THE HOLY LAND
A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Jesus
with an optional visit to The Rose-Red City of Petra
Under the leadership of
The Rt Rev’d Martin Warner
Bishop of Chichester
6th – 13th February 2023
This pilgrimage will help us to prepare for keeping Lent as a time in which we seek to draw closer to Jesus Christ. We shall hear his words with greater clarity and so be able to enter more fully into the mystery of his death and resurrection
The encounter with him in word and sacrament will shape each day of this pilgrimage, as we celebrate the Eucharist in one of the holy sites and align ourselves with the ancient Christian community that still lives where he taught and ministered.
The journey will be undertaken with the advantages of modern travel and communication. But the purpose of our journeying has motivated Christians across nearly two thousand years: it is an encounter with the living God, seen in the face of Jesus of Nazareth.
This pilgrimage offers us an opportunity to let the pages of scripture come alive, as we sit where the crowds listened to Jesus preaching and witnessed his healing miracles, as we trace the steps of shepherds who sought the new-born prince of Peace, and as we walk the ancient streets of Jerusalem, the setting of his passion, his resurrection and the empowering gift of the Holy Spirit.
This leaflet gives an early outline of our pilgrimage journey to prepare for the celebration of faith. It also offers you an opportunity to sign up for a saving scheme to meet the cost of this undertaking.
Finally, it is also important to remember that a pilgrimage is not a private thing. We undertake it with others from this household of faith in the diocese of Chichester, and as part of the universal Church.
We also undertake it for others; for those persecuted for faith, for the poor and the dispossessed, for those who have no faith, and for those who cannot accompany us but who ask us to pray for them in the places where Jesus prayed.
My hope and prayer is that this preparatory pilgrimage will not only transform your celebration of Christmas; it will also transform the way you share your experience of faith with others.
- Scheduled flights on EasyJet London Luton
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- 8 nights accommodation at selected hotels
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room price per person £2554
- Scheduled flights on British Airways London Heathrow £120 extra
- Travel insurance
- Gratuities £80
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Monday 6 February
Journeying to the Holy Land
We meet at Heathrow/Luton Airport for our flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival in Tel Aviv we will be met by our guide and then driven north to Galilee and our hotel by the shores of the Sea of Galilee in good time for dinner.
Day 2, Tuesday 7 February
Revelation and Annunciation
After breakfast we begin our Pilgrimage by driving to Mount Tabor, traditionally associated with the Transfiguration, to spend time on the summit overlooking the wonderful views of the Jezreel Valley (the plains of Armageddon). We then drive to Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign according to the Fourth Gospel. In the afternoon we continue to Nazareth, the town in which the Gospel story begins. We visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s Well, we then walk through the narrow winding market streets of the souk to an old Synagogue Church. We will return to our hotel in goof time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Wednesday 8 February
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry & Magdala
We will spend the day exploring Our Lord’s ministry around the Sea of Galilee. We begin after an early breakfast and drive up to the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the places where Jesus lived and worked. We then proceed to Tabgha to visit the Church of the Loaves and Fishes where we will celebrate Mass on the shores of the lake. We then continue to the Primacy Church of St Peter and finally to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ Galilean Ministry, to view the house of Peter and a partially rebuilt 4th century synagogue, built over the site where Jesus often preached. We then leave Capernaum by boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee to Tiberias before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we drive to the exciting excavations at Magdala, the home town of Jesus close friend and follower Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdala). It was a major first-century port and specialised in salted and smoked fish and exported its products all over the Mediterranean Return to our hotel in good time to relax before dinner. Overnight stay by Galilee.
