Peterborough Diocesan Pilgrimage
THE HOLY LAND
The Rt Revd Donald Allister
Bishop of Peterborough
Following in the Footsteps of Jesus
A 9 day Pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a very special experience. My testimony, shared by many who have travelled with me before, is that the Bible comes to life in remarkable ways. In addition, today’s situation in Israel and Palestine, inseparable from the very complex history, is seen and experienced quite starkly. I hope you can join me: I confidently expect that it will be exhilarating, exhausting and faith-building.
For those who have been with me before, this pilgrimage will be different:
• fuller, longer days with more activities
• two bases instead of three
• starting with Jerusalem and the south, finishing with Galilee and the north
For those who have not been on such a pilgrimage, please note:
• this is a Christian pilgrimage, and we will worship together, singing, praying, reading the Bible, and celebrating Holy Communion most days
• you need to be physically fit, able to negotiate moderate hill walking, uneven surfaces, and many steps at a reasonable pace, as well as cope with fairly hot weather
• we will be well fed with lovely Mediterranean / Middle Eastern food, but we cannot always guarantee to provide special diets.
We will of course abide fully by any public health restrictions that are in place as we travel.
We are limited to fifty pilgrims, so get your booking in quickly. Once you have booked, please let my PA know by ringing 01733 562 492 or preferably emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also reserve the morning of Saturday 20th August to attend a pre-pilgrimage briefing meeting at which I look forward to meeting you.
Bishop of Peterborough
- Flights on Easyjet from London Luton
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- Accommodation at Gloria Hotel & the Nof Ginosar
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room price per person £2890
- Gratuities £80
- Donations, Bishop Donald has expressed his desire to support a number of Christian institutions and charities which you will encounter as you journey through the Holy Land and invites you to give £50 towards this.
- Any items of a personal nature
- Travel insurance
Day 1, Saturday 17 September
We gather at London Luton for our morning ﬂight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we will be met and transferred to Jerusalem and our hotel situated within the Old City walls. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 2, Sunday 18 September
This morning we leave our hotel after breakfast to combine the depth of religious history of the Holy Land with a clear indication of the modern day political problems by visiting Hebron to see the Tomb of the Patriarchs and see how the Old City centre has been divided and impoverished by the results of the Occupation. We will have the chance to enter both the mosque and the synagogue, as well as walking in the souk. We then leave Hebron and drive to Bethlehem, passing through the check-point in the vast separation wall into the town of Bethlehem where we will break for lunch. The afternoon will be devoted to discovering more about the Incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. We will visit the Shepherds’ Fields, where we will celebrate Holy Communion. We then proceed to visit the Church of the Nativity. Late afternoon we leave Bethlehem, and if permitted, we will visit Herodium, one of Herod’s palaces, before proceeding back to Jerusalem and our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 3, Monday 19 September
After an early breakfast we leave our hotel and drive down to Bethany, the village where Jesus enjoyed hospitality with his close friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. We then have to take a long detour around the separation wall that now divides Bethany from Bethphage on the summit of the Mount of Olives. We will stop for a short break on the summit for a breathtaking view of Jerusalem and its magniﬁcent medieval walls. We then begin tracing Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage down the mountain, stopping at Dominus Flevit, Pater Noster Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane, and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony. After a break for lunch we proceed to Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper and Pentecost, before ﬁnishing our day at the church of St Peter in Gallicantu and recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4, Tuesday 20 September
After an early breakfast we will walk to the Dung Gate to visit the Western Wall, a section of the retaining wall of Solomon’s Temple and the holiest site in Judaism. If permitted, we will ascend Mount Moriah to view the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. We then visit the beautiful Crusader Church of St Anne’s before 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. After a break for lunch we will exit the Old City via the Damascus Gate and proceed to the Garden Tomb. We ﬁnally proceed to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park, before returning to our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 5, Wednesday 21 September
We begin our day with a drive to the village of Lifta on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Lifta was a Palestinian village whose residents were expelled in the 1948 war of independence. We then drive on to 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, when the Magniﬁcat was ﬁrst sung. We then drive on to Abu Gosh, one of the sites associated with the village of Emmaus in the gospels before breaking for lunch. We return to Jerusalem. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore the Old City at your leisure. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 6, Thursday 22 September
After an early breakfast we leave Jerusalem and drive down through the Judean Wilderness to the Jordan Valley and the oasis city of Jericho, the city of palms, to view the Mount of Temptation and the traditional Sycamore Tree. We then continue to Qasr al Yehud, the baptismal site on the River Jordan where we will have an opportunity to renew our baptism vows. Leaving the Jordan Valley we proceed up through the Samarian hills to the ruins of the ancient city of Sebastia on the outskirts 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 John the Baptist’s decapitated body was buried. After visiting the Roman and Byzantine ruins we continue to visit Jacob’s Well (Genesis 33.20), where the Fourth Gospel (John 4.6-12) tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. We also hope to visit the Anglican parish of St Philips in the city before proceeding to the Sea of Galilee and check-in to our hotel on the shores of the lake. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 7, Friday 23 September
Today will be devoted to a leisurely exploration of the area that was the base for Jesus’ ministry by the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. We will visit sites associated with the call of the ﬁrst disciples, the multiplication of the loaves and ﬁshes, the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and the village of Capernaum. We will also sail on a modern-day version of the boat used for ﬁshing at the time of Jesus and also see the remains of a similar boat which dates back to the early First Century. We will visit the recently excavated site of Magdala before returning to our hotel late afternoon. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 8, Saturday 24 September
This morning we leave our hotel after an early breakfast and drive across the Jezreel Valley (the plains of Armageddon) to Mount Tabor and continue by taxi vans to the summit to visit the Basilica of the Transﬁguration. On descending Mount Tabor, we visit the ruins of King Solomon’s ancient chariot city of Megiddo. After a break for lunch, we will visit 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. We will continue to visit Cana the site of Jesus’ ﬁrst sign before returning to our lakeside hotel for our farewell dinner and overnight stay.
Days 9, Sunday 25 September
We leave Galilee and head in a south westerly direction to visit the ancient port-city of Caesarea Maritima, once the capital of Palestine for almost 600 years. The city, built by Herod the Great, was a seaport and comprised of a great artiﬁcial harbour enclosed by two massive stone breakwaters, a Herodian aqueduct and a theatre seating 4,000 people bearing the name Pontius Pilate on an inscribed plaque. Both Paul and Peter visited Caesarea and Philip made his home here. 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 proceed to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and check-in for our return ﬂight home.