Early Christianity Tour with Prof John Dickson

Rome and Greece

09 November 2024
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Sorry you missed it! Please email us at [email protected] for a copy of the recording.
City Location Date Time Booking Link
Online Zoom May 11, 2024 8:30 am RSVP


Embark on an exceptional journey delving into the rich tapestry of early Christianity led by the esteemed Australian Christian historian, Professor John Dickson.

Our exploration begins by immersing ourselves in the vast expanse of the Roman Empire, where we will delve into the intricate interplay between its pagan traditions and the enduring legacy of Judaism. Through Prof. Dickson’s expert guidance, we’ll navigate the dynamic tensions that characterised this era and trace the remarkable emergence of Christianity across Europe.

Venturing further into the heart of antiquity, our odyssey takes us to the cradle of democracy – Greece. Here, amidst the remnants of ancient temples and bustling agora, we’ll unravel the profound impact of early apostolic ministry against the backdrop of Greco-Roman culture and mythos. Witness firsthand how the ethos of Christianity stood in stark contrast to prevailing norms, often challenging societal conventions with its radical message.

Returning to Rome, we’ll confront the stark realities of persecution faced by early Christians, yet marvel at their unwavering resolve and compassion towards the marginalized and downtrodden. Through tales of resilience and altruism, we’ll uncover the indelible imprint left by these pioneers as they exemplified their faith through acts of charity and solidarity.

Join us for an unforgettable expedition through the annals of history, where each chapter unfolds to reveal the enduring spirit of early Christianity, as illuminated by the unparalleled insights of Prof. John Dickson.


John’s story is eclectic. Starting out as a professional singer-songwriter, he now works as an author, speaker, historian, and media presenter. He was the Founding Director of the Centre for Public Christianity (2007-17). He has published over 20 books, two of which became television documentaries, with a third, For the Love of God: How the Church is Better and Worse Than you Ever Imagined, released in Australian cinemas in June 2018.

John has held a variety of teaching and research positions before moving to Wheaton College, including in the Ancient History Department at Macquarie University (2002-2015), the Hebrew, Jewish and Biblical Studies Department at Sydney University (2011-2021), Ridley College Melbourne (2019-2022), and the Faculty of Classics at the University of Oxford (2015-2023).

John has worked with Selah since 2018, leading the Origins of Christianity tour across Israel.

A busy public speaker, he lives in Wheaton, Illinois, with his wife Elizabeth (Buff) and the youngest of their three children.



Please be at the hotel in Rome by 6pm for a welcome meeting, followed by dinner.

Hotel: Massimo D’ Azeglio, Rome

Included Meals:

After breakfast we spend the day exploring the key Roman Empires sites including the Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum. There will be time for a lunch break (own expense).
Lecture focus: Roman empire: Augustus and Tiberius.
Dinner is not included tonight - we encourage you to go out and explore all that Italian cuisine has to offer!

Hotel: Massimo D’ Azeglio, Rome

Included Meals:

After breakfast and check out, an early start at the Pantheon, an iconic ancient Roman temple constructed around 125AD. Originally dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome, the Pantheon's transition into a Christian church (Santa Maria ad Martyres) in the 7th century reflects the empire's evolving religious landscape. This transformation symbolizes the spread of Christianity and the gradual decline of traditional Roman polytheism, marking a significant shift in the empire's spiritual and cultural identity. Continue to the Ara Pacis Augustae, commonly known as the Altar of Peace of Augustus, an ancient Roman altar commissioned by Emperor Augustus in 13 BCE.
We then leave Rome and travel to ancient Ostia, located in the ancient harbour city of Ostia Antica which houses one of the oldest known synagogues in Europe. Dating back to the 1st century CE, it provides significant insights into the Jewish community of the Roman Empire.
Lecture focus (at synagogue): Roman religion and Jewish religion, and the tensions between the two.
Return to Rome airport and fly to Athens departing at 6.30pm (A3 655) arriving Athens at 9.30pm.
On arrival in Athens, transfer to our hotel for the night. Late dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: Titania Hotel, Athens

Included Meals:

Today we start early at the Acropolis (8am) followed by Plato’s Academy. Our lecture focus today is Greek religion and philosophy.
Time for lunch before we hit the road to Delphi.

