Stones of God’s Witness -1 Philippi to Patmos
From Philippi to Patmos
- ATHENS/MARS HILL: We’ll share our morning devotional study sitting at Mars Hill where Paul was brought before the council. Finally, we reach the ‘harmony between matter and spirit’, the monument that ‘puts order in the mind’, the Parthenon. On a drive through the city we’ll see the National Library, the University, the Academy, the Presidential Palace, the Stadium, Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. The afternoon is at leisure in the Platka where we sit, shop, snack, and stroll at the foot of the Acropolis. Dinner and overnight in Athens.
- CANAL OF CORINTH (DIOLKOS)/CORINTH: Then we tour Ancient Corinth where Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla. Included are the First Century shops, the Agora, Temple of Apollo. At the Bema Seat we re-enact “The Greatest Day of our life” as we sit at the spot of 2nd Corinthians 5:10. Still gurgling under the ruins is the water of the springs of the mighty Acropolis above, which once fed the Fountain of Pirene.
- ACROCORINTH: Continue your drive up to Acrocorinth, in Paul’s time site of the great Temple of Aphrodite.
- CENCHREA: Return to Athens by way of Cenchrea where we renew our vows to the Lord as Paul once did. Late afternoon is at leisure to reflect on what we have seen. Dinner and overnight.
- NEAPOLIS: This morning we transfer to the airport for our domestic flight to Kavala on the site of ancient Neapolis where Paul landed on the way to Philippi.
- PHILIPPI: Continue on a short drive to Ancient Philippi where we find two early Christian basilicas, traces of the Egnatian Way, which Paul followed from the harbor of Neapolis (ancient port of Philippi) on his first visit on European soil. View the Roman Forum, the Citadel, the ancient theater, and the Ledia’s brook.
- THESSALONICA: Later, we drive to Thessalonica where we begin with a brief tour of the Biblical Thessalonica where Paul founded the Church in 49-50 A.D. THESSALONICA: This morning we take a tour of Thessalonica, Greece’s second largest city and capital of Macedonia, highlighting treasures of the ancient Byzantine and medieval eras. Included are the famous Byzantine St. Dimitri Church, Vlatadon Monastery, the University and Arch of Galerius.
- AMPHIPOLIS: Drive along Acts 17 following the ancient route of Paul, through mountain passes and plains to Amphipolis for a short stop to view the ancient Lion Statue. Dinner and overnight in Thessalonica.
- BEREA: After the tour, we will drive through the plains of Thessaly, visit the legendary home of the Greek Gods, continue on to Berea of Acts 17:11 where Paul remained for several days and the scriptures say the people were “more noble than in Thessaloniki.” Return to Thessaloniki where we will transfer to the airport for our domestic flight to Athens for dinner and overnight.
- RHODES: From the Acropolis there are breathtaking views of the great expanse of the Aegean Sea and St. Paul’s Bay where the Apostle cast anchor during his historic voyage to Ephesus.
- PATMOS: This morning we take a shore excursion to Patmos and head for the cave of the Apostle John remembering the Apocalypse of Jesus given there. Take a short journey to the village of Choara, where the Monastery of St. John is located, which was built 900 years ago and is rich in chapels and treasures. Outstanding are the frescoes in the church and the treasures of the museum. Afterwards visit the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse, and see the silver niches in the wall that mark the pillow and the ledge used as a desk by the author of the Book of Revelation. Look at the three-fold crack made by the Voice of God to emphasize the honor of the Trinity.
- EPHESUS: This afternoon, we arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey, where our cruise will come to an end. After disembarkation, we will drive through the colorful town of Kusadasi and proceed to the Magnesian Gate, entrance to the ancient city of Ephesus. Our guided walking tour will take you through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. After seeing the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trojan, the steam- heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, you will reach the Library of Celsus, adorned with its columns and statues, considered one of the most magnificent ruins in the world. We read Christ’s Letter to Ephesus by the Great Theater. Then relive Acts 19 and think of Paul’s ministry here at the largest theater in antiquity, with a capacity of 24,000 people. At the end of the tour, our motor coach will be waiting to take us to Pamukkale for dinner and overnight in our hotel.
