It is well known that Greece played a crucial role in the development and evolution of mankind’s intellect and civilization and was a stepping stone for what is today known as the western world.
Not known as well is Greece’s defining role in the spread of Christianity and the shaping of Christian tradition. The presence of Saint Paul, who some call the greatest of the Apostles, in this area was very important for the expansion of Christianity’s message.
The elevation of this great personality of Christianity and his passages through Greece emphasize the importance of Christendom’s eastern tradition in Christianity’s spread in the rest of the world.
Cultural Synergies, based in the first European Christian capital city, Thessaloniki, holds as one of its basic tenets to share this with the rest of the world by utilizing an innovative approach to education such as the organization of seminars and cultural itineraries.
Promote intercultural dialogue, tolerance between cultures and respect of cultural identities
Enhance cultural exchange at the national, European and international level
Encourage Civil Society and VolunteeringSponsor and commission the research, study and promotion of cultural issues
Cultural Synergies organises, hosts and participates in a wide range of activities.
We host lectures, workshops and conferences to offer grounds for discussion on intercultural dialogue, history and civil society
We participate in EU programs to foster Leadership through youth exchanges and lifelong learning and personal improvement through young professional training courses and programs
We share world values of the Greek Civilization and tradition through our innovative cultural itineraries
A journey into the origins of European Christianity in Greece.
Follow Saint Paul’s footsteps from Asia to Europe. Visit the places he first preached in Europe and baptized the first European Christians. See the sites of the New Testament as the words of Saint Paul come alive. Experience the places that the Apostle to the Nations visited during his second journey.
On this trip you will have the opportunity to visit some of the most important places in Christian history, as well as world culture heritage sites such as Agio Oros (Mount Athos), Meteora and the Acropolis.
Arrival at Thessaloniki International Airport and transit to downtown hotel
Welcome dinner and trip orientation
Free night at the historic city center
Overnight in Thessaloniki
Travel to Ancient Philippi (Kavala area)
Quick stop at the Amfipolis lion
Visit and tour at Phipippi archeological site (Jail, Ancient Theater, Octagon Church, Agora) and baptistry of Lydia. Saint Paul preached for the first time in Europe (49 AD) here and baptised the first European christian, Lydia, at Zigaktis river
Visit and lunch at Kavala (ancient Neapolis), the first European port Saint Paul visited
Return to Thessaloniki
Overnight in Thessaloniki
Visit to the Castra (Castles) and city walls (Trigonio tower)
Visit to Saint Demetrius Church and crypts (UNESCO World Heritage Monument where the holy remains of the Saint are kept and emit a strong scented myrrh)
Visit to the Roman Agora
Visit to the Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki
Dinner and free evening
Overnight in Thessaloniki
Visit to Olympus Mountain area
Visit to Dion archeological site (15 km from Mt Olympus). Dion was the “sacred place” of the Ancient Macedonians. A large altar had been set up for the worship of Olympian Zeus and his daughters, the Muses
Visit to nearby Enipeas river (Enipeas was an ancient Greek river God) and Litochoro for lunch
Return to Thessaloniki and visit to the Museum of Byzantine Culture (awarded in 2005 the Council of Europe’s Museum Prize)
Overnight stay in Thessaloniki
Travel to Ouranoupoli, Chalkidiki
Guided cruise of Athos peninsula. Sightseeing of some of the monasteries of the Holy Mountain, which is of highly importance for Orthodox Christianity and Monasticism
Swim at a Chalkidiki beach (if weather conditions allow it) and lunch at nearby taverna
Overnight in Thessaloniki
Tour in Veroia (Berea in Bible)
Visit to the Synagogue and Barbouta, the former Jewish quarter of the city, where Saint Paul taught the Word of God. Veroia’s inhabitants were among the first Christians
Visit to the Saint Paul memorial (“Vhima” of Saint Paul)
Visit to the archeological site of Vergina, (Aigai in ancient times), the first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia and burial site of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great
Travel and overnight in Kalampaka
Visit to Meteora monasteries, UNESCO World Heritage Monuments which is considered to be a worldwide unique monastic society
Visit to Megalo Meteoro and Agios Stefanos monastery
Visit to Kalampaka Metropolitan church
Οvernight in Kalampaka
Visit to Delphi
Travel from Meteora to Delphi (the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world) and visit to the Delphi Museum
Οvernight in Delphi
Visit to the Delphi archeological site
Visit to Hosios Loukas monastery on the way to Athens. Hosios Loukas monastery, founded in the early 10th Century (UNESCO World Heritage Monument) is one of the most important monuments of Middle Byzantine architecture and art
Overnight in Athens
Visit to the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum
Visit to Areopagus (Areios Pagos or Mars’ Hill), the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Zeus
Overnight in Athens
Visit to the Athens Archeological Museum (considered one of the great museums in the world, houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece, from prehistory to late antiquity)
Travel to and visit Corinth
Visit to the archeological site (Agora, Temple of Apollo) and Corinth Museum
Visit to Kenchreai, where Paul stopped during his second missionary journey and had his hair cut to fulfill a vow
Lunch at Corinth Canal
Return to Athens for closing session and overnight stay
Transfer to Athens International Airport for departure home
Prices vary based on the length of stay, accommodation chosen, and any extras activities added to the trips.
