An 11 day Pilgrimage for the Diocese of Sodor and Man
Following in the footsteps of Jesus
The Rt Revd Peter Eagles
I invite you most warmly to join me in this Pilgrimage in the footsteps of Christ.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land has been part of the life of the Church in every generation. It takes us to the place where the Lord was born, where He grew up, where He called the first disciples, where He healed the sick and fed the multitude, and where He suffered and died and rose again for us. Pilgrimage is in itself an act of great devotion. In the Holy Land, it brings Scripture to life. It gives a new and vivid dimension to our reading of the Bible. We hear St Luke’s account of the Annunciation as we visit Nazareth; we hear the Christmas Gospel at the Shepherds’ Fields and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; we walk the Way of the Cross through the old city of Jerusalem, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the place of the Resurrection; we share in the Eucharist at Emmaus, where the disciples recognised the risen Christ in the breaking of bread.
I invite you to share these experiences with me, and to allow them to renew us in our faith and in our reading of God’s word. We will also be supporting and encouraging our Christian sisters and brothers in the Holy Land, both prayerfully and practically. We will understand more of the history of this sacred place, and perhaps even something of God’s will for it in the future. And we will grow in love and faith with one another. We recall that the Lord’s first and last words to His disciples are “Follow me”. I invite us to follow Him on this Pilgrimage, and to allow Him to make Himself known to us in the Eucharist and in the study of His word.
- Scheduled flights on Easyjet from Manchester Airport
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- Accommodation at selected guest houses & hotels
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- All gratuities to drivers, guides and hotel staff
- Single room supplement (limited availability) £550
- Travel Insurance
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Monday 30th November
Journeying to the Holy Land
We gather at Manchester Airport for our afternoon flight to Tel Aviv with Easyjet. On arrival we will be met by our guide and transferred to our hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for the first of three nights stay here.
Day 2, Tuesday 1st December
Mount Tabor & Nazareth
We begin our pilgrimage after breakfast and by driving across the plains of Armageddon to visit the site of the Transfiguration on the summit of Mount Tabor. On descending the mountain we proceed to Nazareth, the town associated with the beginning of the gospel message, to see how the Good News is both remembered and lived out today. We will visit the site of the only spring in town, where Jesus’ mother will have drawn water, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church. Late afternoon we return to the lakeside visiting Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign, on route. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Wednesday 2nd December
Jesus’ Lakeside Ministry
We will spend the day exploring the sites associated with Jesus’ ministry. We begin by driving to the summit of the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the sites where Jesus lived and worked. We then walk down the hillside to Tabgha, the Church of the Loaves and Fishes and The Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter. After a break for lunch we proceed the ancient fishing village of Capernaum where we will celebrate communion in the open-air by the lake shore, before visiting this well excavated site including the remains of a synagogue that dates back to the time of Jesus and the House of Peter. We then leave by sailing on a modern-day version of the boat used for fishing at the time of Jesus. We bring our day to a close at Magdala and the excavations of Mary Magdalene’s home town. Return to our guest house in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the lake.
Day 4, Thursday 3rd December
An Ancient Route
Leaving the Galilee we head south through 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 visit Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. Leaving Nablus we continue through the Judean Wilderness where we will stop for a short walk before proceeding through the separation wall into Bethlehem for the first of two nights stay in the city in which Christ was born. Dinner and overnight stay by Manger Square in Bethlehem.
Day 5, Friday 4th December
Bethlehem & Bet Sahour
Today will be devoted to discovering more about Incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. We will visit the Shepherds’ Fields and the Church of the Nativity, as well as some remarkable institutions run by the Christian community of the ‘little town’, including the St Vincent’s orphanage and the cultural centre and college created by Mitri Raheb, the Lutheran pastor of Bethlehem. In the afternoon we will visit Herodium on the outskirts of Bethlehem, a fortress-palace built by Herod with a Royal tomb. Dinner and overnight stay by Manger Square.
Day 6, Saturday 5th December
Mount Olives & Ein Karem
We leave Bethlehem after a leisurely breakfast and drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives and stop for a breathtaking view of Jerusalem and the Old Citywith its beautiful surrounding medieval walls. We then continue to trace Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage down the mountain, stopping at Dominus Flevit and the Church of Pater Noster on the way, before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony where we will spend some time. After a break for lunch we drive on to the village of Ein Karem believed to have been the home of John the Baptist and his parents. Here we will have the chance to sing Magnificat in the town in which Mary first uttered those famous and powerful words. Finally we return to Jerusalem and check-in to our hotel within the old walled city. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Sunday 6th December
Sunday Service & Israel Museum
On this, the first day of the week, we will attend the Eucharist at the mother church of Anglicanism in the Holy Land, St George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem and after join members of the local Christian community for coffee. After lunch we will visit the Israel Museum to see a model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and the Dead Sea scrolls. Return to our hotel in good time for relaxation before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Monday 7th December
The Old City
This morning we leave our hotel and begin our tour of the Old city. We visit the Western Wall, a section of the retaining wall of Solomon’s Temple and the most holy site in Judaism and then if permitted we will ascend the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosques. We will then proceed through the Jewish Quarter including the Roman Cardo which is now a modern shopping street built within the original Roman buildings. In the afternoon we walk the Way of the Cross through the Old City of Jerusalem, culminating in the extraordinary Church of the Holy Sepulchure, believed to be built over the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore the old city. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 9, Tuesday 8th December
Jordan River & Dead Sea
We leave Jerusalem after an early breakfast and drive down to Jericho where we will stop for a view of the Mount of Temptation before continuing to the banks of River Jordan and the site believed to be close to where Jesus was baptized by John and where we will renew our baptism vows too. Late morning we will continue to Qumran and break for lunch. Following lunch we will visit the remains of an Essene monastery near where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and also have an opportunity to float in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea. Return to Jerusalem and our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 10, Wednesday 9th December
Mount Zion & the Garden Tomb
We will spend 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 be the residence of the Jewish High Priest. Many believe that Jesus himself was led up these steps to his trial by the authorities after his arrest. We will spend some time here as we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration on the last night of his life but, also, Peter’s faithless threefold denial of Jesus. Break for lunch. In the afternoon we will drive over to the Garden Tomb (Gordon’s Calvary) and bring our day to a close with a visit and worship. The site will give us a good idea of what a garden and tomb would have looked like around the time of Jesus. Return to our hotel with good time to relax before dinner. Farwell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 11, Thursday 10th December
Emmaus, Jaffa & our journey home
After packing our bags and breakfast we will leave Jerusalem and head west towards the Mediterranean and the airport, stopping at the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus, to celebrate a final Eucharist together, before heading on to the ancient Mediterranean port city of Jaffa. We will have free time here for lunch and an opportunity to visit it’s beautiful artists colony. Early evening we continue to Tel Aviv airport for our journey home.