Join us on the trip of a lifetime as we follow in the footsteps of the apostles across the biblical sites of Greece and Turkey. In Greece, we will visit Athens, Corinth, Thessaloniki, and Philippi, where Paul and his companions preached the gospel, suffered persecution, and planted churches. In Turkey, we will visit the major early Christian centre of Ephesus, as well as the other six churches of Revelation, and take a boat ride out to the island of Patmos, where Jesus appeared to the apostle John. Along the way, we will also have a chance to soak up the history and culture of these two ancient and fascinating lands, including visits to Delphi, Meteora, Troy, Istanbul, and Gallipoli. The study tour promises to enrich your understanding of the Bible, and strengthen your faith in the One of whom it speaks.
Ian Smith and Murray Smith both have expert knowledge of the New Testament and its ancient context, and wide experience in leading study tours to biblical lands. They will provide in-depth teaching in context, connecting the sites we see both to the Scriptures and to Christian life and ministry today.
Unfortunately, spots are now full for the Study Tour.
Depart Sydney this evening on our Emirates flight to Athens.
Arrive this afternoon in Athens, the capital of Greece, and one of the oldest cities in the world with a history spanning 3,400 years. Home of the great minds, philosophers, and teachers of ancient times such as Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, Athens is the birthplace of democracy and a cradle of Western Civilization. We will check in to the hotel and enjoy a relaxed afternoon settling into this ancient city. Early dinner and overnight at our hotel in Athens.
This morning we walk to Areopagus or Mars Hill, the site where trials were heard before the Council of Elders and where the apostle Paul delivered his speech to the Athenians. Next we visit the ancient Agora (marketplace) where Athenians gathered, not only for commercial purposes, but also for political and religious ones. Here we see the well-preserved Stoa of Attalus and the mu- seum inside. We will also visit and take a tour of the New Acropolis Museum, which houses the findings of the Acropolis of Athens. Dinner and overnight in Athens.
Athens / Corinth / Athens
Today we drive south along the coastal road to visit ancient Corinth. Our first stop is the Corinth Canal, which separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland and connects the Ionian and Aegean Seas. We continue to ancient Corinth, one of the most important trading cities of ancient Greece dating back to the 6th century BC. Here, under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, Paul preached and lived for two years. The vigorous and mostly Gentile Church he founded here in 50 AD caused him much grief and prompted him to write the two Corinthian letters. We will visit the ruins of the ancient city where Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla, see the remains of 1st century shops, the bema (judgement seat) where Paul’s trial by Gallio took place, the Fountain of Peirene, the Temple of Apollo, and the Odeon. We will also spend some time in the museum and see the famous Erastus Inscription. For those with energy, a hike up to Acro-Corinth provides excellent views over the isthmus. On the way back to Athens, we will also see the port of Cenchrea (from where Paul sailed for Ephesus) and the Diolkos (slipway) on which ships were dragged across the isthmus. In the late afternoon, we will have some free time in Athens to explore, relax, or go shopping in the neighbourhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki. Dinner and overnight in Athens.
Athens / Delphi
Today we complete our time in Athens by exploring some of the highlights of the city on a panoramic drive. We will see the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Palace, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, and the Roman Forum, before reaching the world-renowned Acropolis. We will walk through the architectural wonders of the Golden Age of Pericles; the Parthenon, the Propylaia, and the Erechtheion. In the afternoon, we depart Athens and drive north to Delphi for dinner and overnight.
Delphi / Kalambaka
In antiquity Delphi was known as the centre of the earth for it was believed that when Zeus released two eagles from opposite sides of the world they would meet in Delphi. The city reached its height in power in the 4th century BC as the sanctuary to the god Apollo, and pilgrims would gather here to seek advice from the great oracle, Pythia, on various matters which included waging wars. We explore the sanctuary by walking up the Sacred Way to see the treasuries, the theatre, the stadium, and the Temple of Apollo. Next we will visit the Museum of Delphi and marvel at the unique collection of artefacts from the excavation, including the bronze “Charioteer”, one of the best-preserved ancient works of metallurgy. In the afternoon, we drive further north to Kalambaka for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Kalambaka / Meteora / Vergina / Berea / Thessaloniki
We commence the day with a visit to two of the Meteora Monasteries which stand amongst striking scenery, perched on top of huge rocks, and making them appear to be suspended in mid-air. Here we will get the opportunity to see exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. From Meteroa we proceed to Vergina and see the burial chamber of Phillip III of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great), and then continue on to the town of Berea (Verias), dubbed “Little Jerusalem” for the many churches that are built across it. Here we will see the ancient synagogue and visit the Bema of Paul where the apostle stood and preached the gospel to the Beroeans in 49 AD. Finally, we drive to our hotel in Thessaloniki for check in, dinner, and overnight.