Trip includes accommodations with breakfast (3-4-5 star hotels), welcome and farewell dinners, professional specialized tour guides, all land transportation in Greece in air-conditioned buses, boat cruise around the Holy Mountain and all archaeological site fees.
Trip does not include gratuities, beverages and other personal expenses, hotel extras and international air travel to and from Greece.
Participants of pre-arranged tours should book their tickets on their own. Booking of air tickets can be arranged by CS for groups larger than 20 at current prices.
Passport and Visas
A passport with a 6-month validity past the tour return date is required for non EU members. Passport must be obtained in person by each tour member. Visa is required for some countries, not for EU & USA citizens. EU citizens can travel to Greece with a valid ID.
We can provide more experience activities for your group (e.g. a two-day visit at Mount Athos or a beautiful Greek island or countryside; lectures and workshops with academics and guest speakers; private seminars on Greek & Byzantine cookery, Ancient Greek Jewelry or Byzantine iconography).
We can also offer you a specialized itinerary to suit a particular group’ s needs and desires
Group leaders (forming a group of 15 or larger) from a church or organization will have part of the expenses covered. Contact us if you are interested in organizing a tour.
All tour guides are experts on biblical Greece and will make this trip an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
Philippi was a Macedonian town, on the borders of Thracia. Situated on the summit of a hill, it dominated a large and fertile plain, intersected by the Egnatian Way (Via Egnatia). It was north-west of Mount Pangea, near the River Gangites, and the Aegean Sea. In 358 B.C. it was taken, enlarged, and fortified by the King of Macedonia, Philip II, hence its name Philippi. Octavius Augustus (42 B.C.) made the town a miniature Rome, and granted it the institutions and privileges of the citizens of Rome.
While on his second missionary journey, the apostle Paul visited the city of Troas on the Mediterranean coast. While in Troas, Paul saw a vision in the night
a man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us (Acts, 16,6-10).
Paul boarded a ship at Troas, crossed the Aegean Sea and landed at Neapolis (Kavala), and from there traveled inland to Philippi.
Philippi was the first European town in which St. Paul preached the Faith. He arrived there with Silas, Timothy, and Luke about the end of 52 A.D.. The Acts mention in particular a woman called Lydia of Thyatira, a seller of purple, in whose house St. Paul probably dwelt during his stay in Philippi. His labours were rewarded by many conversions, the most important taking place among women of rank, who seem to have retained their influence for a long time. In a disturbance of the populace, Paul and Silas were beaten with rods and cast into prison, from which being miraculously delivered, they set out for Thessalonica
Lydia of Thyatira is regarded as the first documented convert to Christianity in Europe. Several Christian denominations have designated her a saint.
Thessaloniki was founded by by King Cassander of Macedon (a general of Alexander the Great) in 315 BC and named after his wife, a step-sister of Alexander. The city continued to develop until Rome defeated Perseus, the last Macedonian king, in 168 BC. As it was located at the head of the Gulf of Thermae and also on the main east-west road (the Via Egnatia), it became an important and prosperous commercial city. Rome divided the former kingdom into four independent “free” districts, then, in 146 BC, established it as a province with Thessaloniki as its capital. At the time of Paul it had a population of about 200,000, making it the largest city in Macedonia.
Paul first came to Thessaloniki in 50-51 AD during his second missionary journey, and there established the second Christian community in Europe (after Philippi). Paul preached in the city’s synagogue, the chief synagogue of the Jews in Thessaloniki and laid the foundations for the new church to be built there. Paul wrote two of his epistles, the First Epistle to the Thessalonians and the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians to the Christian community at Thessaloniki. He was driven out from the city and fled to Veroia by Jews who opposed him.
