Greece Pilgrimage Day 8

Today was a full itinerary beginning with a stop in Turkey to visit Mt. Koressos where a humble chapel sits on the site of the little house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. The site has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican for pilgrimage. We continued on to ancient Ephesus, one of the most outstanding archeological sites in addition to its biblical importance. Through the Magnesian Gate, the entrance to the ancient city of Ephesus, we walked through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. Jeff addressed us in The Great Theatre, the largest one in antiquity with a capacity of 24,000 seats where St. Paul preached (Acts 19:1-21). Near Ephesus we visited the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century AD by Emperor Justinian. Before returning to the ship, we enjoyed some free time in port Kusadasi for a cultural taste of Turkey. Then we sail for Patmos at noon, one of the most beautiful of the Dodecanese Islands, with time for lunch and mass on board. Before arriving at Patmos, we had mass on board and Jeff gave a teaching on the book of Revelation. On arrival in Patmos, we visited the Monastery of St. John within the walls of a strong fortification. As we walked uphill towards the entrance of the monastery, we marveled at this magnificent structure, which was built 900 years ago. We saw the courtyard, the monks’ dining room and the old bakery before visiting the main church noted for its outstanding frescoes and interior decoration. Next we visited the small museum where priceless ecclesiastical treasures, books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, splendid medieval textiles, vestments and jewelry are housed. A short coach ride brought us to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of the Apocalypse above it. We walked down the steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse where St. John received his visions from Christ during his exile here around 95 AD and recorded them in the Revelation (Revelations 1:9-10). After all that we still had time to enjoy some free time in the quaint and picturesque town of Scala. We sailed for Rhodes at 9pm.