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7 Amazing Days

The Pilgrimage of Discovery is a religious-educational journey that includes an audience with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and visits to historic sites around Constantinople. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for up to sixteen young adult leaders, women and men, from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to be awarded the gift of a transformative and immersive experience in Constantinople, the Queen of Cities.

What to Expect on the Pilgrimage


Watch the Pilgrimage of Discovery Documentary

Experience a journey of faith, tradition, and resilience, as we uncover the significance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and follow a group of young Greek Orthodox Americans on the trip of a lifetime. 

A private audience with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Patriarch Bartholomew

A rare, private session with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Have an opportunity for a private audience with His All-Holiness. While at the Phanar, you will greet His All-Holiness, introduce yourself, and spend time together engaging in open dialogue with His All-Holiness and the other young adults.

Hagios Demetrios Constantinople

Attend worship services at St. George Church at the Phanar

Attend worship services at The Patriarchal Cathedral Church of St. George at the Phanar with His All-Holiness in attendance. Venerate the relics of the Saints at St. George Church and hear the Patriarchal choir chanting Byzantine music. Immerse yourself at the spiritual center of World Orthodoxy!

Visit Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Experience Hagia Sophia, the religious, architectural, and cultural treasure of the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church. This church served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch from AD 537 and was the epicenter of Eastern Christian worship and architecture. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque. From 1935, Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum, but in 2020 it was again converted into a mosque.

HALKI Theological School

Tour Halki Seminary

Tour the renowned Halki Seminary. The seminary was founded in 1844 on the top of Halki Island on what is known affectionately as the hill of hope. The seminary is located at the site of the Byzantine Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Halki Seminary has educated thousands of Orthodox clergy, including many Orthodox patriarchs. Forcibly closed by Turkish authorities in 1971, it remains frozen in time, awaiting an opportunity to open and thrive again.

Visit Panagia Blachernae Church

Panayia_Blahernae Church

Visit Panagia Blachernae Church. Earlier churches at this location featured a holy spring, a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, and sacred garments previously worn by the Virgin Mary. During the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople had been miraculously delivered on several occasions by the Virgin Mary from foreign attackers. The miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary kept in Panagia Blachernae Church was associated with those occasions of deliverance. In gratitude, the hymn known as "Tē Ypermachō" was composed in praise of the Virgin Mary's protection of the city. This emotionally stirring and deeply loved hymn is still chanted in Greek Orthodox churches around the world during the Fridays of Lent. Visiting Panagia Blachernae Church will provide the opportunity to chant this special hymn and to drink from the holy spring that still flows at this sacred location.

NEOCHORI area tour, Constantinople

Stroll Through the Neochori Area

Stroll through the Neochori area of Istanbul and have dinner with the Rum (Roman i.e. Greek) community. Meet some of the 2500 Greek Orthodox faithful in Istanbul who are last remaining caretakers of the Greek Orthodox community that once numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Walk through the narrow streets from old church to old church and hear the heartfelt stories shared by these local Greek Orthodox Christians.

Experience Hagios Demetrios Church in Kuruçesme

Hagios Demetrios

Experience Hagios Demetrios Church in Kuruçesme where the faithful walk through a tight, dark cave in the church to receive holy water from the life-giving spring.

Zoodochos Pigi

Visit Zoodochos Pigi Church at Balukli

Visit Zoodochos Pigi Church at Balukli to receive holy water from the life-giving spring and to see where former Patriarchs are buried.

Shop at the Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Shop till you drop at the Grand Bazaar - The world's oldest and biggest bazaar features Turkish rugs, items from antiquity, silver, diamonds and gold jewelry in amounts like you've never seen before. Get ready to wheel and deal.

Tour the Bosphorus Strait

Cruise the Bosphorus Strait

Cruise through the Bosphorous Strait to the Sea of Marmara on a private charter boat.  Prepare to embark on a captivating sea ride through the heart of Istanbul, where the city's rich history and stunning skyline come to life. In between stops, spend the day on the private charter basking in the summer sun and enjoying the views.

Experience the Princes' Islands

Recipients in Istanbul - Constantinople

Travel through the Sea of Marmara to the Princes' Islands of Proti and Halki on a private charter.  Enjoy the summer sun, the salt water spray, the views from the sea and the voyage to exciting places of old.

Istanbul local food and culture

And So Much More...

And so much more - dinner at premier Turkish restaurants, stroll down the main street in Istanbul which was the old "Pera" to witness buildings with Greek architecture and Greek names on them proving a time and civilization gone by, and free time to visit the Basilica Cisterns, the Spice Bazaar, the Archaeological Museum, a Hamam and more.

2023 Gallery

Cally Kobza

Cally Kobza
Milwaukee, WI | '23 Participant

I am so appreciative of this experience and teared up many times today.  Thank you all for everything.  This was truly life changing.

Echumenical Patriarch

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

…a wonderful opportunity for the faithful of all ages to explore their spiritual roots, connect with fellow believers in these historical lands, enriching the lives of those who embark upon it and deepen their understanding of the orthodox faith.

george Valcarcel

George Valcarcel
Chicago, IL | '23 Participant

Just landed in Athens.  Felt many motions flying over the city and Bosporous where we shared so many wonderful POD family dinners together.  Thank you all for making this experience once-in-life!

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