Pictures from the Holy Land

Diocese of Florida Pilgrimage to Turkey

The Seven Churches of Revelation


The Footsteps of Paul

Led by:

The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard
Diocese of Florida
Jacksonville, FL

November 4 – 17, 2013

Trip map

In the seal of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, John the Evangelist is shown walking through the palm trees of Florida, carrying in one hand the Holy Bible and in the other, a communion chalice.  Seven stars shine down from the sky above him.

The stars symbolize two important groups of churches.  First, they symbolize the seven churches which met at St. John’s Church in Tallahassee in 1838 to found the Diocese of Florida.  Second, they symbolize and refer back to the seven churches of the Book of Revelation, each of whom read the words of Christ as written to them by the pen of John.  It is because of that double reference to the churches of our own Diocese and to the scriptural churches in Revelation that this pilgrimage is especially significant.  We will be visiting the sites of each of those seven churches, studying their history and studying, too, the messages which Christ addressed to them.  Those messages are as pertinent and timely today as they were two thousand years ago.  Our pilgrimage in Turkey—Asia Minor—to each of those sites will form the core of our pilgrimage.  The Book of Revelation has long been a topic of study and teaching for me, and I am eagerly looking forward to visiting these important Biblical sites with you.

Additionally, we will walk in many of the footsteps of Paul and of other important and ancient Christian figures, including the Cappadocian Fathers.  Our time in the midst of a secular culture, which is a meeting place of Christianity and Islam, will provide many opportunities to consider the challenges of ecumenism in today’s world.

Marie and I believe that our November pilgrimage will be a life-changing event for us and for all who travel with us.  We hope that you will join us on this spiritual journey of study prayer and understanding.

“Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20a

DAY 1: Monday, November 4, 2013 - Depart Jacksonville, FL for flight to Charlotte, NC where we will connect to our overnight flight to Munich, Germany.  There, we will continue with our final flight into Ankara, Turkey. D

DAY 2: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - We arrive in Ankara mid-afternoon.  In ancient times known as Ancyra, it was the capital city of ancient Galatia.  In the early 20th century, Kemal Ataturk made it the capital of modern Turkey.  We will have a “welcome to Turkey” dinner in our downtown hotel this evening. BD

DAY 3: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - Today we visit the Roman temple to Caesar Augustus, the Museum of Archaeology and the Mausoleum of Ataturk.  After lunch, we will drive to Cappadocia, a land of strange and beautiful geological formations, and of pre-Christian and Christian history.  Inhabited from at least Neolithic times, Cappadocia became a major center of early Christianity.  Paul was here, and in the fourth century, three of the most important Trinitarian theologians (and saints) of the early church lived here: Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzus.  Arriving in Cappadocia in the evening, we will see several vistas of its surreal landscapes of volcanic ash formed millions of years ago, fairy chimneys shaped through millennia of erosion, and spectacular red rock cones.  Dinner and overnight in Urgup/Cappadocia. BD

DAY 4: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - Today we visit Goreme whose churches were carved into the rock and date from the 8th and 9th centuries.  Frescoes appeared on the walls around the 10th and 11th centuries depicting scenes from the New Testament and the lives of popular saints. Churches of interest in this open air museum include the Church of Saint Barbara and the Church of the Sandal.  We continue to Avanos located at the edge of Kýzýlýrmak-Red River - famous for pottery workshops.  We continue to the village of Zelve, carved into the rocks centuries ago.  A ridge divided the valley here into Christian and Muslim sections and a church and mosque were carved from the same rock.  We will also visit the underground city of Derinkuyu (or Kaymaklý).  We return to our Urgup hotel for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 5: Friday, November 8, 2013 - We leave for Konya (ancient Iconium).  Paul visited Iconium on his first missionary journey.  Konya is a major Muslim center, famous especially because it was the home of Rumi, a 13th century mystic, poet and philosopher.  Rumi (also known as Mevlana) founded an order of dervishes.  We will visit his tomb, Ince minareli a medrese (a Muslim theological school), and a mosque.  Overnight in Konya. BD

DAY 6: Saturday, November 9, 2013 - Leaving Konya, we drive to the impressive ruins at Pisidian Antioch, an ancient city important in Paul’s activity (see Acts 13:13-52).  We continue to the south coast of Turkey, driving through the Taurus mountain range which Paul had to traverse each time he traveled inland into Asia Minor.  We arrive in Antalya on the south coast in the afternoon.  Overnight in Antalya. BD