Thessaloniki / Philippi / Neapolis (Kavala)
Today we have an early start to commence our exploration of Thessaloniki, a major Greek city and the destination of two of Paul’s letters. Thessaloniki was built about 315 BC by King Cassander, brother-in-law of Alexander the Great, who named the city after his wife Thessaloniki. It was a major commercial centre in Roman times as well as the second largest and wealthiest during the Byzantine era. We will enjoy a brief tour of Thessaloniki viewing the White Tower, and the Triumphal Arch of Galerius standing on the Egnatia Way, an ancient Roman road. Time permitting, we may visit the Byzantine Church of St. Dimitrios and its crypt. Next is Philippi, which was also a significant centre in Roman times. The city was established by Philip II of Macedonia in 358 BC, and it was here that Octavian and Anthony defeated Brutus and Cassius, the last defenders of the Roman Republic in 42 BC. The apostle Paul first arrived at Philippi around 50 AD, where he preached the gospel, baptised Lydia, and planted the church – the first on European soil. We will view the baptismal site and visit a crypt dating from the Roman period that is thought to have served as a prison for Paul. We will also see the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica, and the theatre. Finally, we drive to the port in Kavala (Neapolis in New Testament times), where Paul landed with Timothy, Silas, and Luke. Dinner and overnight is in Kavala.
Kavala / Gallipoli / Canakkale
This morning we depart Kavala and cross the nearby border into Turkey at Ipsala where we will be met and greeted by our waiting Turkish guide and driver. We drive south along the Aegean coastline to Gallipoli, historically famous for being the site of many battles during World War One. We will visit Anzac Cove, the memorial site for the Dawn Service, Lone Pine, the Nek, the New Zealand and Turkish Memorials, and Kirkpatrick’s grave. Finally, we cross the Dardenelles by ferry and check into our hotel in Canakkale for dinner and overnight.
Canakkale / Troy / Troas / Assos / Soma
Our first stop today is Troy. Referred to in Homer’s "Iliad" and "Odyssey", Troy has nine cities built on top of each other. Troy VI is the city of the famous Trojan War of Homer where the legendary heroes included Agamemnon, Achilles, Ulysses, and Nestor on the Greek side, and Priam, Hector, and Paris on the Trojan side. We will then proceed to nearby Troas, which was a busy port situated south of Troy. Recent excavations have revealed a dozen different cities covering 3000 years of human occupation. During his stay in Troas, Paul had a dream in which he saw a vision of a man asking him to "Come over to Macedonia and help us", after which he decided to go to Europe. All in all, Paul stopped and preached here three times, including the fateful night when Eutychus fell out of the window! We then continue to Assos, perched high on a cliff and offering breathtaking views overlooking the Aegean Sea and the island of Lesbos. The Acropolis here carries the impressive Temple of Athena. Arriving in Assos on foot from Troas, the apostle Paul preached here and went down to the little port on the shore to board the boat for his return journey to Jerusalem. At the end of the day, we will proceed to Soma for dinner and overnight.
Soma / Thyatira / Pergamum / Kusadasi
We will visit Thyatira (Akhisar), the home of Lydia (Acts 16), and another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. The highlight of the day will be an extended visit to the hauntingly beautiful town of Pergamum, founded in 399 BC. We will ride the cable car to the upper city and there see the Temple of Trajan (Trajaneum), the Altar of Zeus, the Temple of Dionysus, the ancient theatre, and the 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. Later we descend to the lower city and visit the Asclepieum, which was a famous health centre where methods of treatment included blood transfusions, music therapy and meditation. We will finish the day by travelling to the port city of Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.
Kusadasi / Ephesus / Kusadasi
Today we visit the famous city of Ephesus. Ephesus, as we will see, is in a very good state of preservation and the overall existing view of this ancient city will make it evident that she was a wealthy, cultural, and commercial centre in the 1st century. Paul’s preaching in the area resulted with the uproar of the Guild of Silversmiths and the evangelisation of the whole province of Asia. Highlights include the ancient temple to the Roman Emperor, the ‘slope’ houses, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan, the brothel, and the large theatre in which the riot of Acts 19 took place. Not far from the theatre, we visit the Church of St Mary, where the early Church Council of Ephesus took place in 431 AD, affirming the full divinity of Christ. We then proceed to the nearby Temple of Artemis, considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Finally, we will also visit the Ephesus Museum with its many artefacts from ancient Ephesus, including a colossus of the Roman emperor Titus, and a statue of the goddess Artemis. Our day will conclude with a visit to the Basilica of St. John "the Evangelist" which commemorates the strong early church tradition that the apostle John came here with Mary, the mother of Jesus, following the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Dinner and overnight is in Kusadasi.
Kusadasi / Patmos / Kusadasi
Today we will enjoy a day trip to the island of Patmos where the apostle John was imprisoned and where he received and wrote the Revelation. If bad weather precludes this sea journey, we will instead visit Priene, Didyma, and Miletus (with its famous “godfearer” inscription), and later Sirince village for wine tasting and some free time, or visit the port city of Izmir. Dinner and overnight is in Kusadasi.
