ORTHODOX HERITAGE

  • Duration:15 NIGHTS/16 DAYS
  • Countries Visited:Greece, Holy Land
  • Highlights:HOLY LAND AND GREECE
  • Tour Inclusions:
    • Airfare NYC/Tel Aviv x Athens/NYC
    • English speaking guide throughout
    • First class accommodations
    • Transportation by private motorcoach
    • Breakfast and dinner as per itinerary
    • Comprehensive sightseeing as listed
    • Baggage handling
    • All spiritual activities
    • Select International travel bag & portfolio

DAY 1: DEPART U.S.A.

Depart on an overnight flight to Tel Aviv

DAY 2: WELCOME TO THE HOLY LAND

You are met by your tour guide and transferred to the hotel in the coastal resort town of Netanya. We have time to become acclimated to a new time zone and walk along the shores of the Mediterranean. Overnight Natanya. (D.)

DAY 3: GALILEE

After a delicious Israeli breakfast travel up the coastline to the ancient Roman city of Caesarea. See the harbor where Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, on his final voyage. Proceed to Nazareth, one of the holiest towns in Christendom. See Mary’s Well where the Angel Gabriel told Mary she will give birth to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation, where we see frescoes of all the main Orthodox Saints. Continue to Cana to visit the Greek Orthodox Church, site of Jesus’ first miracle. Visit Sepphoris, once an important town, with its fine mosaics and excavations. Overnight Nazareth (B.D.)

DAY 4: GALILEE

Drive to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, than to Tabgha, Greek for Seven Springs and the Church of the Multiplication of Fishes and Loaves. Visit the Church of St. Peter’s Primacy. Explore Capernaum, headquarters of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and see the new church built on St. Peter’s House. See the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles, with its lovely pink domes and an outwardly setting overlooking the Sea of Galilee. We celebrate the Divine Liturgy in this peaceful spot. You share a cup of coffee with and speak to Father Irinarhos who will tell us about the life of Greek Orthodox faithful in the Holy Land. Visit Chorazim, which was cursed by Our Lord because the people did not follow his teachings. Sail across the Sea of Galilee. See the “ Jesus boat “ uncovered in 1986 from the mud on the seashore by a group of young boys. Today you share in the traditional lunch of delicious St. Peter’s fish. The final stop in our very busy day is at Yardenit on the river Jordan, the baptismal site. Overnight Nazareth. ( B.L.D.)

DAY 5: GALILEE

We start the day with a visit to Mt. Tabor and the Church of Transfiguration, before proceeding down the Jordan Valley towards Jericho, the oldest known inhabited city in the world. Here we have lunch and stack up on healing Dead Sea products, and handicrafts made by local Bedouins. Now is your opportunity to take that Camel ride. View to the south the Dead Sea and to the west the Mt. of Temptation and the Judean wilderness. Walk down the steep narrow hill to the magnificent Monastery of St. George built in a rock ravine in the Judean Desert, and wander in amazement how did the monks manage to build this shrine of faith. Overnight Jerusalem. (B.D.)

DAY 6: JERUSALEM : THE HOLY CITY

Enjoy the unforgettable view from atop the Mount of Olives, and marvel at the site before you. A 4000 year old city, center of three main monolithic faiths, and walls of the Old City where Our Lord sacrificed himself for our salvation. See the place where Jesus thought the Apostles to pray “Our Father”. Our Visit the church of Pater Noster and the Chapel of Ascension. Walk down the Palm Sunday road, stopping at the beautiful Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene. Visit the Church and speak to Sr. Mihalina, who will give us a talk about the art of Iconography. Light a candle with a prayer in the Tomb of Holy Mother and continue to the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the garden of Our Lord agony. Descend across the Kidron Valley, to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu where the Apostle denied Christ three times. Continue on to Mt. Zion, to visit the Room of the Last Supper, King David’s Tomb and the Church of the Dormition. Conditions permitting, visit Bethany, site of the House of Mary and Lazarus. (B.D.)

DAY 7: BETHLEHEM-EIN KAREM

Start the day by visiting the Monastery of St. Theodosius and Mar Saba founded in 5th century by monk Saba. Continue to Bethlehem, and the Shepherd’s Field and Grotto. We have Holy Liturgy in the Church of the Nativity, the second most important church (in addition to Holy Resurrection (Sepulchre) built by the Christian Emperor Constantine, as urged by his mother Helena. The Byzantine church built over the birthplace of Our Lord, and see the cave of St. Jerome. We also tour the Monastery of Prophet Elias. On the way back to Jerusalem stop at the village of Ein Karem the birth place of St. John the Baptist, and see the Russian and the Greek Orthodox Churches. Tonight we enjoy a performance of the Israeli Folklore troupe. Overnight Jerusalem. (B.D.)