DAY 7: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - We explore ancient Perge, a city in which Paul was active (Acts 13:13, 14:25).  Among the cities that Paul visited, Perge is second only to Ephesus for its ancient ruins.  We travel on to Aspendos to see its impressive ancient theater.  In the afternoon, we visit to the Museum of Archaeology or “free time” at our hotel.  Overnight in Antalya. BD

DAY 8: Monday, November 11, 2013 - We depart for Hierapolis and Pamukkale.  We will see the remains of Laodicea, one of the Seven Cities of Revelation (see Rev. 3:1-6) and the ancient site of Hierapolis, founded in the 2nd century BC by the king of Pergamum.  We see the Roman theater, the Temple of Apollo, and the Necropolis.  Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale. BD

DAY 9: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - We make our way to another of the Seven Cities, Philedelphia, to which John wrote in Rev. 3: 7-13.  We continue to the ancient city of Sardis, another of the Seven Cities (Rev. 3:1-6).  A city of impressive ruins, it includes a well preserved Jewish synagogue.  We drive to Selcuk, where we will visit the ruins of the 6th century Basilica of St. John, the traditional site of St. John’s grave.  Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea where we will stay for two nights. BD

DAY 10: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - Today we visit Ephesus, the best preserved ancient city in the world.  Once on the sea, Ephesus is now about 3 miles inland.  Ephesus was a major center of Paul’s activities (see Acts 19), as well as one of the Seven Cities of the Book of Revelation (Rev. 2:1-7).  Paul lived here for some years and wrote many of his letters from here.  We see the Odeon, the theater, the Library of Celsus, and the Cliff Houses.  We will visit the Double Church of Mary and then visit Mary’s House a few miles away, thought by some to be the last home of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Dinner and overnight Kusadasi. BD

DAY 11: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - We travel to Izmir known in ancient times as Smyrna, another of the Seven Cities to which John wrote in Rev. 2: 8-17.  Izmir is the third largest city of Turkey.  We will see the Kadifekale (the velvet castle) built by Alexander the Great and then we will visit St. Polycarp church named for the first bishop of Smyrna who was martyred there.  We continueto ancient Pergamun, another of the Seven Cities of Revelation.  Here we visit the Acropolis and the Asclepion.  We drive to Thyatira, one of the Seven Cities to which John wrote in Rev. 2: 18-29 and continue to the Izmir airport for our flight to Istanbul.  We arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight. BLD

DAY 12: Friday, November 15, 2013 - We visit the great Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia (Church of Holy Wisdom), built in 537 and Christendom’s most important church for 900 years before it was turned into a mosque in 1453.  Later, it became a museum.  We also see the Hippodrome, an ancient Roman stadium.  We visit the famous Topkapi Palace and, time permitting, visit the Grand Bazaar.  We will see a Whirling Dervish performance this evening. BD

DAY 13: Saturday, November 16, 2013 - Morning cruise up the Bosphorous, the narrow strait of water separating Asia from Europe, with its wonderful views of Istanbul.  We will have lunch at the quaint fishing village of Sariye, before returning to Istanbul and an afternoon visit to the Kariye Museum, once the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, whose 14th century mosaics and frescoes depicting biblical scenes are the finest such works in the Byzantine world.  The highlight of our day will be a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the home of His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, head of the Greek Orthodox Church.  We have requested an audience with his Holiness and pray that he will be available to receive us.  We will have a festive “farewell dinner” at a local restaurant tonight. BD

DAY 14: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - We have an early morning departure for the airport and our flights back to the United States. BM

Price: $4,199.00.  Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air on United and Lufthansa Airlines from Jacksonville, FL Airport.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement:  $819.00

Price EXCLUDES airline taxes & fuel surcharges of $510.00 per person on March 4, 2013 and may change.  These will be added to your final invoice.  Pricing based on exchange rate of 1.33 dollar to the Euro.  If rate changes, price may change.

Final payment due August 6, 2013

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until August 5, 2013:  $100 per person plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ August 6, 2013 or later:  NO REFUND

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, M Meals on aircraft

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.

Note that Turkey is a physically demanding destination. Good shoes and some preparing for the trip on the stair master are invaluable aids to a healthy and happy pilgrimage.