGUSTA

After breakfast we begin our first excursion to Famagusta and Salamis, the native town of Saint Barnabas. We follow the route taken by St. Paul and St. Barnabas on the island.  Salamis was the port where  Paul, Barnabas and Mark first arrived during their First Missionary Journey.  We visit Salamis’ Greek ancient site, where the memory of Barnabas is still greatly honored. Next to the Monastery of St Barnabas, built on the remains of an ancient Basilica, where we see the Saint’s Tomb.  After our optional lunch  we explore the ruins of the old city before departing for Famagusta, where we see the famous Gothic Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the Venetian walls.    We return back to our hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation (B.D.)

DAY 4: LEMESOS-LARNACA

After breakfast we begin the  excursion to Larnaka, originally called Kition in the Old Testament to visit the ancient Kingdom of Kition where Saint Paul visited the Kingdom and spoke to the people about  Christianity. Then we have the opportunity to visit Saint Lazarus Church where the Saint’s  Tomb has been found. We see the crypt under the main alter. After his resurrection from the dead by Jesus, Lazarus elected to live out his “second” life on the island and became the Bishop of Cyprus.St. We have some free time in Larnaca, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. On the way back to our hotel we stop at the Angeloktisti Byzantine Church in Kiti village, with its jewel encrusted mosaics dating to the 6th century. We return back to our hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B.D.)

DAY 5: LEMESOS – NICOSIA

An opportunity to visit Lefkosia, the thousand year old capital city in the heart of the country.  Saint Paul went from Kition Kingdom to Tamasos, an area on the outskirts of Lefkosia, where at that time  was a famous commercial center of copper production.  At this place Saint Paul met Herakleidios, who, later on, followed St Paul’s Steps and was also baptized. Upon his return,  he became a bishop and founded the Monastery of Agios Herakleidios, which we visit. At the same place we shall find his Tomb.

Then we drive to Lefkosia to the Archbishopric, the center of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus and the Cathedral of St. John, housing some outstanding frescoes.  We also visit  the famous Byzantine Museum, which hosts a big variety of well preserved icons dated back from  8th to18th century. Icons are the painted devotional images of the Orthodox Church which reflected the Byzantine Christian soul for a millennium   We pass through the Gate to the Laiki Geitonia, and lovingly restored old section with narrow streets, cascading flower pots and the aroma of traditional baking wafting through open doorways. We have time to shop here and relax with a cup of coffee and some traditional desserts.

Driving out along the Green Line, which divides the city into the Greek and the Turkish sections, we are told about the interesting history of Cyprus as we return to our hotel. (B.D.)

DAY 6: TROODOS MOUNTAINS/KYKKO MONASTERY

Discover the charm and the incredible beauty of the Troodos Mountains. As we drive through the picturesque villages, dotted around the pine-clad hillsides, the traditional way of life continues, as it has for generations. Passing just below the highest point of the island, mountain Olympus, you will be taken to Kalapanagiotis village where we will visit Agios Ioannis Lambadistis monastery. In the nearby river Karkotis, Saint Paul  baptized Herakleidios who became a Christian. Afterwards we shall visit Kykkos Monastery, the most famous and wealthiest monastery on the island, founded in 1092 by the Byzantines. Makarios III, first president of the Republic of Cyprus, was trained here as a novice. The monastery has been dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it possesses one of the three surviving icons ascribed to St. Luke.  We tour the monastery, shop in its store for items made by the monks and enjoy a quit moment in this incredibly peaceful and beautiful setting. We return back to our hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B.D.)

DAY  7: LEMESOS-PAFOS

{mosimage} The Apostles followed the old Roman road that led to Pafos, the town which in its entirety is included in the UNESCO list of cultural and national treasures. On the way we stop to see the birthplace of Aphrodite (Venus), the Goddess of Love and Beauty from the Greek Myths. Paul, Barnabas and John Mark came on foot to Pafos, to bring the message of the Messiah. We see Agia Paraskevi Church, one of the most interesting churches on the island, dating to the 10th century with its five domes forming a cross. And then on to the 12th century Monastery of Saint Neofytos, carved into the mountain and containing  fascinating frescoes from 12th to15th century.  We enjoy a stroll along the picturesque harbor of Pafos which is now a famous resort area and choose a  fish tavern right on the ocean where we enjoy our optional lunch. We pass by the “Catacombs of St. Solomoni” and we see Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church, built over the ruins of the early Byzantine Basilica. St. Paul’s Pillar is at the same place. Here is the site where according to tradition, St. Paul was beaten “forty times minus one”, because he was preaching Christianity.  Here is the site  where  the Roman Governor Sergious  was converted, by Paul, to Christianity. We then visit the excavations with the spectacular mosaics from the 3rd to 5th century including the House of Dionysus, Orpheus and Aion, and the Villa of Thesus. We stop at a small shop to purchase the famous sweets from the area called the Turkish Delight. We return back to our hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B.D.)

DAY 8: LEMESOS -OMODOS- KAKOPETRIA

Today we explore the most picturesque village, Omodos, famous for its monastery, dedicated to the Holy Cross, and its wine production. We explore the village and visit the Monastery before continuing to another of the painted churches and  a World Heritage Site, the Church of Agios Nikolas. The church is completely painted by murals and considered one of the most important artistically. We then have a walk in the old part of Kakopetria village, with its unique mountain setting and traditional architecture. It is considered a living museum and is under the protection of the Antiquities department. After the optional traditional lunch in the village we continue with another of the unique painted churches listed in UNESCO as a world heritage site, Panagia Podithou. It’s in Galata village and it was erected in 1502. It was the first church to have paintings influenced by the Italian style painting. We return back to our hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B.D.)

DAY 9: LEMESOS- AGROS-LAGOUDERA-NIKITARI-LANEIA

Our full day excursion includes a visit to Agros village, famous for the the hundreds of rose varieties it grows and used by locals in very innovative  ways. We then visit to the 12th century church of Panagia tou Araka in the village of Lagoudera, and visit the church of Panagia tis Asinou in Nikitari Village. Both churches are listed in the catalogue of UNESCO as World Heritage sites and part of the unique Painted Churches of Cyprus. After lunch we will continue through the valley of Solea and through Saittas village, lower, to the valley of Kourris. Our last stop is Laneia. Another traditional village, famous for the local Cypriot wine commandaria and other products. Here we have a wine tasting and an opportunity to explore the village. We return back to our hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation (B.D.)

DAY 10: RETURN TO THE U.S.A

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