- HIEROPOLIS: This morning we take a brief tour of Pamukkale, where we visit the Roman spa of Hierapolis.
- Colosse: Just 6 miles away on the horizon is the mound or tel of Biblical Colosse, as we depart Hieropolis we can see the Lycus Valley and the site in the distance of Colosse that received Paul’s great letter of Colossians.
- LAODICEA: We drive to Laodicea to see the remains of one of the Seven Churches. Laodicea church was a branch of Ephesus, as were the churches of Hierapolis and Colossea. Proceed to the Necropolis, the Temple of Apollo and the Theater and Roman baths.
- PHILADELPHIA: Then we depart Pamukkale and head for Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, founded by Attalus II, and
- SARDIS: Sardis, the capital of ancient kingdom of Lydia, with its gymnasium and marble paved synagogue, where King Croesus ruled. Philadelphia and Sardis are two of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
- SMYRNA: We end the day in Izmir (ancient Smyrna) site of one of the Seven Churches.
- PERGAMUM: Begin the day with a drive to and a tour of Pergamum, another one of the Seven Churches and capital of a large and powerful pre-Roman kingdom. It is here that the first Christian was put to death by the Roman state. Visit the Church of Pergamum, the Homonym Church and the Acropolis with its pagan temples including the Altar of Zeus, which is mentioned as the “Throne of Satan” in the Book of Revelation. We will also visit the health center of Asclepion, the Agora and theater.
- THYATIRA: Later drive to Akhisar, Thyatira, one of the Seven Churches. The church of Thyatira had tolerated the works of Jezebel. Continue on to Canakkale. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale.
- TROAS: Today we visit the ancient city of Troy only rediscovered by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1873, with its 4000 year old history recalling the epic struggle of the Iliad.
Turkey is an amazing country with so much history and so many civilizations that it boggles the mind. If you ever get the chance to go, it is a must see nation and is much larger than Israel with many more historic sites, being the size of Texas and the state of Washington put together. Here is just a partial list of the biblical and historical locations in Turkey:
Ani Assos Attalia (Antalya) Bythinia Cappodocia Carchemish Caria Cilicia Cnidus Cos Cudi Dagi (At least two of them and possibly more) Cyprus Derbe Ephesus Euphrates River Galatia Garden of Eden Haran (Harran) Iconium (Konya) Istanbul (Byantium, Constantiople) Kars Laodicea Lycaonian Cities Lycia Lystra Miletus Mountains of Ararat (Urartu) Myra Mysia Pamphylia Paphos Patmos Island Perga Pergamum Philadelphia Phrygia Pisidian Antioch Pontus Provinces of Asia Rhodes Samos Sardis Seleucia Smyrna (Izmir) Syrian Antioch Tarsus Thrace Thyatira Tigris River Troas Troy
From a Bible perspective, it is amazing and faith building to actually see the historic locations discussed through the Bible. Selections of Genesis and Acts along with the entirety of Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Timothy, Philemon, 1 Peter, John’s letters, and Revelation were written to or about people living in modern-day Turkey. We follow the order that the letter of Revelation from the apostle John probably took along the existing roads of the first century.
People and places that had influences and history in Turkey include possibly the Noah, Abraham, Isaac’s wife, Jacob, Jacob’s wives, Laban, Job, all the way down to the Hittites, Urartians, Gordians, Assyrians, Phrygians, Lydians, Greeks, Romans, Marc Anthony and Cleopatra, many Roman Emperors, New Testament Christians, the Apostles Paul, Peter, and John, many New Testament and early Christian churches, Seljuk Muslims, the Ottoman Empire, and Ataturk.