Kusadasi / Aphrodisias / Colossae / Laodicea / Hierapolis / Pamukkale
We will commence the day with a visit to the remarkable site of ancient Aphrodisias, where the highlights include the stadium, the Baths of Hadrian, the theatre, the "Bishop’s Palace", and the museum. We continue to see the unexcavated mound at nearby Colossae, the site of the town to which Paul addressed his letter. From there we proceed to Laodicea, another one of the Seven Churches, where the remains are found on a flat-topped hill. Christianity came to the area during the time of Paul, brought by Epaphras of Colossae. Laodicea became the seat of a Bishopric and hosted an important Ecumenical Council in the 4th century AD. Highlights will be the water tower, stadium, and the Council chamber. Finally, we get to nearby Hierapolis, founded by Pergamum king Telephos and named after his wife Hiera. Most likely, the very large Jewish element in this city was an important factor in the rapid expansion of Christianity. During the Byzantine period the city became the seat of diocese with a large Christian church dedicated to St. Philip who was martyred here in 80 AD. Highlights include the Roman Baths, the Temple of Apollo, the theatre, and the beautiful calcified terraces. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Pamukkale with the opportunity to enjoy bathing in the thermal springs.
Pamukkale / Philadelphia / Sardis / Nicea (Iznik)
This morning we embark on the long journey north. Our first stop is Philadelphia, another one of the Seven Churches, and an important Christian centre during Byzantine times. We will see the Basilica and several interesting mosques. From there we proceed to Sardis, the last of the Seven Churches on our itinerary, and a city which also holds a prominent place in Greek mythology. Highlights include the 3rd century AD synagogue, the gymnasium, the House of Bronzes, the Temple of Artemis, and, of course, the church. Later we arrive to our modest hotel in Nicea (Iznik) for dinner and overnight.
Nicea / Istanbul
This morning we will explore the town of Nicea; we see where the church in which the seventh Ecumenical Council was held and view the lake which now covers the site where the earlier and more famous Council of Nicea (325 AD) formulated the Nicene Creed. We then complete our drive north to Istanbul. On arrival this afternoon, we visit the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, which has a number of significant biblical artefacts, including ancient Hittite treaties, artwork from the sacred way in ancient Babylon, the inscription from Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem, the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great, and much more. From there we also see Hagia Sophia, one of the great architectural marvels of the early church. We continue onto the Hippodrome, the sportive and political centre of the Old City, and the Underground Cistern built by Justinian in 535 AD. We will also see the Blue Mosque, (facing Hagia Sophia), built in the name of Sultan Ahmet; famous for its blue Iznik tiles and unique for its six minarets. In the afternoon, we visit Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman Empire for four centuries, and view the treasury section. Whilst there, we will make a brief stop at the Church of St Irene, where the Council of Constantinople (381 AD) finalized the famous Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Dinner and overnight is at our hotel in Istanbul.
First thing this morning, on this, our last day of our tour, we head to the Istanbul Spice Bazaar, where we will experience the smells of cinnamon, cloves, and thyme rising from every store, the same smells that filled the air over 400 years ago. We end the tour with a relaxing scenic tour of the Bosphorus by privately chartered boat. The Bosphorus is the natural waterway that divides Asia from Europe, and on our cruise we will see imperial palaces, castles, palatial homes, and two magnificent suspension bridges. In the afternoon, we will visit either the Grand Bazaar or the Chora Museum, which is famous for well preserved frescoes and mosaics. Later, we transfer to the airport for our evening departure flight back to Australia.
Arrive back to Sydney today with wonderful memories of our study tour!
Accreditation: The Christ College Study Tour can be taken for credit towards a range of Australian College of Theology Degrees and Awards. Contact our Academic Registrar, Daniel Wood, for more details.
Students: $8,190-$8,390*, of which $2,790 is an upfront payment and $5,400-5,600* may be placed on FEE HELP
Non-Students (audit): $7,490* per person twin share
Optional Single Room Supplement: $1,250
*Conditions apply. Subject to change depending on the size of group. Prices are in AUD.
Athens – Hotel Titania – 3 nights
Delphi – Hotel Amalia – 1 night
Kalambaka – Hotel Amalia – 1 night
Thessaloniki – Hotel Imperial Palace – 1 night
Kavala – Hotel Lucy – 1 night
Canakkale – Akol Hotel – 1 night
Soma – Ramada by Wyndham – 1 night
Kusadasi – Double Tree Hilton – 3 nights
Pamukkale – Dogathermal Hotel – 1 night
Iznik – Limnades Hotel – 1 night
Istanbul – Hotel Port Bosphorus – 1 night
Parking and transport: Limited 2 hour ticketed parking is available in the surrounding streets. Free unlimited parking can be found a few blocks from the college. Please do not park at Burwood RSL Club as Club parking is for Club patrons only.
Burwood Train Station is about a 7 minute walk from the college.