THE HOLY LAND
In the footsteps of Jesus
A 9 day Pilgrimage through the Biblical Lands of Israel and Palestine
Rev Canon Chris Vallins and Rev Sarah Mounoury
28th September – 6th October 2024
For hundreds of years Christians have set aside time to hear, and experience in a new way, the familiar stories of their faith by going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We invite you to join us walking in the steps of Jesus, in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Galilee and Jerusalem.
Our Pilgrimage will be both an opportunity to support and encourage the Christian community there and to gain a greater understanding of the three Abrahamic faiths:-Judaism, Christianity and Islam – for all of whom Jerusalem is Holy.
We will meet, and have the opportunity to worship with, members of the Palestinian Christian community in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. In these encounters with the local community we may gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they face and the lives of the peoples who live, work and worship in the Holy Land. We know that our time spent together there will be of great help and encouragement to our sister and brother Christians who, especially at this time, face so many difficulties.
We have both found that every time we make the pilgrimage our friendships and understandings have been deepened by new and sometimes challenging experiences and insights. We have also always so enjoyed relaxing by, sailing on, swimming in and eating fish from the Sea of Galilee, just as Jesus and His disciples did.
We do hope you will join us on this pilgrimage in September 2024
- Scheduled flights on British Airways from London Heathrow Airport
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- 8 nights accommodation at selected hotels
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- All gratuities to guides, driversand hotel staff
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room price per person £3170
- Travel insurance
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Saturday 28th September
Journeying to the Holy Land
We gather at London Heathrow for our afternoon flight to Tel Aviv. on arrival we will be met by our guide and driver and then driven up to Jerusalem and our hotel within the Old Walled City. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 2, Sunday 29th September
Bethlehem & Ein Karem
After breakfast we begin our pilgrimage by driving to St George’s Cathedral to join with the local Anglican community for Sunday worship. Late morning we leave Jerusalem and drive through the separation wall into the town of Bethlehem. We will visit the Church of the Nativity, the site of Jesus’s birth and the adjoining Catholic Church built above the cave of St Jerome. We then continue to nearby Beit Sahour to visit the Shepherds’ Fields. This is the traditional site where the shepherds watched their flocks on the night of Jesus’s birth. After a break for lunch we will drive to the village of Ein Karem, believed to have been the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth and thus the site of the birth of John the Baptist and of the encounter between Elizabeth and Mary. We then return to Jerusalem and our hotel in good time for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 3, Monday 30th September
Mount Olives & Mount Zion
This morning we leave our hotel after an early breakfast and drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a magnificent view across the Kidron Valley to the holy places in Jerusalem and the city’s beautiful medieval walls. We then begin to trace Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage down the mountain, stopping at Dominus Flevitt and Pater Noster on the way before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony. After a break for lunch we will drive across the Kidron Valley to Mount Zion to visit David’s Tomb, the traditional site of the Last Supper Room, the Dormition Abbey and finally to St Peter in Gallicantu recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. We will also view the recently excavated steps that lead to the Old City and are possibly the very steps that Jesus would have climbed. Return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 4, Tuesday 1st October
The Old City
We begin after an early breakfast and drive to the Dung Gate to view the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site and if permitted we will ascend the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock. We will exit the Temple Mount and then continue to the beautiful Crusader church of St Anne built above the twin pools of Bethesda where Jesus cured the sick man. The church was built in 1142 by Avda the widow of Baldwin, the king of Jerusalem and is the place where the house of Joachim and Anne, Mary’s parents, once stood and is the most beautiful church in the city. We will then break for lunch. In the afternoon we will begin our walk along the Via Dolorosa from the Chapel of Condemnation to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Along the way we visit the Convent of the Sisters of Zion built on the foundations of the Roman garrison to see the pavement that is venerated as the place where Jesus stood before Pilate. We will bring our day to a close at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 5, Wednesday 2nd October
Dead Sea, Masada & Qumran
After breakfast we leave Jerusalem and drive down to the Dead Sea. On route we will visit Bethany, the home of Jesus’ friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus, before following the Dead Sea south to Mount Masada the scene of heroic resistance by Jewish zealots against a Roman army during the final stage of the Jewish revolt. We visit the summit of Masada and return north to Ein Gedi for lunch and the chance to bathe in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea.
On our way back to Jerusalem we visit Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We then continue to Jericho the oldest city on earth and the first conquest of the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan into Canaan. We spend time in the oasis town that was once the property of Cleopatra who leased it to Herod the Great. We will visit Qasr al Yehud, the traditional baptismal site on the River Jordan and possibly very near the site where John baptised Jesus. We hope to celebrate the Eucharist in the open air, before we return to Jerusalem, arriving in good time for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6, Thursday 3rd October
Emmaus, Nablus & Sea of Galilee
After an early breakfast we drive to the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. We then drive on to the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus where we remember the beautiful story of the resurrection appearance of Jesus to his disciples. Leaving Emmaus we head north towards Galilee 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 city of Nablus. Here we will visit Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. We then proceed around the Sea of Galilee to our hotel situated on the shores of the lake which will be our home for the final three nights of our pilgrimage. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 7, Friday 4th October
Nazareth - Mt Tabor - Magdala
We leave Tiberias after an early breakfast and drive across the Green and Fertile valley of Jezreel (the biblical plains of Armageddon) to Mount Tabor, the traditional site associated with the transfiguration of Jesus before Peter, James and John. Local taxis take us to the summit. On descending Mount Tabor we drive onto Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, Christ Church and the Greek Church built over the ancient well, before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we visit the village of Cana and the Franciscan church built on the site of the house associated with the first miracle. On the way back to our lakeside hotel we visit 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. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 8, Saturday 5th October
Jesus’ Lakeside Ministry
This morning we follow the ministry of Jesus along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and in the hills overlooking the Lake. We begin by driving to Tabgha and the Church of the Loaves and Fishes that commemorates the feeding of the 5,000 and where we will celebrate the Eucharist on the shores of the lake. We then continue to Capernaum the centre of Jesus’ Galilean ministry where we will visit the first century house identified as the home of Peter. We then drive into the hills to the Mount of Beatitudes that overlooks virtually all the places where Jesus lived and worked before breaking for lunch at the Kibbutz En Gev. We then sail on the Sea of Galilee and return to our hotel. On route we will visit the “Jesus boat” a 1st century boat recovered from the lake. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 9, Sunday 6th October
Caesarea - Journey home
We leave Galilee after an early breakfast to drive south and along the coast to Caesarea Maritima to visit this beautiful Roman and Crusader port city. View the ancient harbour, fortifications, twin 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 at this historic port we head to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and our return flight to London.