Dion owes its name to the important sanctuary dedicated to Zeus (Dias, “of Zeus”). From ancient times, a large altar had been set up for the worship of Olympian Zeus and his daughters, the Muses, in a unique environment characterized by rich vegetation, towering trees, countless springs and a navigable river. In the 5th century BC, when the Macedonian state acquired great power and emerged onto the stage of history, brilliant athletic and theatrical contests, the “Olympian Games of Dion”, were organized there.
It is believed by many scholars that after leaving Veria, Paul sailed from Dion port to Athens.
Mount Athos (Holy Mountain)
Athos in Greek mythology is the name of one of the Gigantes that challenged the Greek gods during the Gigantomachia. Athos threw a massive rock against Poseidon which fell in the Aegean sea and became the Mount Athos. According to another version of the story, Poseidon used the mountain to bury the defeated giant.
According to the athonite tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary was sailing accompanied by St John the Evangelist from Joppa to Cyprus to visit Lazarus. When the ship was blown off course to then pagan Athos it was forced to anchor near the port of Klement, close to the present monastery of Iviron. The Virgin walked ashore and, overwhelmed by the wonderful and wild natural beauty of the mountain, she blessed it and asked her Son for it to be her garden. A voice was heard saying “Ἔστω ὁ τόπος οὖτος κλῆρος σὸς καὶ περιβόλαιον σὸν καὶ παράδεισος, ἔτι δὲ καὶ λιμὴν σωτήριος τῶν θελόντων σωθῆναι” (Translation: “Let this place be your inheritance and your garden, a paradise and a haven of salvation for those seeking to be saved”). From that moment the mountain was consecrated as the garden of the Mother of God and was out of bounds to all other women.
An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The ‘Holy Mountain’, which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognized artistic site. The layout of the monasteries (about 20 of which are presently inhabited by some 1,400 monks) had an influence as far afield as Russia, and its school of painting influenced the history of Orthodox art.
The city is reputed to have been named by its mythical creator Beres – Pheres or from the daughter of the king of Berroia. The Ancient Macedonians made it their second most important city after Pella. Part of the Kingdom of Macedon, it surrendered to Rome in 168. During the Roman empire, Veroia became a place of worship for the Romans. Diocletian made the large and populous city one of two capitals of the Roman Province of Macedonia. Within the city there was a Jewish settlement where the Apostle Paul preached after leaving Thessalonica.
‘Suspended in the air’ (the meaning of Meteora in Greek), these monasteries represent a unique artistic achievement and are one of the most powerful examples of the architectural transformation of a site into a place of retreat, meditation and prayer. In a region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks, monks settled on these ‘columns of the sky’ from the 11th century onwards. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, over 400 m above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka on the Thessalian plain. The Meteora provide an outstanding example of the types of monastic construction which illustrate a significant stage in history, that of the 14th and 15th centuries when the eremitic ideals of early Christianity were restored to a place of honour by monastic communities.
Meteora monastaries are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Delphi is located in lower central Greece, on multiple terraces along the slope of Mount Parnassus, and includes amongst others the Sanctuary of Apollo and the site of the ancient Oracle. Delphi was an important ancient Greek religious sanctuary sacred to the god Apollo. The site of Delphi was believed to be determined by Zeus when he sought to find the centre of Grandmother Earth (or Gaia). He sent two eagles flying from the eastern and western extremities, and the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the omphalos, or navel of Gaia was found.
Delphi is perhaps best known for the oracle at the sanctuary that was dedicated to Apollo during the classical period. According to Aeschylus in the prologue of the Eumenides, it had origins in prehistoric times and the worship of Gaia. The Oracle exerted considerable influence throughout the Greek world, and she was consulted before all major undertakings: wars, the founding of colonies, and so forth. She also was respected by the semi-Hellenic countries around the Greek world, such as Lydia, Caria, and even Egypt. The oracle was also known to the early Romans.
Delphi was also a panhellenic sanctuary, where every four years, starting in 586 BC athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the four panhellenic games, precursors of the Modern Olympics. The victors at Delphi were presented with a laurel crown (stephanos) which was ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy who re-enacted the slaying of the Python. Delphi was set apart from the other games sites because it hosted the mousikos agon, musical competitions.
