The Islands of Faith

OVERVIEW

What is it about the islands of the Dodecanese that has proved so attractive to those fleeing persecution or searching for a new home? In 95 CE, John of Patmos wrote the Book of Revelation after experiencing the divine presence in the Cave of the Apocalypse, on the island of Patmos. More than a thousand years later, the Order of the Hospitallers established a new home in Rhodes. Gradually, they transformed the old town into a fortress where the modern visitor steps back in time to an era when empires clashed and religion inspired people to acts of greatness. Join us on a sailing trip to the Dodecanese, where God steps on the floor of caves and knights raise impregnable castles. This program offers an overview of the evolution of the Christian faith from the early centuries through the late medieval period. It is a comprehensive introduction to the formation of the Christian dogma, the reasons that led to the Great Schism, and the impact of the Crusades in the eastern Mediterranean region.

OVERVIEW

What is it about the islands of the Dodecanese that has proved so attractive to those fleeing persecution or searching for a new home? In 95 CE, John of Patmos wrote the Book of Revelation after experiencing the divine presence in the Cave of the Apocalypse, on the island of Patmos. More than a thousand years later, the Order of the Hospitallers established a new home in Rhodes. Gradually, they transformed the old town into a fortress where the modern visitor steps back in time to an era when empires clashed and religion inspired people to acts of greatness. Join us on a sailing trip to the Dodecanese, where God steps on the floor of caves and knights raise impregnable castles. This program offers an overview of the evolution of the Christian faith from the early centuries through the late medieval period. It is a comprehensive introduction to the formation of the Christian dogma, the reasons that led to the Great Schism, and the impact of the Crusades in the eastern Mediterranean region.

THE SYLLABUS

An Introduction to Christian Theology

Theology is the critical study of the divine and Christian theology concentrates primarily on Christian tradition (practices and beliefs associated with the church, decisions of Church Councils and important ecclesiastical officials, the teaching of the Church Fathers or founders of religious movements) as well as the Old and the New Testament. This module introduces the basic sources of Christian theology, scriptures, and tradition. It provides contextual analysis of the diverse forms, debates, and developments which occurred during the first six centuries of existence of Christianity, a period of rapid growth and intellectual fervor as the first believers attempted to develop strong unifying characteristics and address issues arising for the great variety of views that emerged following the Apostolic Age.

The Revelation of Saint John

The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament and occupies a central place in Christian eschatology (the study of the “last things”). It was written by a man who identifies himself as “John” during his time on Patmos, where he was exiled during a period of anti-Christian persecution under the Roman emperor Domitian. The book, full of ambiguous and bizarre images (including a seven headed dragon), consists of a series of prophetic visions that culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This module offers a study of the Book of Revelation, with particular emphasis on the numerous theological approaches and schools of interpretation that have attempted to decipher the meaning of this seminal document.

The Order of the Hospitallers

During the crusades, a series of military orders were established to protect Christians against persecution by Muslims in the Holy Land. Some of these orders became standing armies that defended Jerusalem. The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem was initially headquartered in the Holy City but after the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291, the Knights selected Rhodes as their new home. They transformed the city into a formidable castle and played a crucial role in the struggle against the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the eastern Mediterranean. This module examines the role of military orders such as the Hospitallers (or the Knights Templar) in relation to their heritage on the island of Rhodes.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

• Visit the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of Saint John, both registered as UNESCO World Heritage monuments since 1999

• Walk on the streets of the Chora of Patmos

• Discover the beauty of the old town of Rhodes and wander around the cobblestone streets of its castle

• Visit the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

• Explore the natural beauty of the islands of the Dodecanese

• Indulge in the Christian religious heritage through on-site seminars, guided tours, and workshops by specialized lecturers

LEARNING OUTCOME

✓ Understand the fundamental aspects of Christian theology

✓ Debate and comment on texts from the Book of Revelation

✓ Understand the complex relationships between religious and secular authorities

✓ Identify the driving forces behind the military orders of the Fourth Crusade

✓ Understand the relationship between the Crusaders and local citizens

PERKS & OPTIONS

What is included in our programs?

  • 3 US credits provided by the Hellenic American University
  • Accommodation in hand-picked and well-located superior class hotels
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Professionals e.g. licensed guides, lecturers, and tour managers
  • Entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites
  • All land and sea transportation included in the itinerary of the specific program
  • Information material
  • Local taxes
  • Travel insurance
  • Transport to and from the airport in Greece

Optional

  • Airfares to and from Greece
  • Any custom request

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