Greece 2016

Last Night of our Trip

A great group and a great tour following in the steps of Paul plus a little extra. Thank you for a great trip. Love, from Garry and Helen

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Santorini

Santorini

Santorini

Beautiful Santorini, the jewel of the south Agean. It was the possession of many seafaring nations from the Phonecians to the Venecians, to Barbarosa the Pirate who possessed the isle for the Ottomans, to the Germans and the Greeks. Its situation made it a perfect port for trade between the Middle East and Europe.

It is an active Super Volcano in the arc of underwater volcanoes extending from Istanbul to Sicily

Myconos

Myconos

Beautiful island of the thousand Greek Isles. Great time to visit when the crowds are not so large. The weather was perfect.

 

Athens

Athens

Highlights were Mars Hill where Paul gave his speech as recorded in Acts 17, the Acropolis and the magnificent Museum of Athens

 

Corinth

The Corinthian Canal

Completed in the 1800’s

 

Corinth

We held a memorial meeting on the site recalling the lessons learned by the Corinthian Church of the first century. Brother Archaicus exhorted us, recalling the words and actions of the apostle Paul.Emphasis was placed on the unity of the believers and the need we have to fight against and resist the forces of division.

Olympia

Olympia

The original stadium of ancient Greece. On 21 April 2016, just a few days after we visited, the Olympic flame was lit. From here in Greece after visiting some sites in Greece it travels to the country of the next Olympic games (Rio, Brazil).

Delphi

 Delphi

Delphi was the religious centre of Greece.     Kings and peasants made the awesome trek up her long and steep slopes to hear a word from the Oracle of Delphi. They assembled at the entrance of the temple of Zeus where the priestess intoxicated with the hallucinogenic incense rose on a platform inside the temple. She delivered her answer to the priests who interpreted it and passed it on, in turn to the people.     What they didn’t see was the secret passages the delivered the priestesses to the temple.

Meteora

The retreat of the orthodox monks from the about 1350. They prospered for some 200 years till the invasion by the Ottoman Turks who persecuted and destroyed all but 6 of the pinnacle monasteries.

 

Neapolis, Philippi, Thessaloniki, Berea, Pella.

PELLA

Pella

Pella is the city where Phillip II and his son Alexander were born. The Capital of Macedonia was change by Alexanders Great grandfather to make it closer to the sea and more accessible for the city states. At that time it was a coastal city but now the sea has receeded kilometers away.

Their former capital of Vergina was kept as a summer palace and the place of burial of the kings and nobles

Thessaloniki

 Thessaloniki

Paul made his way to Thessaloniki not knowing the suffering his message would bring to the fledgling believers there. “He passed by Appolonia “, which in fact is a large fresh water lake and not a town at all. Here there was a synagogue. Its location is at the top of the acropolis where the city was centered

 Appolonia … not a town – a fresh water lake

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The Port of Neapolis

 

 Philippi

Filipi – Philippi

Paul and his company of Titus, Timothy, Silas and Luke made their way to Neapolis, the closest major port of Europe to Troas.   They followed the appeal of a Macedonian who appeared in a the vision to Paul saying … “come over and help”.     About 360 years earlier, a Macedonian (Alexander the Great) was travelling in the opposite direction and he received a vision similarly inviting him into Asia. The vision he saw was of the high priest of Israel, who beckoned him into Asia for conquest.

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Campania

Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, Amalfi, Vesuvius

Vesuvius

 

Museum in Naples

Pompeii

We also visited the Museum where a great deal of artifacts are stored

 

Sorrento and Amalfi

Spectacular and hair-raising views characterise the narrow winding road to Amalfi

 

Not far from the port are the fields of fire. Dropping a bolder on the ground caused a resonating fluid vibration under our feet. The ground was so hot under foot showing the whole of Naples is sitting on a gigantic volcanic caldera.

Putioli (modern Pozzuoli)

It was thrilling ourselves to reach the port where a weary Paul and his fellow companions disembarked first on the Mainland on their way to Rome.

Rome 2016

The Vatican

When popes were crowned, the words ‘Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the world, Vicar of our Saviour Jesus Christ’ were used. Some say this is the symbolic meaning of the Triple Tiara Crown worn by past Popes and the current insignia of the Papacy.

 

 

The Pantheon

Meaning “every god” was converted to a Catholic church in 7th century

This magnificent structure stands as strong today as when it was first built by Hadrian. It was first commissioned by Marcus Agrippa in the days of Augustus Caesar (BC 27 – AD 14) and completed by Hadrian in 126AD.

Rejoice over her My people

The Jewish people did not allow themselves to even walk under the arch of Titus for 1900 years UNTIL … On 15 May 1948, Israel was declared a nation.   That day Jews in Rome Danced under the Arch of Titus – They sang and played music in celebration  Today Israel stands while Rome is in ashes

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The Forum

This was the center of government of Ancient Roma.     It also was the place where Caesars erected Arches to commemorate their victories. There were 46 Arches raised up to the pride of conquerors.     But on 3 remain to today.     Titus Arch is one of those three.   Incredibly, it survived.    It commemorates the victory of ROME over  Judea – over the City of JERUSALEM.    Depicted on one side are Roman soldiers.     One the other side is depicted the Jews as slaves carrying their Lamp-stand (mannorah) into captivity.

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The Colosseum

The Colosseum was built between AD 72-80.   It housed some 50,000 people and was the center for blood entertainment.    An incredible construction of tunnels under a wooden floor covered with sand to absorb the blood and refuse.   It could be flooded for water battles.    It was shaded by massive sails

Scenes around Rome

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Alice our fabulous guide

Alice, pronounced “Alee-che”, or simply, Ali

 

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Trastivere

In ancient times, an unpopular area, so much so it was given no name but “over the river” =  trans-Tiber. This is where the Jews of the day lived.  It is where the synagogue was under this restaurant, pictured above.

