The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville
On 24th March -
Summer Edition 2010
Crac de Chevaliers
After a day at sea, we next came to the first of three ports in Turkey -
Palm Sunday saw us at Antalaya. After our service and Palm Cross distribution we set off for the Anatolian city of Perge, where Paul began the mainland part of his first voyage. The next very exhausting but rewarding day took us first to the House of the Virgin Mary (her last known home), and the basilica of St John where lie the apostle’s remains (not in Patmos as is sometimes claimed). Thence to a mosque where the Iman gave us an intriguing insight into Islam, and then the great city of Ephesus, where St Paul spent two years teaching and our group had the memorable, unique experience of conducting readings and prayers in the very amphitheatre where Paul spent so much of his time.
Back to the ship at Bodrum and an overnight sailing to the historic island of Rhodes. Here we went to Lindos and its acropolis (to my surprise I managed the steep climb without the aid of a donkey) which overlooks St Paul’s Bay, where he sheltered from a storm.
Next was Heraklion in Crete, where St Paul united the Hebrew Cretans and appointed St Titus as the first Bishop of the island. Here we were conducted around the famed museum at Knossos.
Then to Monemvasia -
Good Friday was spent at sea, and there is always something special about services conducted afloat. 3rd April and a quite different experience with an excursion from Al Khums in Libya to the magnificent Roman city of Leptis Magna, including sightings of the arch of Emperor Septimus Serverus, Hadrian’s thermal baths and the 26,000 capacity amphitheatre. Awesome!
The Roman Theatre at Leptis Magna
Easter Sunday was spent in Malta. Following morning service in St John’s co-
5th April took us to Gozo, which like its big sister has numerous associations with St Paul and has three churches bearing his name, plus the pre-
Altogether this was a most absorbing fortnight. The main problem being to take in all that was seen. I found that the most significant feature of this voyage was the realisation of just how far had St Paul travelled in his three journeys plus the fateful final one to Rome, and the tremendous achievements accomplished in some 15 years during the days of such primitive transportation, especially when observed from the comfort of a modern cruise ship. Not bad for somebody whose original mandate -
A special pleasure on this voyage was to renew my acquaintance with one of the cruise lecturers, Pam Rhodes, who has presented the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ for some 23 years. Pam is a native of Gosport, which is also my home town and where I first knew her when she was a schoolgirl.