BOSTON – The announcement was made through the Metropolis of Maronia and Komotini and the news was broken by ERTnews.gr that Archbishop Elpidophoros of America will visit Northern Greece, Mount Athos, and Constantinople and that he will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Thrace.
In a written message to Archbishop Elpidophoros on Tuesday morning, February 22 we kindly requested from him to inform us about his visit to Greece, the purpose of the visit, when it will take place, and who will accompany him.
Instead, His Eminence sent us the itinerary of the iCloud Tours with a note that “this is the general program. Some details might change.”
Thus, according to iCloud’s itinerary the Archbishop and his entourage were scheduled to depart on Thursday February 24 from Newark Airport with Lufthansa flight 403 at 6:20 PM to Thessaloniki via Frankfurt.
The itinerary follows:
Saturday, February 26, a full day tour of Thessaloniki
Sunday, February 27, celebrate Divine Liturgy at St. Demetrios Cathedral presided by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
Men: Depart for Ouranoupolis. En route stop at Aghia Anastasia, a Patriarchal Church. Upon arriving in Ouranoupolis, embark on a private boat to the Holy Mountain. Visit the Sacred Monastery of Xenophontos. Dinner and overnight on Mt. Athos.
Women: Return to the hotel in Thessaloniki. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner on own. Overnight at the hotel in Thessaloniki.
Monday, February 28, Men: Monastery to be visited will be announced but it will probably be Kellion Monastery.
Women: This morning, depart the hotel at 9:00 PM for a half day tour to Vergina, the first capital of the ancient Macedonians. Visit the archeological site and museum of the Royal Tomb – one of the most important museums in the world! Visit the grave of Phillip, father of Alexander the Great and the grave of Alexander the 4th, son of Alexander the Great. See the spectacular gold and silver objects that were buried with the kings in their tombs. The site is second only to the King Tut of Egypt find. Learn about the mythological and historical background of Macedonia. Return to Thessaloniki. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner on own. Overnight at the hotel in Thessaloniki.
Tuesday, March 01 Men: Visit the Sacred Monastery of Vatopaidi. Overnight in Vatopaidi.
Wednesday, March 02: Men: This morning, the men will depart the Holy Mountain and take a private boat to Ierissos.
Drive to the hotel in Komotini to meet the women.
Women: The women will depart Thessaloniki at 10:00 AM and meet the men at the hotel in Komotini.
This evening, all will attend a ceremony to witness the conferral Doctoral Degree upon His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America at the University of Thraki. Pick up at the hotel at 6:15 PM. The ceremony begins at 7:00 PM and concludes around 8:00 PM. Following the event, there will be a celebratory dinner in honor of His Eminence Elpidophoros of America.
Thursday, March 03: Depart for Constantinople at 9:30 AM. The group will stop at Maronia where a statue has been placed in honor of Archbishop Michael of America. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros will lay a wreath at the statue. The group will be hosted for lunch by the Mayor of Maronia. Upon reaching the border, the group will proceed to clear Turkish Immigration and Customs.
Dinner and overnight at the Intercontinental in Constantinople.
Visit the neighborhood for Mega Revma (Arnayutkoy) which is a picturesque village on the Bosporus.
Afterwards, the group will take a private boat to the island of Halki, one of the beautiful Princess Islands in the Sea of Marmara and the home of the renowned Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.
Tour the school. You will clearly see the empty classrooms with their wooden desks – carvings in the desks with student names and messages. The school is spotless and ready to open and operate in a day’s notice. Pray at the Holy Trinity Monastery. Enjoy lunch at the Theological school.
Afterwards, take a boat back to Constantinople and transfer to the hotel.
Saturday, March 05: Visit Aghia Sophia, the Church of the Holy Wisdom, and often called the eighth wonder of the ancient world.
Outside Aghia Sophia, is the ancient Hippodrome, where chariot races were held. Stop for lunch on your own followed by a visit to the Grand Bazaar. Continue to Panagia Blacherna, the most famous shrine of the Virgin Mary in Istanbul.
After, we will visit Zoodochos Peghe at Balukli Monastery, located outside the land walls to the west of the city.
Sunday, March 06: Celebrate Diving Liturgy at St. George Cathedral at the Ecumenical Patriarchate with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Elpidophoros presiding. After Liturgy, enjoy a private audience with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Monday, March 07: This morning, there will be a middle of the night departure for the airport for departure to the United States.