 

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The River Tiber (Tiver)

 

Springs of Rome

Springs abound in Rome. Surrounded by Seven hills that give rise the an abundant supply of water, enough to supply the population today and for the last 2000 years and more. Here Helen is drinking from one outlet. The fountains of Rome are also supplied by this source

 

OLD ROME

Entering into old Rome we came upon the Jewish Ghetto. It was an area assigned to the Jews in 1540. They were confined to here by the Pope of the day until 1870. In that year with the unification of Italy came their freedom.   In 1540 they had become too rich and influential for the comfort of the Vatican. They were restricted to trading in the clothing industry. Today they own most of the very lucrative clothing industry in Italy.    I find this an incredible irony. God turns their hand to success no matter the oppressive devisings of their enemies.      The word Ghetto referred originally to the FOUNDRY in Venice where casts and molds were forged. An appropriate name for the process whereby God is fashioning His people for future glory in the Kingdom of Christ.

Florence 2016

 

“David” – the real deal. This is the original statue of David by Michelangelo. You may not have noticed the sling over his shoulder. Attention tends to be drawn elsewhere. Notice the stone in his right hand.

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David. Copy in the original location outside the Palazzo Vecchio.

DAVID – a copy of Michelangelo’s statue, (5.2 meters) standing in its original location outside the palace, Palazzo Vecchio.    The inscription over the palace reads … “Christ is King”, implying that no mortal ruler has absolute power.

Michelangelo was a republican who sculptured “David” in 1521-23.   He depicted David not in the usual way with the head of Goliath, but in a threatening manner prior to the battle. Some suggest that this implied a veiled threat against the Medici family monarchy … Florence became a republic in 1527 only to return to the Monarchy in 1530

Monuments

Monuments abound in Italy. On the main church in Milano, for example there were over 4,000 statues that if placed end to end would be over 5,000 meters high.

 

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Ponte Vecchio

The oldest surviving bridge in the city, built in 1385 .   Originally the site of butchers and tanners until 1593 when Duke Ferdinando I, due to the irksome smell, replaced them with jewellers and goldsmiths.

 

Can you work out the bible stories. The local guide was impressed with our Bible knowledge, in working out the scenes of all 10 panels on the back door of the Duomo

 

Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence or as the say in Italy,”Firenze”, means a flower.   Undoubtedly the major landmark in Firenze is the massive DUOMO  (“cathedral”), Santa Maria de Fiore.

Venice 2016

 

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St Mark’s Basilica in Venice

 

(notice the expressions on the faces – the bones of Mark were hidden in pork fat to avoid detection)

To maintain AUTHORITY equal with the powerful Vatican, Venice sought a religious symbol independent of St Peter’s in Rome. To do this they needed the bones of Mark, following suit with the Vatican’s credentialing.    They sent  embassadors to Alexandria in Egypt where Mark had died and where his bones were.    Whether purchased or stolen the bones arrived in Venice and their RELIGIOUS authority was established along side their military and trading credentials. They thus had acquired the mind and the heart and the soul of the people, as well as their purses.

 

 

Their houses of justice and government reflected a rich culture and awesome art & architecture

The form of government in old Venice was very effective lasting a thousand years and resisting the invasion of the the most powerful of the Hapsburg Emperors.     It consisted of a republic established by business men.     They had a most powerful navy being a trading nation.      The city was primarily established by businessmen for trading.    They had just laws where the cornerstone of their system was FAITH, JUSTICE, MERCY.      All men were considered as equal. Even the elected leaders were not elevated above their station.     They strove for the advancement of their city and prosperity.    They had forged over many years excellent, trusting trading relationships across Arabia and through to China. 

Then there are the bridges in Venice … 435 of them  joining 121 little islands

The stern staring face carved into the wall, with its inscription is a warning to any who would accuse anyone in the city falsely. It both was an opportunity for public exposure and a guard against corruption. One could accuse … but had to have two witnesses and declare their name.       Caterina  is an awesome guide. We were so blessed to have had her. Lovely &  pleasant as well as so knowledgeable. Herself is a Venetian of many, many generations.

Happy times enjoying the amazing food in Italy

The company and the meals have been fantastic

Some of the important and multitude of bridges in Venice

Today, Jewish worshipers live freely and confidently in Modern Venice

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This is the Ghetto of Venice. Jews lived in protection of the laws of Venice for hundreds of years till 1938 when Mussolini, a sympathiser of Hitler’s anti-semetic policies, subjected the whole population of 1,670 to the holocost terrors. Only 37 returned after the war.

A famous glass blowers were restricted to working on their island of Murano, so as to protect the other islands from fire.  It is said that they fiercely guarded their industry on pain of death

The ultimate experience and definition of Venice

Days 3-5 … Venice / Venezia

 

Rod, having some fun in the once Roman city of Verona

So much for that locking idea!IMG_0781
Verona

The theme of love and friendship continues in Verona

Day 3  … Wherefore art though Romeo?

Helen looking for her true love … Wherefore art thou Garry?
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End of a very long day staying over night in Como

Milan – Day 2

Famous for the massive Cathedral – 3rd largest in Europe, it took 500 years to complete.  Milan was attacked many times being in a very strategic area. It was once the capital of Rome and occupied by Milanese dukes, the Lombards, Spanish oppression, Austrians, French. The unification of Italy finally saved them politically to be bombed severely in the world wars.  It is where Leonardo Da Vinci spent a number of years and where his paining of “the last Supper” resides.