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Spiritual Odyssey is an important ministry of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in that it serves an often forgotten age bracket – our young adults. The 19-24 age group is too old for GOYA, which is geared towards High School students, yet too young to be involved in Young Professional groups. Our young adults, in this very formative part of their lives, often do not have accessible opportunities to continue to interactively experience the rich culture and faith of our heritage. Spiritual Odyssey offers young adults an exciting venue to have that experience, with a travel based itinerary centered around not only our rich Hellenic heritage, but most importantly, our Orthodox faith.
The 2015 Spiritual Odyssey trip will present participants with the opportunity to visit the historic and picturesque Ionian Village campgrounds. For some of our participants, this may be a return to a significant part of their past, when they attended Ionian Village as a High School camper and first fell in love with Greece and Orthodoxy. For other participants, this may be their first trip to Ionian Village, or even their first trip to Greece, as so many young people do not have the opportunity to visit the country of our heritage.
SCHEDULE OF PROGRAM:
In 2015, the aim is to bring the program back to Greece within the context of the historic Ionian Village program. This program has stood the test of time, having given a unique experience of Greece and her culture to more than 17,000 young people over 45 years. The 2015 Spiritual Odyssey program will seek to give a similarly enlightening experience to its young adult participants. The ten day itinerary will include both time at the beautiful campgrounds as well as excursions to the places that are the cornerstone of the Ionian Village travel program as outlined below. Each excursion has been carefully planned to incorporate aspects relevant to our inherited Hellenic and Orthodox heritage. Participants will be more than just tourists in Greece; they will come into close contact with the Orthodox faith and modern and historic Greek culture. Through a varied schedule that includes churches and monasteries, meetings with political and religious figures, and museums and archaeological sites, these young adults will become intimately familiar with all aspects of Greece and her culture and people.
An outline of the travel itinerary:
June 1: Departure from New York City
June 2: Arrive in Athens, travel to Ionian Village
June 3: Day trip to island of Zakynthos
June 4: Day in local villages completing service project, evening in Patras
June 5: Day trip to Kefalonia
June 6: Day trip to Kalavryta, visit to World War II Kalavrita Massacre Museum
June 7: Sunday at camp, used to build community.
June 8: Trip to Athens with a stop at Osios Loukas
June 9: Day trip to island of Aegina
June 10: Day in Athens including Parthenon and Acropolis Museum and shopping
June 11: Departure from Athens
The New Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis will spur a discussion of the Elgin marbles. Visits to bigger cities such as Athens and Patra and smaller towns such as Kalavrita and the areas around the camp will provide insight into life in modern day Greece after the recent economic crisis. Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Aegina will allow participants to experience three unique island cultures and histories as well as to venerate saints of the Orthodox Church and comprehend how so much of Greek culture is tied to Greek Orthodoxy. Osios Loukas will grant a glimpse into life in the Byzantine Empire. And of course, throughout the entire 10-day program, every effort will be made to immerse the participants in the rich culinary traditions of Greece which will also allow them to understand the importance of agriculture to modern Greece and how the consumption of food and other products differs greatly from our experience in the United States. In addition, participants will take part in service projects in the local communities designed to reach out to the homeless populations of the towns surrounding the camp. All of these crucial components combined with leadership that encourages reflection and discussion will come together to provide participants with a well-rounded appreciation of both our Hellenic culture and our Orthodox faith.
Our total cost of Spritual Odyssey covers food, travel and lodging while particpants are with the group, as well as airfare to and from New York to Greece. Travel to New york will be at the expense of each particpant.
Total Cost (includes airfare): $2500.00