Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

CNS Photo/Vassilis Triandafyllou, Reuters 
The Parthenon is seen on Acropolis Hill as a passenger ferry sets sail in Athens, Greece, in this 2021 file photo. The Georgia Bulletin’s pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey will trace the footsteps of St. Paul and visit historical sites including the Parthenon. 


Georgia Bulletin pilgrimage to follow ‘In the Footsteps of St. Paul’ 

By NATALIA DURON, Staff Writer | Published March 22, 2024

ATLANTA—The Georgia Bulletin will host its pilgrimage, “In the Footsteps of St. Paul,” to Greece, the Greek Islands and Istanbul in September.  

Good Shepherd Travel is partnering with The Georgia Bulletin to take pilgrims to ancient cities and sights, including Thessaloniki, Kaval, Philippi, Pella, Kalambaka, Meteora, Athens and Corinth on land, and then to Mykonos, Kusadasi, Heraklion and Santorini through a cruise, from Sept. 3-14.  

Pilgrims can extend their trip to Sept. 17 to further explore Istanbul, with a Bosphorus cruise. On land, pilgrims will be able to visit monuments of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, including the Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern. The cruise will visit the Egyptian Bazaar and sail along the Sea of Marmara.  

The spiritual director of the pilgrimage will be Father Lewis Rabayda of Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church in Roswell. Deacon Keith Kolodziej of St. Peter Chanel Church will attend the pilgrimage as well and said this remarkable trip will help pilgrims understand the history that connects the Eastern and Western Traditions.  

Though Byzantine Catholics and Roman Catholics share the same faith, each expresses it differently. Father Rabayda and Deacon Kolodziej said that members of their respective parishes are interested in joining the pilgrimage and hope each group can learn from each other.  

Father Rabayda said he will incorporate Byzantine Catholic prayers and traditions in this pilgrimage along with Roman Catholic practices, including celebrating two Great Feasts: The Nativity of the Theotokos on Sept. 8 and The Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14.  

The pilgrimage will take travelers to the extraordinary locations where St. Paul trekked when spreading the Gospel, including where he baptized the first Christian, delivered his famous sermon in Athens, wrote letters to the Corinthians and was imprisoned.  

Pilgrims will be able to visit famous historical sites along with spiritual ones. The pilgrimage will stop at archaeological museums, Greek ruins, the monasteries of Meteora, the Panathenaic Stadium and the Parthenon, among others.  

“It’s really going to be a whole immersion into Greek experience and culture that comes from the roots of St. Paul,” Deacon Kolodziej said.  

The cost of the 12-day pilgrimage is $4,990 per person leaving from Atlanta. This package price includes roundtrip airfare, luxury hotels, daily meals, private tour buses, an English-speaking tour guide, a four-day cruise and shore excursions.  

The optional Istanbul extension costs an additional $790 per person. 

Deacon Kolodziej said this pilgrimage is open to everyone—those looking for a life-changing experience, or those simply looking for a vacation around the Mediterranean Sea. The trip helps support the work of the archdiocesan newspaper. 

“To see the history, to see the ruins, to walk and pray in these places where Christianity grew up, and to encourage people where the Holy Spirit has been working for centuries … it brings the faith alive for anyone experiencing it,” Father Rabayda said.