Tour overview

An 11-day pilgrimage in the footsteps of Our Lord

under the leadership of
Dean Geoff Miller & Bishop Martin Wharton

A visit to the Holy Land is always a very special experience and I’m delighted to be inviting another group to join me on a pilgrimage in September 2020.Like thousands of Christians before me I have always found that such pilgrimages nourish and stimulate our faith in unique and lasting ways.

Our visit will introduce you to the places associated with the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus. Equally importantly, we will meet members of Christian communities in Palestine and Israel today.

In Galilee we will explore the principal sites of Jesus’s ministry around the lakeside, in Capernaum and his home town of Nazareth. In Bethlehem as well as visiting the Church of the Nativity and a college and cultural centre that is the pioneering work of a Lutheran pastor. In Jerusalem, as we trace the steps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa to the place of his death and resurrection, we will also worship with the local Palestinian community at the Anglican Cathedral.

We will be travelling with Lightline Pilgrimages, the “official and preferred” pilgrimage partner for the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem. This ensures that we support local Christians in a very practical way and that the pilgrimage plays its small part in helping sustain the ”living stones” that help keep this land holy today.

I do hope you will join us next September for what I hope and pray will be the journey of a lifetime.

Bishop Martin Wharton                                               Dean Geoff Miller

Included

  • Scheduled flights on British Airways from London Heathrow
  • All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
  • All entrance fees and local government taxes
  • Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
  • All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches

Not Included

  • Single room (limited availability) £595
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities £85
  • Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)

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Day 1, Friday 25 September

JOURNEY TO THE HOLY LAND
We gather at London Heathrow Airport for our early morning flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we will be met by our guide and driven to Jerusalem and our hotel within the Old Walled City, arriving in good time to freshen up before dinner. After dinner we will have the option of visiting the Western Wall at the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.

Day 2, Saturday 26 September

BETHANY, JERICHO, MT OLIVES & MT ZION
We leave our hotel after an early breakfast and drive through the Judean wilderness to visit the city of Jericho for a brief view of the Mount of Temptation which overlooks this green and fertile oasis. We then continue to Qasr al-Yahud the traditional baptismal site from the 4th century on the River Jordan where we will renew our baptismal vows. Late morning we drive to the town of Bethany which is today cut off from Jerusalem by a huge 9-metre high separation wall. Here we visit the home of Jesus friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha. We then make a detour around the wall to return to Jerusalem and proceed to Bethphage, the start of the traditional Palm Sunday procession on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives. From there we will continue to the Pater Noster Convent before walking down the Mount of Olives to visit the Church of Dominus Flevit, which commemorates the site where Jesus wept over the destruction of Jerusalem, the Church of All Nations and the Garden of Gethsemane. After a break for lunch we proceed to Mount Zion to view the traditional site of the Room of the Last Supper, the beautiful Abbey of the Dormition and St Peter in Gallicantu, where we can view the recently excavated Roman pathway and steps that lead up from the Old City. Return to our hotel for dinner, Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 3, Sunday 27 September

MASADA & THE DEAD SEA
This morning we set off after an early breakfast and drive down to the Dead Sea passing Sodom which is near to the lowest point on earths surface to visit the mountaintop fortress of Masada which we ascend by cable car. It was on this flat-topped mountain that a large group of Jewish Partisans resisted the Romans advance for almost three years after the fall of Jerusalem and committed mass suicide rather than give up to slavery. Here we view the vast water cisterns and Herod's grand stepped-palace. Late morning we return north to Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Here we will view a presentation on the scrolls and visit the nearby Essene Monastery where the scrolls may have originated. After an opportunity to bathe in the unusual mineral laden waters of the Dead Sea we leave the Dead Sea area and make our way back to Jerusalem. We proceed straight to St George’s Cathedral to join the local Christian community for Sunday Evensong. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4, Monday 28 September

OLD CITY - VIA DOLOROSA - Yom Kipur
This morning we will make our way to St Stephen’s Gate and proceed to the beautiful Crusader Church of St. Anne overlooking the Pools of Bethesda. We then continue to the Convent of the Sisters of Zion built on the foundations of the Antonia Fortress, the Roman garrison of Jerusalem. After a celebration of the Eucharist we visit the recently excavated first century stone pavement (Gabbatha in the gospels) to follow the Way of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary enshrined within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We will break for lunch in the Old City. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore the Old City. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 5, Tuesday 29 September

