Pilgrimage to Orthodox Thessaloniki, Kosovo & Serbia
May 26-June 4, 2014
Day 1, June 14th - Departure from US
Overnight flight to Thessaloniki with one connection in Europe.
Day 2 June 15th - Thessaloniki (D)
Arrival to Thessaloniki, meet and greet, evening tour of Thessaloniki. Dinner & overnight.
Day 3 June 16th - Thessaloniki (B,L)
Day in Thessaloniki visiting St. Dimitrios, Panagia Chalkeon, Moni Vlatadon, Agia Sophia. Departure to Monastery of the Evangelist John, Sorouti, dedicated to St. Paisios the Athonite, Vespers. Overnight in Monastery Sorouti or back to Thessaloniki.
Day 4 June 17th - Meteora & Thessaloniki (B,L)
Divine Liturgy at Monastery Sorouti or in Thessaloniki. Enjoy a day trip to the collective of monasteries of Meteora. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
Day 5 June 18th - Kosovo (B,D)
Travel day from Thessaloniki to Kosovo “Serbia’s Jerusalem”. Arrive to Monastery Gracanica (14th c.) in time for Vespers. This monastery is built on the ruins of a 6th century basilica and is the place where the famed Battle of Kosovo took place in 1389 when Serbian soldiers went into battle choosing the kingdom of heaven over the earthly kingdom. This sacred land is the heart and soul of Serbia. The evening will be dedicated to fellowship with young adults and professionals gathered from enclaves in the region. Overnight in Monastery Gracanica.
Day 6 June 19 - Kosovo (B,D)
Visit historic KFOR protected Patriarchate of Pec (13th c. UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger) and Monastery Visoki Decani (declared a World Heritage Site in 2004 housing irreplaceable treasures). We will be received by the courageous monks, including a visit with cybermonk Fr. Sava, and learn how they maintain their faith and sacred places in light of daily persecution. A rare opportunity to pray with them at Vespers, learn and spend a quiet reflective overnight in the monastery.
Day 7 June 20th - (B, L) Serbia
Travel to Monastery Studenica (12th c.) endowment of the Nemanjich Dynasty and home of St. Sava. The main monastery church houses the relics of Stefan Nemanja – St. Simon the Monk, St. Steven the First-Crowned, and St. Anastasia. Time permitting, a hike to St. Sava’s upper hermitage will be arranged. Vespers.
Day 8 June 21st - Serbia (B, L)
Travel to Monastery Zicha (13th C.), the Serbian Westminster Abbey known as the church of coronations. Enjoy an outdoor medieval culinary experience for lunch in Krstovgrad, then arrive in time for Vespers at Monastery Ravanica (14th c.). Here you will have the opportunity to venerate the incorrupt relics of Holy Prince Lazar of Kosovo. Overnight in Belgrade.
Day 9 June 22nd - Serbia (B,D)
Free day to rest and explore Belgrade on your own.
Optional day trip to Monastery Vitovnica the burial place of Elder Thaddeus “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives”.
Evening panoramic tour and dinner. Overnight in Belgrade.
Day 10 June 23rd - Serbia-Belgrade (B,D)
Day visit to the largest Orthodox church in the world, the Cathedral of St. Sava on Vracar Hill, with concert. We will visit Monastery Rakovica, women’s monastery and burial place of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle (1914-2009) followed by a tour of St. Petka Church the holy wellspring and Kalemegdan Fortress built in 279 BC by Justinian I, where the Sava and Danube Rivers meet. Dinner and folklore show. Overnight in Belgrade.
Day 11 June 24th - Serbia-Topola (L)
We will attend Divine Liturgy at Oplenac –St. George’s Church and Mausoleum of the Royal family of the house of Karadjordje. King Peter I began construction of this jewel in 1910 incorporating 725 compositions in 40 million pieces of glass mosaic.
Afterwards, we have arranged for a wine tasting and lunch in the Royal Vineyards of Aleksandrovic overlooking the panoramic heart of Serbia – Sumadija. After lunch we’ll visit the Topola Museum commemorating the place of the first Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire from 1804-1813 and returning to Belgrade to enjoy a free evening. Overnight in Belgrade.
Day 12 June 25th - Serbia-Novi Sad & Fruska Gora (B, L)
Optional visit to monasteries of Fruska Gora & Novi Sad including the 17th-18th century Petrovaradin Fortress on the Danube, the iconic Clock Tower and Old Town featuring Gothic Revival and Neo-Renaissance styles of architecture. Evening free. Overnight in Belgrade.
Day 13 June 26th - Departure Day (B)
Transfers to airport. Return home to US or departure to Montenegro (additional option)
Included among the free time options in Belgrade are:
Day trip to the Neolithic archeological site of Vinca
Meet with classic musicians/choir at the Academy of Fine Arts on Knez Mihailova
An Afternoon at Ada Ciganlija for a swim
Attend a soccer match at Zvezda Stadium
Shopping at the Belgrade Design District or strolling in Zemun a quaint, Baroque inspired 19th century district full of architecture casting shadows on flower-lined cobblestone streets.
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