Hotel: Amalia Hotel, Delphi

Included Meals:

After breakfast check-out and visit the archaeological site of Delphi. Delphi was a significant religious centre in antiquity, revered by both Greeks and Romans. Understanding its role in ancient religious practices and pilgrimage routes can provide insights into how early Christians navigated and adapted to the religious landscape of the time. After lunch, we head to Athens airport for our flight to Thessaloniki, departing Athens at 1805 arriving 1915.
On arrival you will be met and transferred to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Hotel: Grand Palace Hotel, Thessalonica

Included Meals:

An early start after breakfast with a drive to ancient Philippi.
An extensive tour of the site at Philippi followed by lunch at a local cafe (own expense).
Lecture focus: the arrival of Christianity into ‘Europe’.
In the afternoon we will return to Thessaloniki for a panoramic tour of the highlights of the city, followed by dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: Capsis Hotel, Thessalonica

Included Meals:

Early breakfast and check out at the hotel. At 8am drive to Berea, a town renowned for its significance in early Christianity, as it was visited by the Apostle Paul during his missionary journeys. There is also an impressive modern synagogue. Then continue to Vergina, a historic town renowned for its archaeological treasures. Enter the Vergina Museum to marvel at the artifacts and treasures unearthed from Philip II's tomb. Gain insight into the cultural and historical context of ancient Macedonia and its significance in relation to the spread of Christianity.
Return back to Thessaloniki airport for our flight back to Athens on departing at 7.45pm arrives Athens 8.40pm.
Transfer from the airport to the Titania Hotel for late dinner & overnight.

Hotel: Titania Hotel, Athens

Included Meals:

After breakfast this morning we visit the Areopagus (Mars Hill) and the Agora in central Athens with a lecture on Paul’s engagement with Greek culture.
This afternoon is at leisure to rest or enjoy the sights of Athens.

Hotel: Titania Hotel, Athens

Included Meals:

This morning we take a 90 min drive to Corinth, with a stop for lunch (own expense) followed by time at the ancient site of Corinth (2 hours) and a lecture on Christianity and the scandal of meals.
In the late afternoon (3.30-4.30pm) we will make a brief visit to Cenchraea with a lecture on Women in early Christianity, and if time permits, a swim, before returning to Athens.

Hotel: Titania Hotel, Athens

Included Meals:

Farewell Athens and check out of our hotel and travel to the airport for our morning flight to Rome.
On arrival we will walk a section of the Appian Way. According to the New Testament (Acts 28:15) , the Apostle Paul travelled along the Appian Way when he was taken as a prisoner to Rome to stand trial before the Emperor, marking the beginning of Paul's ministry in Rome. After lunch we will visit the Basilica of Saint Clement. What’s not obvious from the outside is that the current church was built directly on top of an earlier church, dating to 392 CE. That in turn was built on top of a Roman house which dates as far back as the first century CE, and around 100 years after its first construction, it was used as a temple to the mysterious god Mithras whose followers used to undergo complex initiation rituals and congregate in shady underground temples. The presence of an old church on top of a Mithraeum and a martyrium indicates the adaptation of pre-existing religious sites by early Christians. Mithraism was a mystery religion prevalent in the Roman Empire, and its temples, known as Mithraea, were often repurposed or transformed into Christian churches as Christianity gained prominence.
Today's lecture focus will be on the persecution of the first Christians.
Free time tonight for you to have dinner in Rome.

Hotel: Massimo D’ Azeglio, Rome

Included Meals:

Our last day in Rome will be spent visiting the St Sebastian Catacombs followed by Fabiola's hospital at the old Asclepius site.
Our lecture focus today will be on the welfare institutions of Christianity.
Tonight is our last dinner together, which we will celebrate at the Massimo d’Azeglio Restaurant.

Hotel: Massimo d’Azeglio, Rome

Included Meals:

Our tour ends after breakfast today.

Hotel: Massimo d’Azeglio, Rome

Included Meals:



  • Key Christian sites in Rome: the Colosseum, Forum, Palotine Hill, Appian Way
  • Ostia port
  • Thessaloniki
  • Philippi
  • Berea
  • Delphi
  • Corinth
  • Athens
  • Lectures daily delivered onsite by Prof John Dickson





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Category Description Twin PP Single
Tour Only Australian Dollars 7,890.00 AUD 9,875.00 AUD
US Dollars 5,250.00 USD 6,565.00 USD

The pricing applies for any booking made & deposited by 31 May 2024. After that the tour price increases by $250 per person.

Priced for a minimum of 35 passengers & a maximum of 40 passengers.

Departure Date Booking
09 November 2024 BOOK NOW