Asia Minor, also known as Anatolia, had been a very important center during the birth and development of Christianity. It was on this land (in Antioch) that the term “Christian” was first used, the first church (Church of St. Peter in Antioch) was established, and the new faith was first introduced to the Gentiles by St. Paul. It was also on this land that the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (or of Revelation) came into being. This tour provides an overview where the traveler experiences, first hand, a journey through the ancient cities that had been visited by St. Paul, St. John, and many early Christians. The sites include the Grand Theater in Ephesus (where the “Great Diana of the Ephesians” was worshipped) and Pergamum (where the “Altar of Zeus”, referred to as the “Throne of Satan” in St. John’s letter to the Church of Pergamum) once stood. You will visit Izmir (ancient Smyrna), Sardes, and Laodecia (near Pamukkale). (The other two of the Seven Churches (Philadelphia and Thyatira) do not have much left to see these days, and can be omitted from the program, if so desired.) Indeed, this special tour definitely provides a memorable journey for all who are interested in the roots and history of Christianity.
On a longer tour, one can also see other major locations that Paul had visited. Paul, also known as “Saul of Tarsus”, had spent most of his life in Asia Minor, taking his missionary journeys throughout that land as he was opening Christianity to the Gentiles. The first church was built in Antioch, present day Antakya. All Seven Ecumenical Councils were held in Turkey; and, all Seven Churches of the Revelation are also located in Turkey. In this tour program, you will have the opportunity to visit Tarsus, the birthplace of Paul, as well as many of the ancient cities and regions mentioned in The Bible.