After a 5 hour drive south from Meteora, our group finally arrived in Athens were we would be for two nights.
The new day began with a visit out to Ancient Corinth where Saint Paul lived for almost two years. We visited the ancient ruins of the city and saw the site where he preached the Gospel from the Rostrum; the Peirene fountain; and the 6th century BC Temple of Apollo. We also took the opportunity to celebrate Mass there and take some time out for more personal reflection and journalling time before moving onto Cenchreae, the ancient port from where Saint Paul departed for Ephesus (Acts 18:18).
Arriving back in Athens that afternoon, we then toured the Acropolis and the Areopagus (also known as Mars Hill) where St Paul delivered his famous sermon about the identity of “the Unknown God” (Acts 17:15-34). We also visited the Ancient Agora; the Plaka (Old Greece); and explored the Parthenon. On the way back to our hotel, we got to see Kallimármaro Stadium, a structure which dates back to 330BC and was restored for the first modern Olympic Games held here in 1896.
On our final morning of Athens, we relished our first “sleep-in” of the pilgrimage (after nearly a whole week of 6am wake-up calls and full days in the hot Mediterranean sun). We took the opportunity to celebrate an extended Mass in one of the meeting spaces of the hotel, which incorporated the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. This was a really powerful experience for many of us. After this, we began our journey to Patmos.
“I found it very interesting just how much history was held within these ancient sites. Visiting these iconic and unique sites made our trip to Greece all the more authentic for me.” – Sarah
“Every Mass is a blessing, but the Mass at Ancient Corinth was breathtaking. The First Letter to the Corinthians is my favourite of St Paul’s letters, and being able to celebrate mass in a city where St Paul preached about the love of Jesus and continued the spread of Christianity meant so much to me.” – Lauren
“Seeing the Acropolis was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments that really brought home that we were in Greece. It was absolutely beautiful. Mass in Corinth was also fantastic, and the half hour reflection time afterwards gave everyone a chance to recharge and remember why we’re here.” – Molly
The Sacrament of Anointing in Mass was one of the highlights of the trip for me thus far. It was the perfect sacrament to celebrate just before we embark on our spiritual journey in Poland for the WYD week. The Sacrament really allowed us to surrender anything that was holding us back physically, mentally and spiritually. – Anna