TEMPLE MOUNT - EIN KAREM
After an early breakfast we drive to the Dung Gate to visit the Western Wall and if permitted we will visit the Temple Mount (Mount Moriah). We then continue to the west side of Jerusalem to visit the Israel Museum to view the model of Jerusalem from the second Temple period. After a break for lunch we visit the Hadassah Hospital Synagogue to view the famous Chagall Windows that depict the Twelve Tribes of Israel. We bring our day to a close with a drive to the village of Ein Karem to visit the Church of the Visitation and the home of John the Baptist. Late afternoon we return to Jerusalem in time to relax before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 6, Wednesday 30 September

ABU GOSH - BETHLEHEM
Our morning will be free to explore the Old City and we meet back at our hotel at midday. After a break for lunch we drive to the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus. We then return to Jerusalem to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park before proceeding through the partition wall and onto our hotel by Manger Square. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.

Day 7, Thursday 1 October

BETHLEHEM
We begin our day with a celebration of the Eucharist then visit the Basilica of the Nativity and the Shepherds Fields. We will also visit the Lutheran Church to learn about their amazing work in and around the community. After a break for lunch and if permitted we will visit Dheisheh Refugee camp which was established in 1949 following the Israeli invasion. In the afternoon we will visit Herodium, a fortified palace on the outskirts of Bethlehem, built by Herod the Great and which became his place of burial. In Byzantine times it was developed as a monastic complex. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.

Day 8, Friday 2 October

JACOB’S WELL - SEA OF GALILEE
We leave Bethlehem after breakfast and drive into the heart of the West Bank, noting as we drive some of the ‘facts on the ground’ about the Occupation, as we come to the remains of the ancient city of Sebaste on the outskirt of Nablus. Sebastia was destroyed by Alexander the Great. Pompey rebuilt it and Augustus bestowed it upon Herod the Great in 27BC. It was here that Salome danced and asked for the head of John the Baptist and where his decapitated body is buried. After visiting the Roman and Byzantine ruins we continue to visit Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman drawing water. If time permits we hope to visit the Samaritan Museum before finally proceeding around the Sea of Galilee to our hotel by the lake. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 9, Saturday 3 October

MOUNT TABOR & NAZARETH
This morning we leave our hotel and drive in an easterly direction to Mount Tabor and proceed to the summit to visit the traditional site of the Transfiguration. After enjoying some amazing views over the Jezreel Valley and plain of Armageddon we proceed to the village of Cana to view the Wedding Church. From here we proceed to Nazareth and break for lunch. We will spend the afternoon exploring the town where Jesus grew up. We will visit the Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well and walk through the souks to the old synagogue church. Late afternoon return to the lake and our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 10, Sunday 4 October

JESUS’ LAKESIDE MINISTRY
We start our day with a visit to the summit of the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the places where Jesus lived and worked. We then proceed to Tabgha, the Church of the Loaves and Fishes and the Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we visit the ancient fishing town of Capernaum to view the House of Peter and the reconstructed synagogue, the foundation of which date back to the time of Jesus and is the site where He may have often preached. We finally board a boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee to Kibbutz Nof Ginosar where we can view the “Galilee Boat”, a first century fishing boat similar to that which Jesus would have used, which was found buried in mud on the lakeshore. We then return to our hotel to spend the afternoon by the lake. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 11, Monday 5 October

OUR JOURNEY HOME
After breakfast we return to the Mount of Beatitudes for our final act of worship in the Holy Land. Late morning we drive west to the Mediterranean and continue south along the coast line to Caesarea Maritima to visit this beautiful Roman and Crusader Port City. View the ancient harbour, fortifications, twin water aqueducts and theatre. Paul was imprisoned here for almost two years before his trial in Rome. For Christians it is a place of great significance, as it was here that Peter baptised the first Gentile, Cornelius the Roman Centurion. After a break for lunch we drive to Tel Aviv Airport for our afternoon return flight to London.

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