PAUL’S FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY

  • Duration:13 NIGHTS/14 DAYS
  • Countries Visited:Cyprus, Turkey and Syria
  • Tour Inclusions:
    • Airfare NYC /Larnaca/Damascus/ NYC
    • Accommodations in first class hotels for 12 nights
    • Daily meals as per itinerary
    • English speaking guides throughout
    • Comprehensive sightseeing as listed
    • Transportation by private air conditioned motor coach
    • Baggage handling
    • Select International Travel Portfolio

DAY 1: DEPART USA

You’ll leave this evening on an overnight flight to Larnaca 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 2: LARNACA- NICOSIA

Arrival in Larnaca, as we catch our first glimpse of Aphrodite’s Island, we are transferred to the hotel for the overnight. Afternoon at leisure to become acclimated to a new time zone. Overnight Limassol. (D.)

DAY 3: NICOSIA

Today we start our visit of the island of Barnabas, Paul’s companion and closest friend. We visit Salamis, where the memory of Barnabas is still honored greatly. In Salamis Paul, Barnabas and Mark first landed. We tour the ruins of the old city before departing for Famagusta, where we see the famous Gothic Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the castle. Continue to Ayios Ionnis Cathedral. The church dedicated to St. John was built in 1662. Recently restored to its early magnificence, the wall painting depicts the discovery of the tomb of St. Barnabas, at Salamis. Continue on to the nearby Byzantine Museum to see the largest and most important collection of icons on the island. In the afternoon we drive to Chrysolinotissa Church, dedicated to Our Lady of Flax and by many considered the most beautiful on the island. Then we enjoy a stroll through the pedestrian area of the walled city, with charming winding alleys, and traditional architecture. Overnight in Limassol. (B.D.)

DAY 4: TROODOS MOUNTAINS/KYKKO MONASTERY

In the morning drive to Kykko Monastery, the most famous on the island. It was founded in 1100 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and it possesses one of the three surviving icons ascribed to St. Luke. Continue to Trodditissa Monastery, to see the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. We also see the Church of St. Nicholas. Then we proceed to Galata village to see the Church of Panya Podithou, erected in 1502, and the first church to have paintings influenced by the Italian style of painting. Our final stop today is 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. Overnight in Limassol. (B.D.)

DAY 5: PAPHOS/AYIOS NEOPHYTOS MONASTERY

The Apostles followed the old Roman road that led to Paphos. 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 by foot to Paphos, to bring the message of the Messiah. We see Ayia Paraskevi Church, one of the most interesting on the island, dating to the10th century. We also see Panayia Chrysopolitissa Church and the Byzantine Basilica built over the ruins of an early Byzantine church, and St. Paul’s Pillar, where, according to tradition, St. Paul had the showdown of wills with the magician Bar- Jesus, before the Roman Governor Sergious Paulus who then converted to Christianity. Then we see the Christian Catacombs and the Cave of the Hermit, with writings and frescoes dating between the12th and 15th centuries. Tonight we depart on a flight to Damascus. Upon arrival you are met by your Syrian guide and transferred to the hotel. Overnight Damascus. (B.D.)

On the road to Damascus…..As he was on his way to Damascus, and nearing the city, there came suddenly a light from the sky, which flashed around him. He heard a voice saying “ Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”. “Who are you, Master?” he asked. “ I am Jesus, whom you persecute,” the voice replied. “ But now you must get up and go into this city where you will be told what you must do.”.. Acts.

DAY 6: DAMASCUS
Welcome to Syria. Here Paul came to regain his sight, after Ananias laid hands on him, and had his “ conversion”. In this city, Paul proclaimed Jesus, after being a notorious persecutor of the faithful. You visit the Old City of Damascus, said to be one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, dating back to 5,000 B.C. Our visit includes the Christian Quarter of Bab-Touma, the Ananias House and the Ancient Wall, Omayad Masque, St. Hanania Church and more. We see the Church of St. Paul, and St. Paul’s window. In the afternoon visit the National Museum, which includes cylinders etched with the Ugaritic alphabet, dating to 14th century B.C. Later in the afternoon groups may chose to meet with, Mirna Nazzour, a woman of the Orthodox faith, married to a Roman Catholic, who since 1982 has witnessed apparitions of the Blessed Mother, and has received the stigmata. Overnight Limassol. (B.L.D.)

DAY 7: DAMASCUS
This morning we visit the Monastery of St. Paul in the desert. In the afternoon we meet members of the Christian community in Syria. Visits may be arranged with the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch and the Catholic Melkite Patriarch. We also have time to explore the markets and the handicraft center. Overnight Damascus. (B.D.)

DAY 8: SEYDNAYA and MAALOULA
Visit Seydnaya and the Convent of Our Lady and Convent of St. Thomas. Continue to Maaloula, a Greek Orthodox village where Aramaic, the dialect spoken by Christ, is still used by the people as their mother language. See the Monastery of St. Tekla, the Monastery of Mar Mousa Al-Habashi and the Church of St. Sergius. We end the day in Homs with visits to the Church of the Virgin’s Belt and Mar Elian. Overnight in Homs. (B.L.D.)

DAY 9: HOMS- CRAK des CHEVALIERS –HAMAS-APAMEA- LATTIKA
We wind through the desert, past friendly Bedouin shepherds and curious children to Crak des Chavaliers, the best preserved Crusader castle in the world, as called by Lawrence of Arabia. After lunch at the Round Table, we drive north to Apamea, stopping to see the giant waterwheels of Hama, from 8th century B.C. We arrive in Apamea, the most important and beautiful Hellenistic site in Syria and continue to St. George’s Monastery and Lattika. Overnight Lattika. (B.L.D.)

DAY 10: TURKEY- ANTAKYA

Today we enter Turkey and travel toward the ancient city of Antioch. It is here that the followers of Jesus were first called Christian, that is, Men of Christ. See St. Peter’s Grotto, the first Christian Rock Church where the early Christian used to meet secretly. It was here that Paul came to deliver his special message of the Messiah and the resurrection. From here Paul and Barnabas set out on their first missionary journey to the Island of Cyprus. This city became the center of Paul’s missionary work. We also visit the Archeological Museum. Overnight Antioch. (B.L.D)

DAY 11: ANTAKYA- TARSUS- ANTAKYA

Our journey today is to Tarsus, the birthplace of Paul, and the port from which he set out on his Missionary Journeys. You may take a drink of what the tradition calls Holy Well of St. Paul, and see the Gate of Anthony and Cleopatra, commemorating the spot where the tragic lovers met. We return to Antioch for overnight. (B.D.)

DAY 12: QALAAT SEMAAN -ALEPPO

We cross the border back into Syria with a visit to St. Simeon the Stylites, where the 5th century saint spent 37 uninterrupted years in prayer and meditation. Continue to Aleppo, a pleasant surprise of a city. Walk the narrow streets of the Christian Quarter, to the Aleppo Museum. Marvel at the maze of souks and fourteenth century hammas (public baths) which are still in use. If you are a good haggler this is the place to bargain for antiques, carpets and jewelry. Overnight Aleppo. (B.D.)

DAY 13: PALMYRA

Journey toward Queen Zenobia’s desert capital, from where she once ruled the Roman Empire. We tour Palmyra, one of the world’s greatest archeological sites and a major Syrian attraction. Because of its strategic location on the Silk road, the oasis own grew wealthy. It was a magnificent example of advanced architecture and sophisticated living. Eventually the city was destroyed by the Romans for refusing to bow to the Empire. Overnight Damascus.(B.L.D.)

DAY 14: Return to U.S.A

This morning we are transferred to Damascas airport and our flight home. (B.)

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