A retired diocesan priest's dream of an educational institute at the site of an ancient settlement visited by St. Paul is moving closer to reality with the offering of a course in Greece this summer.

The Rev. Eve Wiseman announced that she and a group of friends and associates have founded "The Phoebe Institute," named for a "benefactor" Paul mentions by name in his letter to the Romans as "a great help to many people, including me." (Romans 16)

The course, investigating how the early Christian community developed after Paul's visits, will be offered at the Kalamaki Beach Hotel, which is near the site of Kenchreai, from October 22 through October 29. Field trips as well as lectures will be offered.

"The locals say that on the top of the mountain behind the harbour of Cenchrea is the cave that St Paul stayed in while he spent more than a year in the area," said Wiseman.

A Greek icon of Phoebe

Wiseman spent 29 years in higher education in England , Canada , and the US. She said that most people learn better and enjoy it more when they discover information that interests them through a variety of means. The Phoebe course will include not only academic information but also experimental learning.

Sister Dr. Elizabeth Rees, a specialist on early Roman as well as Celtic Christians, the Ennegram, drama therapy and dance will teach, along with Dr. Guy Sanders, a director of the American School of Archaeology, Athens.

Wiseman said the Phoebe Institute has been set up as a charitable organization, with plans to acquire property where a permanent centre can be housed for study, retreat, and healing.

The area is not far from Corinth, which is a high speed train trip from Athens and its airport. More information is available from the institute at phoebeinstitute@canada.com, or from the Rev. Linda St. Clair, who is also involved in the project. The institute's postal address is The Phoebe Institute for Religious Studies, P.O. Box 3170, Station Main, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3X6.