The Holy Land
A pilgrimage for the Northern Province of the Church of England
The Most Rev’d Stephen Cottrell
3rd – 12th June 2024
In the first chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus invites his followers to ‘Come and See’, an invitation which changed their lives, as they journeyed with Jesus in the Galilee and to Jerusalem. I am delighted to invite you to ‘Come and See’ the lands in which the gospel narrative unfolded, and to meet some of the Christians of the Holy Land today, and learn of their mission and ministry.
Our journey together will take us from Nazareth, where the Good News began, through many of the places where Jesus preached, taught and healed. We will spend two nights in Bethlehem, before coming to Jerusalem for the final four nights of our pilgrimage. During these days we will visit many of the places associated with the events of the gospels, and have the chance to read the Bible and worship together.
We will also visit a number of Christian charities and institutions and learn of the work of the ‘Living Stones’ in the complex and challenging environment of Palestine and Israel today, as well as encountering some of the clergy of the Anglican diocese of Jerusalem who will speak to us about the life of the church in that region.
The arrangements for this pilgrimage have been entrusted to Lightline Pilgrimages Ltd, which works with Christian partners in the Holy Land, ensuring that the income generated by this pilgrimage will benefit the diminishing Christian community. Helping me lead the pilgrimage will be the Very Rev’d Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, whose experience of the Holy Land covers more than a quarter of a century.
I do hope you can join us!
- Scheduled flights on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow Airport
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- 9 nights accommodation at selected hotels and guest house
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- All gratuities to guides, drivers and hotel staff
- Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room price per person £3945
- Travel insurance
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Monday, 3rd June
We meet at Heathrow Airport to fly to Tel Aviv, where we land mid afternoon. After clearing immigration and Customs formalities, we make our way to our pilgrim guest house on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, where we will spend the first three nights of our pilgrimage. We will arrive in time to freshen up before dinner.
Day 2, Tuesday, 4th June
Our day begins in the town that marked the beginning of the Good News – Nazareth. We will celebrate an opening Eucharist together in the Anglican church and meet its vicar, before exploring some of the other sites in the town as we walk through the narrow winding market streets of the souk to the old Synagogue-Church, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the traditional site of Mary’s Well before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the nearby village of Cana, where Jesus performed his first ‘sign’, before ending the day at Mount Tabor, believed by many to be the place of the Transfiguration to spend time on the summit overlooking the wonderful views of the Jezreel Valley (the plains of Armageddon). We then make our way back to our lakeside guest house to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Wednesday 5th June
The focus of today’s itinerary will be Jesus’ preaching, teaching and miracles by the Sea of Galilee. We will celebrate an outdoor Eucharist by the lake, after which we will explore the Mount of Beatitudes, the Church of Peter’s Primacy, Magdala, the Church of the Feeding of the Five Thousand and the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ Galilean Ministry. We will also have the opportunity to go out on the lake in a replica of a First Century fishing boat, and to see an authentic boat from that era that was discovered in the 1980s. Return to our guest house in good time to relax and freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4, Thursday 6th June
We leave the Galilee after breakfast and head south, hoping to stop in the city of Nablus, and learn about the Anglican presence in this predominantly Muslim city. We will also visit Jacob’s Well, visited by Jesus as he undertook a similar journey. After a break for lunch we will make our way down to the banks of the River Jordan at Qasr al Yehud, the traditional site close near where John baptised Jesus and where we will have an opportunity to renew our Baptism vows. We then proceed through the oasis city of Jericho, stopping briefly for a view of the Mount of Temptation and Qarantal Monastery before we make our way up through the hills of the Judean Wilderness and on to the ‘little town’ of Bethlehem, which we enter through a checkpoint in the huge 9-metre high separation wall and onto our hotel that will be our home for the next two nights. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 5, Friday 7th June
We will spend today discovering more fully the gift of Incarnation and of the abundant life Jesus promises, as we explore the sites associated with his birth. We will visit the Shepherds’ Fields and the Church of the Nativity to remind ourselves of the Christmas story. We will also visit two remarkable institutions that offer the gift of abundant life in modern-day Bethlehem: the Orphanage / Creche of the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul where we will celebrate the Eucharist. It is the only facility of its kind in the West Bank offering Christian love and compassion for over forty abandoned babies and small children. Finally we will visit Bethlehem University, before returning to our hotel in good time to relax and before dinner. Overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 6, Saturday 8th June
We leave Bethlehem after breakfast and head to Jerusalem and on to the Mount of Olives, where we will stop on the summit for a breathtaking view of the Old City and its beautiful medieval walls. We will then proceed to the Princess Basma Centre – a major facility for children with disabilities run by the Anglican diocese. After we have learned something of its remarkable work, we will trace the Palm Sunday story as we walk down the Mount to the Garden of Gethsemane 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. After a break for lunch, we will visit the Israel Museum, to see a vast model of Jerusalem as it was in Jesus’ lifetime, and to enter the Shrine of the Book, which tells the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally, we will make our way to the Christian Quarter of the Old City and check-in to our hotel, where we will spend our final four nights of the pilgrimage. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Sunday 9th June
We will celebrate the first day of the week by worshipping with our sister and brother Anglicans at St George’s Cathedral, where we hope to meet the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem and some members of his diocese. From here we will visit the holiest site of Judaism, the Western Wall, before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the synagogue at the Hadassah Hospital to see Marc Chagall’s windows depicting the twelve sons of Jacob. Finally 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 where we will bring our day to a close with Evening Prayer at the Church of the Visitation, and singing ‘Magnificat’ where Mary first gave voice to this great song of praise. Return to Jerusalem and our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Monday 10th June
Our day begins on Mount Zion, where we will visit the Abbey of the Dormition and the Cenacle, before coming to the church of St Peter in Gallicantu, where we will recall Peter’s denial of Jesus. 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. We then leave Jerusalem and descend to the Dead Sea basin, first to visit Qumran and see where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and to view the excavated monastery of the Essene Community which may have produced the famous scrolls. and finally to have the chance to float in the .unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea. Return to Jerusalem and our hotel in good time for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 9, Tuesday 11th June
After an early breakfast, we will make our way to the Dung Gate to visit the Temple Mount, where we can see the magnificent courtyard in which are located the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. From here we will walk across the entire Mount, and enjoy its views out across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives, until we come to the Lion’s Gate. After a visit to the Church of St Anne, we come to the start of the Via Dolorosa, which we will walk prayerfully until we reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where we will recall Jesus’ death and resurrection. After lunch, the afternoon will be free to allow us the opportunity to revisit some of the sites in Jerusalem, explore the Old City, or indulge in some last-minute shopping. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem
Day 10, Wednesday 12th June
We leave Jerusalem for the last time, heading west for seven miles, to visit a site believed to be the location of the village of Emmaus. Here we will celebrate a final Eucharist together and then share a final lunch, before we head onwards to Tel Aviv airport to board our flight back to London. We land in the evening, ready to share with our family and friends all we have discovered in the Land of the Holy One.