Holy Trinity Pilgrimage to Turkey and Greece

General Information


An information session about this pilgrimage will be held on Sunday, February 26, at 1:00pm in the Faber room. No RSVP is required, however, if you need any additional information, please reach out to Lisa Dittmeier at parishlife@trinity.org or (202) 903-2801.

Father Ben Hawley will be leading a group of Holy Trinity parishioners and friends on a pilgrimage to explore "the treasures of Turkey and Greece" from Monday, October 23 to Thursday, November 2, 2023. In collaboration with Illume, you will experience the transformative power of travel with prayer through Turkey and Greece—places of great cultural, historical, and spiritual significance.

Illume has been creating global travel plans for over 45 years and organized the Holy Trinity pilgrimages with Father Paul Campbell in 2018 and with Father Kevin Gillespie in 2022. Pilgrims will travel by private motor coach and Illume will provide all air and ground transportation as well as hotel accommodations, daily continental buffet breakfast, and all dinners, in addition to two light lunches. The trip will include a two-day cruise from Kuşadasi, Turkey, to Patmos, Crete, and to Santorini, Greece, and concluding in Athens. All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are included on the cruise. An English speaking guide will be with the group for the entire trip, however, the program does allow for some free time to explore. All sights and museum visits are pre-reserved and pre-ticketed, and are included in the total cost of the trip.

The price for the tour will be $5,075 per person, which includes airline tickets, hotel rooms, entrance fees and reservation fees at designated venues, motor coach, and taxes. This price is based on double occupancy. A single-occupancy room supplement is an additional $1,100. Please note that there are a limited number of single-occupancy rooms available. We will try to accommodate requests for single travelers to pair with other pilgrims in double occupancy rooms when possible.

We do not expect any issues with travel restrictions due to Covid. Illume will be responsible for communicating all the latest regulations required for the trip such as forms, possible testing, and information about vaccinations. If at the time of the trip any testing is required in Europe, Illume will coordinate all requirements.

For more information, please feel free to contact Lisa Dittmeier or Helene Flanagan at (202) 903-2801 or by email at parishlife@trinity.org. A limited number of participants will be allowed to register, so it is best to send an email of your interest as soon as possible.

Complete the online registration form (available soon!) and submit your $1,000 deposit check to Illume. The deposit submission deadline is March 10, 2023. Checks should be made payable to Illume and sent to Illume, 236 Lewis Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.


Tentative Itinerary

The Treasures of Turkey and Greece: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Visionary Men and Women
October 23 - November 2, 2023


Monday, October 23, 2023
Departure on overnight flight from Washington, Dulles to Istanbul.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Arrival in Istanbul. You will be met by your local guide/tour manager who will accompany you and your group to the city center. Depending on time of arrival, there will be a bus orientation of the city en route to the hotel. Check into the hotel with time to unpack, freshen up, adjust to new time zone and get something light to eat on own. If the flight arrives early and there is more time in the afternoon, we will organize a casual walking tour of the neighborhood. Welcome dinner this evening. Overnight in Istanbul.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning we will enjoy a guided visit to Hagia Sophia (one of the great architectural structures of early Christianity), the Blue Mosque (sometimes considered one of the most beautiful in Islam), and the Underground Cisterns (from Roman times). Light lunch during the day will be included. In the afternoon, our guide will take us to one or two of the bazaars in the city – either the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market or Arasta Bazaar (smaller version of Grand Bazaar). There will be a welcome liturgy later this afternoon at St. Anthony Catholic Church. Dinner. Later option (at an additional cost, for those with stamina) to go to one of the Whirling Dervishes performances/ceremony. Overnight in Istanbul.

Thursday, October 26, 2023
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning we will enjoy a guided visit to the Topkapi Palace (a fabulous structure overlooking the Bosphorus where the Sultan lived and entertained). Light lunch during the day  will be included. Afternoon visit the Greek Patriarchate and St. Savior in Chora (to see the mosaics). Currently St. Savior in Chora is closed to the public. Should it open, we will visit. If not, we can include some other visit TBD. Time/interest permitting, perhaps more free time for people to visit one of the bazaars and/or take advantage of other options. Dinner/overnight Istanbul.

Friday, October 27, 2023
Breakfast in hotel. We will transfer to the Istanbul airport for a short flight to Izmir. On arrival, we will visit Ephesus including the main street and structures along it, Celsus Library, the sloping Roman villas, and the theatre, the basilica of St. John — a very early and significant Christian structure overlooking the Artemesium (one of the wonders of the ancient world). Ephesus is one of the most important archaeological parks in the world and a pivotal city in early Christian history. Liturgy at St. Mary’s house up in the mountains overlooking Ephesus. We continue then to check into the hotel with time to relax by seaside and/or pool. Dinner/overnight Kuşadasi.

Saturday, October 28, 2023
Breakfast in hotel. We will transfer to the port to board our cruise. The ship leaves Kuşadasi at 1 PM and sails to Patmos. At Patmos we will enjoy a shore excursion visiting St. John's Monastery and the Cave of the Apocalypse. The ship then continues overnight to Crete. During the cruise, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served.

Sunday, October 29, 2023
Breakfast/lunch/dinner on board. We will reserve space on board for a liturgy today. The first port-of call is Crete. Here we will enjoy a shore excursion to visit the ruins of the Palace of Knossos in Heraklion.  This is an ancient site dating back to the Minoan culture. At Santorini, participants will be free to disembark and enjoy the local flavor and color of this Greek isle. We continue overnight on the cruise to  Athens.

Monday, October 30, 2023
Early arrival in Athens port and disembark. We travel to Kalambaka to visit the monasteries of Meteora  perched high on mountain tops. These are beautiful and mysterious centers of Greek monastic life. We will visit a few this afternoon before checking into our hotel for dinner/overnight. We will have space for liturgy at hotel. Dinner/overnight Kalambaka.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning we will visit a workshop site known for production of icons by local artisans. We continue then to Athens for dinner and overnight.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Breakfast in the hotel. Today we will visit the great archaeological sites of the Acropolis, the Agora, and the Areopagus. These are important iconic places associated with Greek culture but also associated  with Paul's visit to Athens and his ministry there. We will visit the new Acropolis Museum as well. Farewell liturgy at the local Catholic Church. There may be time to enjoy the Plaka district before we have a farewell dinner there. Overnight Athens.

Thursday, November 2, 2023
Breakfast. Transfer to the Athens airport for return flight to Dulles.