Posted by: Joseph J. Skarzenski | August 9, 2009

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity


Day two in Constantinople began with breakfast at the Hilton Hotel. After refueling for a very busy day, we all got on our bus and headed for the port. We boarded our chartered boat and started our day trip to the Prince’s Island of Buyukada. As soon as we got off the boat, we were on our way to a church service. Students had the pleasure of watching the service that included the Eparch of the Prince’s Islands. Following the service, we all had an opportunity to meet the Eparch and receive a special silver cross from him!

We had two free hours on the island once the service concluded. There was a nice small reception immediately following church. We used this time to receive a group photo with the Eparch. After leaving the church, students split up and adventured around the island. Some went to visit the old Buyukada Boys Orphanage– a church property that was recently reclaimed after a landmark court case in the International Court of Justice. Others had lunch at various restaurants in the port. The area featured a great variety of places to shop, including a few exotic spices boutiques.


At 2:45 PM we returned to our boat to go back to the mainland. After arriving in the port we boarded our bus again and started to drive to the Boyacikoy district. Our jam-packed day was only getting more exciting when we arrived to the Holy Church of Evangelistria. Within minutes of arriving, the highlight of our expedition of Constantinople appeared. His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew walked down the outside steps of the Church as we followed him inside. A beautiful vesper service was held before we went back outside for a splendid reception with His All Holiness. Some students had the distinct opportunity to individually introduce themselves to the Ecumenical Patriarch before we gathered for a group photo. The event was a magnificent way to conclude the evening.

From the Church of Evangelistria we drove back to the Hilton Hotel for dinner. We were given a free schedule for our last night in Constantinople after eating dinner together. Tomorrow morning, we will visit the Patriarchate in the Phanar district before starting our trip back to Athens.

To see photos from today’s events, please click the link below.



  1. Joseph,

    Thanks so much for the great job you did on the Journey to Greece blog. Many people have enjoyed reading and following along on the trip.
    Thanks for the great job.

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