DAY 8: JERUSALEM-OLD CITY

Enter the old city via Zion Gate to see: the Wailing Wall, the Temple Mount, the Pool of Bethesda, St. Anne’s Church (birthplace of Mary), the Chapel of Flagellation, Ecco Home Arch. Then go on to the Via Dolorosa, to the Prison of Christ, and to retrace the final hours of Our Lord’s life as you pass the Stations of the Cross, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of His death and resurrection. We climb the stairs to reach Golgotha, the place of crucifixion. The main altar here is in the care of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchy. Then we are actually led into the Tomb, the place of resurrection, guarded by Greek Orthodox monks. Take a moment in this Holy Place to feel the spirit engulf you, and appreciate all that Our Lord had given you and your loved ones. We see St. Jacob’s Church, and St. James Cathedral in the Armenian Orthodox Compound, before exiting trough the Jaffa Gate Overnight Jerusalem. (B.D.)

DAY 9: JERUSALEM

Today you will also visit the Orthodox Patriarchy in Jerusalem. We then continue to the Seminary of the Greek Orthodox Church and have a tour guided by Father Makarius. We then visit two more Orthodox monasteries, the Holy Cross Monastery and St. Symeon in Katamonas. Our schedule has been very busy, and the rest of the day is for relaxing, catching up on shopping, bargaining for icons and visiting again some of the Holy Places we saw and which touched us with their special spiritual significance. Overnight Jerusalem. (B.D.)

DAY 10: TEL AVIV- ATHENS

In the morning board a flight to Athens. Enjoy a city tour including the Acropolis, the Agora where St. Paul preached and Mars Hill where he gave his famous sermon, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Parliament. Tonight enjoy a traditional Greek night in a taverna with bouzuki music and Greek dancing. Overnight Athens. (B.D.)

DAY 11: ATHENS

Attend the morning liturgy in the spectacular Metropol Cathedral, the main Cathedral of Athens, see Kessariani Monastery and visit the Dafni Monastery, the most important Byzantine monument near Athens. In the afternoon you have time for shopping and meeting the friendly Greek people, or visiting the Icon Museum and the Archeological Museum. Optional visit to Corinth of St. Paul. Overnight Athens. (B)

DAY 12: ATHENS-DELPHI-KALAMBAKA

This morning visit the Byzantine monastery of Ossios Lukas, before arriving Delphi Leaders from around the ancient world flocked to Apollo’s Delphi Oracle for advice. See Ancient ruins including the first monument built to “one God” and visit the Archeological Museum. Continue to Kalambaka for overnight (B.D.)

DAY 13: METEORA

Seemingly unscalable black rocks are topped by beautiful, large, monasteries. Many monks believe that the founder of the first monastery was carried there by an eagle. The first monks were probably 10th century ascetics who climbed the rocks and lived in caves. In the late Byzantine period and during the Ottoman rule, this monastic community became a sanctuary of the prosecuted and developed into a center of Byzantine art. Of the original 24 monasteries, 5 remain and welcome visitors. You will feel wander and awe at the beauty and architecture of these gems. Overnight Thessaloniki. (B.D.)

DAY 14: HOLY MOUNTAIN- (MOUNT ATHOS)

Mt. Athos is a monastic state, which has conformed to unchanged rules of life and worship for a thousand years. Emperor Constantine decreed that the Holy Mountain be set aside for exclusive veneration of the Virgin Mary, the protectress of the territory, and the area is off limits to women. The men need to have special permission to enter the Holy Site. In 20 sovereign monasteries 2000 Orthodox Monks still live and work. You learn about the remarkable living museums of Byzantine art and culture, their impressive libraries, amazing frescoes, beautiful mosaics and fascinating way of life. Overnight Thessaloniki. (B.L.D)

DAY 15: THESSALONIKI

Depart for Thessaloniki, the capital of Macedonia, and the land of Alexander the Great. See St. Dimitrios Church, St. Sophia the Church of the 12 Apostles, Arch of Galerius, St. George Rotunda and the White Tower. Tonight you have a farewell dinner with wine and music. Overnight in Thessaloniki. (D.)

DAY 16: DEPART FOR THE U.S.A.

Transfer to the airport for your return flight back home.(B.)

We are pleased to be able to organize a visit for Orthodox groups to MOUNT ATHOS (Aghion Oros)-MONASTIC STATE. Special (“Diamonitiria”) permit is needed by visitors. Please ask as about details.

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