11 Day Steps of St. Paul and Passion Play

OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY 2020

*** DAILY MASSES INCLUDED ***

DAY 01:  NORTH AMERICA / ATHENS. Tour members will gather at the ticket counter at the airport two hours prior to their departure to Europe

DAY 02:  ATHENS. Upon arrival in Athens, you are met by your guide and bus driver. Transfer to your hotel with the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

DAY 03 ATHENS.  " Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious.  For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription ‘to an unknown God’.  What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”

Today we visit Athens, one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilization as we know it today. For twenty five centuries, the panorama of this city is dominated by the rock of the Acropolis; we see the ruins of the Parthenon, the Erectheum and the Propylae. Thereafter, we will ascend Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians about the one and only God.  From here we have an excellent view of the ancient agora; former center of the Athenian public life. We continue for a drive through the city to see the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square, the evzones in their picturesque uniforms guarding the Presidential Palace and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also see the Library, the University, the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympics of the modern era were held, the temple of the OlympianZeus and Adrian's Arch.

DAY 04 ATHENS / CORINTH.  “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man shall attack you to harm you; for I have many people in this city. " (Acts 18:9)

We board our coach for Corinth, taking the coastal road along the Saronic Gulf to the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean Sea with the Ionian Sea.  Short stop for pictures and continue to the site of ancient Corinth, Paul's beloved city and site of his most extensive ministry. Dominated by the Acro-Corinth rising 1700 feet above the ruins, the marketplace is laid out exactly as it stood in the days of the great Apostle.  We see the bema (the judgement seat) where Paul stood before Galilo and preached (Acts 18).  The museum contains a superb collection of artifacts portraying life in ancient Corinth.  Return to Athens for dinner and overnight.

DAY 05:  ATHENS / METEORES / KALAMBAKA.  After a hearty breakfast we drive north to the Meteora Monasteries, perched upon the summits of gigantic rocks, which have been etched into variety of strange shapes. Grey gigantic stalagmites rising towards the sky, they seem to be nature's gift to the pious who opted for monasticism and for a life totally dedicated to the worship of God.  The monastic history of the Meteora goes back to the 11th century A.D. when the first hermits sought peace and solitude in the rifts and caves of these rocks, but the first monasteries were not built until the 14th century A.D. attaining their peak in the 16th. Of the 13 large and 20 small monasteries and hermit’s cells, only four are not occupied: Megalo Meteora, Monie Varlaam, Monia Aghias Triadas and Moni Aghiou Stefanou.  Apart from portable icons, miniatures, eccesiastical robes, utensils and crosses, all of them excellent examples of Byzantine art, the Meteora Monasteries also contain rare editions and manuscripts.  Overnight in Kalambaka.

DAY 06:  METEORA / VERIA / THESSALONIKI.  “The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away hy night to Beroea; and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.” (Acts 17:10-14)

We continue to Veria (Beroea) where we visit the monument dedicated to Paul;  we see the Bema where he stood and preached to the people of Veria.  Continue forThessaloniki.

“Paul came to Thessaloniki with Silas and following his usual custom, he went to the Synogogue where he used the Jewish scriptures as the source for his preaching.” (Act 17:2-4)

We become aquainted with this great city, the “Queen of the North”, where Paul wrote two epistles to the ancient Thessalonians.  Built by King Cassandros and named after the sister of Alexander the Great, the city flourished under the Byzantine Empire and it’s most important buildings date from those days. Today it is considered the second capital of Greece, the Queen of the north.  Our city tour takes us along the water front to the massive White Tower and nearby Triumphal Arch of Gallerius, built in 303 AD.  We shall also see St. DemetriosChurch with its valuable mosaics and frescoes will drive up to the upper town which offers a marvelous view of the city.  The site where the monastery of Vlatadon was built is believed to be the location where Jason’s house oncestood and where Paul was accommodated during his visit to Thessaloniki.  Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.

DAY 07:  KAVALLA / PHILIPPI.  “Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace and the following day to Neapolis " (Act 16:11)

"And from thence to Philippi which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony; and we were in that city abiding certain days.” (Act 16:12)

We visit the beautiful city of Kavala (ancient Neapolis), and from there on to Philippi which was a Roman garrison town and the chief city in the province of Macedonia.  It was here that Paul won his first European convert, a woman named Lydia, the market place (where Paul and Silas were brought before the rulers), the cistern which tradition identifies as the place where St. Paul were imprisoned.  We return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.

DAY 08:  THESSALONIKI / MUNICH /OBERAMMERGAU.  Early this morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Munich Germany. Upon arrival we are met and begin our city sightseeing tour including the gothic Rathdus (town hall) with its famous glockenspiel, the awesome twin-spired Frauenkirche, Marienplatz, imperial residence Alte Pinakothec and other principle places of interes. Then on to Oberammergau, home of the world-famous Passion Play which is performed once every ten years in this charming small Bavarian village.   Dinner and overnight. 

DAY 09:  PASSION PLAY.   The entire day is devoted to attending a performance of the world famous Passion Play.  In 1633 after months of suffering and death from the plague, the village people swore an oath that they would perform the "Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ" every ten years. At Pentecost 1634, they fulfilled their pledge for the first time on a stage they put up in the cemetery above the graves of the plague victims. In the year 2000, the Community of Oberammergau again performed the Passion Play for the 40th time in continuity. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 10: OBERAMMERGAU / LINDERHOFF / ETTAL / MUNICH / DACHAU. After breakfast this morning we drive to Linderhoff. and Linderhoffs Castle - built by mad King Ludwig - a dazzling castle set high in the Bavarian Alps.. Continue toEttal Monastery. Here you can get a glimpse of the lives of the Benedictine monks living at the monastery. Building of the monastery began in 1330 and due to the dedication and hard work of the resident monks, and at times knights, the structure is in pristine condition.  Return to Munich and an optional tour to Dachau.  Dachau Concentration Camp is a Memorial Site, honoring all who suffered and died there. It is a haunting memorial to all those imprisoned in similar conditions under the ruthless control of the Third Reich. 

DAY 11:  MUNICH / NORTH AMERICA.  After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our return the United States of America.  The end of a most enjoyable journey.