The city of Athens, Greece, with its famous Acropolis, has come to symbolize the whole of the country in the popular imagination; and not without cause. Athens, which began as a small, Mycenaen community grew to become a city which, at its height, epitomized the best of Greek virtues and enjoyed such prestige that, even after her defeat in the Peloponnesian War, the Spartans refused to sack the city or enslave the citizens.
According to legend, the Athenian King Cecrops named the city after himself but the gods, seeing how beautiful it was, felt it deserved an immortal name. A contest was held among the gods on the Acropolis, to determine which would win the honor. Poseidon struck a rock with his trident and, as water gushed forth, he assured the people that now they would never suffer drought. Athena dropped a seed into the earth which sprouted swiftly as an olive tree. The people found the olive tree more valuable than the water and Athena was chosen as patron and the city named after her. Under Pericles, Athens entered her golden age and great thinkers, writers, and artists flourished in the city.
While he was waiting for Silas and Timothy to come from Macedonia, he was walking around the city, discussing with the locals in the synagogue or the market and was upset by the numerous statuettes. His preaching on the death of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection impressed some epicurean and stoic philosophers who characterized him as “newsmonger”. He was never chased for his preaching while he was in Athens. On the contrary he was taken to High Court (Areopagus) in order to preach formally and in more details.
Paul traveled to Athens by himself and not with his travelling companion, Silas. He was shocked when he discovered that the city of Athens was full of idols although he was impressed by its great beauty. He preached the gospel and had long walks and discussions with the Epicurean and the Stoic philosophers, who urged him to explain to them his teaching and the novel ideas he was introducing (the Athenians proclaimed they enjoyed nothing more than to hear novel ideas and concepts).
At Areopagos -trying to find an affinity with the existing religions- he delivered his famous speech about the identity of “the Unknown God”.
Men, Athenians: I observe that in all things you are devoted in your spirit worship. For as I passed through and observed the things you worship, I also found an altar, which was inscribed “To an unknown god”. Therefore, since you don’t know whom you are worshipping, I announce this to you: The god who made the creation and everything in it, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, does not inhabit temples; he gave all creatures life; he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and exist; for we are also his offspring (Acts 22-28).
St. Paul introduced the “new faith” to the philosophic and religious system of the Greek world, a system which included numerous deities: according to Petronius, one can find more gods than citizens in Athens and, according to Pausanias, the gods interested the Athenians more than anything else. Moreover, St. Paul introduced the humanism of the monotheistic religion, which influenced the Athenians on a moral and intellectual level and was perceived by them as a philosophy and mystery.
Located on the isthmus which connects mainland Greece with the Peloponnese, surrounded by fertile plains and blessed with natural springs, Corinth was an important city in Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman times. Its geographical location, role as a centre of trade, naval fleet, participation in various Greek wars, and status as a major Roman colony meant the city was, for over a millennium, rarely out of the limelight in the ancient world. The mythical founder of the city was believed to have been King Sisyphus, famed for his punishment in Hades where he was made to forever roll a large boulder up a hill.
Corinth is also the setting for several other episodes from Greek mythology such as Theseus’ hunt for the wild boar. Jason also settled there with Medea after his adventures looking for the Golden Fleece. From the early 6th century BCE, Corinth administered the Panhellenic games at nearby Isthmia, held every two years in the spring. These games were established in honour of Poseidon and were particularly famous for the horse and chariot races.
Having travelled throughout Macedonia preaching the Gospel and establishing churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Beroae and Athens, St. Paul eventually arrived in Corinth. There, Paul developed friendship with Akylas and Priscilla -who were tend-makers like Paul- and already knew some things about Jesus. He stayed and worked with them and every Saturday he preached Jews and Greeks. Aquila and Prisca also became key leaders of the young Christian church. After an initial peaceful stay in Corinth, Paul began to encounter some forceful opposition. He must have often struggled with the decision to stay or to leave Corinth. The dilemma was solved in a mystical Christophanic experience, where he was encouraged to remain in Corinth:
Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” Acts 18:9-10.
As a consequence of this divine vision, Saint Paul made Corinth his missionary base and stayed for a year and six months, teaching the word of God. The First Epistle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians – the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible- contains some of the best-known phrases in the New Testament, including
All things to all men” (9:22), “without love, I am nothing” (13:2), “through a glass, darkly” (13:12), and “when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child” (13:11).