Day 4, Thursday 9 February
An ancient pilgrimage route
This morning we bid farewell to the Galilee and begin our journey south through the heart of the West Bank. Entering the Palestinian Territories near Jenin, our first stop is at the city of Nablus in which is found Jacob’s Well a site which Jesus himself visited on a journey to Jerusalem. From here we drive through the heart of the Israeli Occupation where we will see a considerable number of illegal settlements. We then make our way down to the Jordan valley to Qasr al Yahud, the traditional site near where John baptised Jesus, which reopened after been closed for decades and where we will have an opportunity to renew our own Baptism vows. After a break for lunch in the oasis city of Jericho, the city of palms we will have an opportunity for a little shopping before driving to a spot for a view of Mount of Temptation and Qarantal Monastery which clings precariously to the side of the mountain. We then proceed up through the hills of the Judean wilderness towards Jerusalem and we will stop briefly on the summit of Mount Scopus for a breathtaking view of the old city of Jerusalem with it’s beautiful surrounding medieval walls before proceeding down to our hotel within the Old City's walls and check-in. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 5, Friday 10 February
Bethlehem & The Mount of Olives
After breakfast we drive the short distance to Bethlehem and witness first-hand the huge 9-metre high separation wall. We continue through the check-point to spend the morning in and around Bethlehem. We visit the places associated with the birth of Jesus and get a sense of the lives of modern-day Christians in Bethlehem. Visit the Shepherds’ Fields and the Church of the Nativity. We will also have a tour of one of the three major refugee camps in the city and see the signs of hope. After a break for lunch we drive back to Jerusalem and stop on the summit of the Mount of Olives where we recall the Palm Sunday route and visit places associated with particular events in the gospels as we slowly make our way downhill. We start at Bethphage, the traditional starting point of the procession of palms and in the course of our journey will visit the church of the Pater Noster, where we recall Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples and the church of Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over the fate of the city. Finally, we reach the Garden of Gethsemane and the dark and brooding Church of All Nations where we recall Jesus’ agonized prayers prior to his arrest and reflect on the failure of his closest friends to keep awake and watch with him. Proceed to our hotel within the Old Walled City. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 6, Saturday 11 February
Mount Zion & The Way of the Cross
We will spend the first part of the morning exploring the holy sites located on Mount Zion, where the earliest Christian community lived in the days following the resurrection. Here we will find a site commemorating both the Upper Room used for the Last Supper as well as the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and a striking abbey in honour of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. The principal focus of the morning, however, will be a visit to the church of St Peter in Gallicantu, built at the top of an ancient set of steps which leads up from the City of David to what is believed to have been the residence of the High Priest. Many believe that Jesus himself was led up these steps to his trial by the Jewish authorities after his arrest. Here we will celebrate the Eucharist, as we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration over the last night of his life but also Peter’s faithless threefold denial of Jesus. Late morning we proceed to Lions Gate and make our way to the beautiful Crusader Church of St. Anne overlooking the Pools of Bethesda before visiting the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, built on the foundations of the Antonia Fortress, the Roman Garrison of Jerusalem. After celebrating the Eucharist we will view the recently excavated first century stone pavement (Gabbatha in the gospels) and then follow the Way of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary enshrined within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a break for a late lunch we drive to the village of Ein Karem, venerated as the birthplace of John the Baptist and the church associated with Mary’s meeting with her cousin Elizabeth. We will bring our day to a close with worship here, before returning to Jerusalem and our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7, Sunday 12 February
Museum - Qumran & the Dead Sea
We leave our hotel after breakfast and drive to the Dung Gate to visit the Western Wall, a section of the retaining wall of King Herod’s Temple and Judaism’s holiest site. If permitted we will climb on to the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque. We then leave drive west to the Israel Museum to view the detailed model of Jerusalem based around the time of Jesus. Late morning we leave Jerusalem and drive down to the Dead Sea basin and break for lunch. In the afternoon we visit to the historic site of Qumran the site where the Dead Sea scrolls were uncovered. We will also have an opportunity to experience the unique sensation of floating in the mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea. Late afternoon we return to Jerusalem and our hotel. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Monday 13 February
Emmaus & our journey home
After breakfast we leave Jerusalem and drive to the village of Abu Ghosh, one of the sites associated with the village of Emmaus in the gospels, to celebrate our final Eucharist together. After a break for lunch we drive down to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and our return flight to London.
Optional Petra, Mt Nebo and Madaba extension
Day 8, Monday 13 February
Jericho - border crossing - Madaba
After we say goodbye to our friends returning home we drive down to the Jordan Valley and after completion of cross-border formalities we cross the Jordan River into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where we meet our guide and break for lunch. In the afternoon we drive up to Mount Nebo to stand on the site where Moses gazed across to the Promised Land. We then continue to the Christian town of Madaba, Biblical Medba which is famous for its mosaics. We begin by visiting St George's Greek Orthodox Church to see the 6th Century mosaic map showing Jerusalem as the center of the world before continuing to our hotel and check-in. Dinner and an early night! Overnight stay in Madaba.
Day 9, Tuesday 14 February
The Rose Red City of Petra
This morning we wake up early and drive south down the Desert Highway to spend the day in the ancient city of Petra, "a rose-red city half as old as time" to learn about the legacy of the Nabataeans who settled in South Jordan over 2,000 years ago and embraced Christianity. Much of Petra’s appeal comes from its spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge. From the main entrance we will travel on foot through the awesome ‘Siq’, an immense crack in the sandstone that winds for 1 km between overhanging cliffs. At the end of the Siq is Petra’s most famous monument, the Treasury, and various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of buildings, facades, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples and a 3000 seat Roman theatre. In the evening we return to Madaba and our hotel. Arriving back in good time for dinner. Overnight stay in Madaba.
Day 10, Wednesday 15 February
Border crossing - Jerusalem
After a leisurely breakfast we cross back into the Promised Land and break for lunch in Jericho. In the afternoon we drive up through the Judean hills to Jerusalem and our hotel. The rest of the day will be free to explore the Old City. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 11, Thursday 15 February
Our journey home
The morning will be free to relax and shop in the Old City. In the afternoon we will head west towards the Mediterranean and the airport for our journey home to tell all those whom we meet about what has happened to us on the road…