Deep-rooted in Christianity, the cities and islands of Greece have many sites of great biblical significance. Religious influences can be found in all corners of the country in its ancient basilicas, grottos and shrines that are centuries old. Trace the arrival and early beginnings of Christianity in Europe and embark on a journey of spirituality and religion in Greece with Collette Vacations. Visit awe-inspiring destinations reflecting the Christian faith and be filled with a sense of appreciation and gratitude.
Athens, the cosmopolitan capital city of Greece, is home to ancient monuments like the Parthenon and the Temple of Olympian Zeus and UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Acropolis of Athens and Daphni Monastery. Athens also has many Greek Orthodox churches. Overlooking the Agora of Athens, the Temple of Hephaestus was converted to the Church of St.
George Akamas in the 7th century. The Pentelic marble temple boasts of distinct architecture with a wooden ceiling and terracotta roof tiles. Inside the temple are three distinct sections – a front temple, an inner shrine and a rear temple. The Mitrópoli or the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens ranks as the largest church in the city. Along with its imposing domed roof and towers, the interiors are decorated with ornate and colorful frescoes. Another popular church in Athens dates back to 1843. St. Paul’s Anglican Church Athens is one of the earliest foreign churches in the city built in a neo-Gothic style. The Catholic Church of St. Dionysius is the main Roman Catholic church in Athens. With its neo-Renaissance architecture, the church is notable for its stained glass windows and frescos that adorn its interiors.
Corinth has great significance biblically and architecturally. Apostle Paul arrived in this ancient Roman imperial city in the 1st century to disseminate Christianity. While in Corinth, he was brought for judgment before the proconsul Gallio on the accusation of conducting illegal teachings. The site of the trial was the Bema, which later became a Christian church. Visitors can see the Bema at Corinth is where a Great Vesper is held on the feast of Saint Paul and it is also the historical seat of the Metropolis of Corinth.
The second largest Greek city, Thessalonica is where Apostle Paul made his second missionary journey. The city has many prominent Christian churches that are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Church of Panagia Chalkeon and Church of the Acheiropoietos. The Church of Panagia Chalkeon displays unique Macedonian-period architecture with arches, columns and domes and within the church interiors are remnants of 14th century paintings on some of the sanctuary walls. The Church of the Acheiropoietos is a 5th century three-sided basilica considered to be one of the earliest surviving churches in the city. Inside the church are mosaics with Christian and heavenly symbols along with 13th century wall paintings portraying the Forty Martyrs.
One of the most important archaeological sites of old Christianity is Philippi, which is where Apostle Paul visited after arriving in Kavala. Here, he built the first Greek Orthodox church on European ground. The Basilica of St. Paul is regarded as the oldest church in the city and it features the inscriptions of Bishop Porphyrios on the floor.
The picturesque Greek island of Patmos is where the Book of Revelation in the New Testament was written after John of Patmos had a vision. A significant pilgrimage location, the Cave of Apocalypse is a grotto where John of Patmos is said to have received his revelation. Along with the Cave of Apocalypse, the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Patmos is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is representative of early Christianity.
The city of Veria or Berea is dotted with 50-odd medieval churches and it is also the seat of the Church of Greece. It was one of the many locations where Apostle Paul preached to Jewish and Greek communities as stated in the Bible. Of significance in Veria is Church of Saint Antonios built in 1860 and dedicated to the patron saint of Veria, Saint Antonios and affords ecclesiastical frescos. The Apostle Paul’s Altar is another monument that attracts the religious as are the Church of Saints Peter and Paul and the 16th century Church of Saints Kirikos and Ioulitis.
Finding mention in both the Old and New Testament, Rhodes is famous for Colossus of Rhodes recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. According to local tradition, Apostle Paul arrived at a harbor in Lindos by ship, which was later renamed as St. Paul’s Harbor.
Plan your religious tour to Greece with Collette where experienced tour planners can customize itineraries to suit your needs to include both faith and fun.