THE HOLY LAND
Following in the footsteps of Jesus
Led by Fr David King
I am delighted to invite you to join me for this special pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Pilgrimage has always been an important part of the Christian life and in this trip we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We journey to the place of His birth, where He grew up, where He called his first Disciples and the places of His teaching and ministry. Like Jesus we then turn and face Jerusalem and the place of His Passion. We walk with Him the Way of the cross and journey with Him to the place of His Burial. We end our Pilgrimage at one of the sites associated with one of Jesus’ resurrection appearances and the Emmaus story before preparing to return home with our hearts burning within us to tell the Good News to those we meet.
During our time we also have the opportunity to visit the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and to experience the wonder of floating in the Dead Sea.
This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the timeless nature of the place that has been described as the Fifth gospel and to hear about, pray for and support our Christian brothers and sisters in this troubled region.
Throughout our time we shall celebrate the sacraments, pray together and open up the scriptures in the places where it all happened and return home with our faith renewed and our eyes opened to the wonders of God’s love for us.
- Scheduled flights on Easyjet Airways from Gatwick Airport
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- Accommodation at selected hotels
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- All gratuties (driver, guide, restraurants and hotel staff)
- Unlimited water supply on coach
- Single room supplement (limited availability) £459
- Travel Insurance
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Tuesday 2nd February
Journeying to the Holy Land
We meet our Lightline representative at London Gatwick Airport for our morning flight to Tel Aviv, arriving in the mid-afternoon. On arrival we will be met by our guide and driver and driven north to Galilee and our hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee which will be our home for the next three nights. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 2, Wednesday 3rd February
Annunciation and Revelation
We start our pilgrimage by driving to Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up, to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the largest Christian church in Israel believed to have been built on the house in which the Holy Family lived and an old synagogue church. We then proceed to the village of Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign, for a brief visit before breaking for lunch. After lunch we drive across the fertile Jezreel Valley, the plains of Armageddon to visit Mount Tabor and the Basilica of the Transfiguration on the summit, where we will celebrate the Eucharist. On descending Mount Tabor we return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. We hope to be joined by the Vicar of Nazareth for dinner and for a talk on being a Christian in Nazareth today. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Thursday 4th February
Teaching and Feeding
Today we will focus on the principal sites of Jesus’ ministry around the home he made for himself by the Sea of Galilee. After commemorating the call of the first disciples in a Eucharist by the Sea itself, as well as sites associated with the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the recommissioning of Peter and the giving of the Sermon on the Mount. We will sail on the Sea of Galilee and then break for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the excavated ruins of Capernaum and the ruins of Kursi, the site associated with the Gadarene swine. We will have time to reflect before returning to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4, Friday 5th February
An Ancient Route
After packing our bags we leave our hotel after an early breakfast and drive south through the heart of the West Bank and the hills of Samaria 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 St Philip’s Anglican Church and St Luke’s Hospital, before visiting Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. We then journey down to the banks of the River Jordan to the site believed to be close to where Jesus was baptized by John, where we will have an opportunity to renew our baptism vows. We then continue to the oasis city of Jericho, the city of palms where we will break for lunch. We will stop briefly for a view of the Mount of Temptation and the traditional Sycamore Tree before driving up through the hills of the Judean wilderness towards Jerusalem and check-in to our hotel situated within the Old Walled City. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 5, Saturday 6th February
Bethlehem - Mt of Olives & Mt Zion
After an early breakfast we drive to Bethlehem and proceed through the checkpoint in the enormous 9-metre high separation wall and on to the village of Beth Sahur to visit the Shepherds Fields before continuing to the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest Churches in Christendom. Late morning we return to Jerusalem and proceed to the summit of the Mount of Olives and stop for a breath taking view of the Old City and its beautiful medieval walls. We then begin to trace our way from Bethphage, the traditional starting point of the procession of palms, to 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 Church of All Nations, where we recall Jesus’ agonised prayers prior to His arrest and reflect on the failure of His closest friends to keep awake and watch with him. After a break for lunch we drive to Mount Zion, where the earliest Christian community lived in the days following the resurrection. We will visit the Dormition Abbey and finally 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 have been the residence of the High Priest. Many believe that Jesus himself was led up these steps to his trial by the authorities after his arrest. Here we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration over the last night of his life, but also Peter’s faithless threefold denial of Jesus. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6, Sunday 7th February
St George’s - Dead Sea – Qumran
After breakfast we make our way to St George’s Cathedral to join members of the local ‘Christian community for Sunday Worship. Late morning we drive down to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth’s surface. En-route we will stop to view St George’s Monastery that clings precariously to the cliff face. After a break for lunch we will visit Qumran where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and where we will have the opportunity to bathe/float in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea. Late afternoon we will return to Jerusalem and our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Monday 8th February
Taking up the Cross
If permitted, we will start our day by visiting the Temple Mount where we can see close up (but not enter) the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. This will lead us to the remarkable Crusader Church of St Anne and the Pools of Bethesda which we will visit, before coming to the start of the Via Dolorosa. Here we will celebrate the Eucharist and then wind our way through the narrow alleys of the Old City following the traditional Way of the Cross culminating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After time to reflect we will break for lunch. In the afternoon we drive over to west Jerusalem and visit the Israel Museum to view the remains of the Dead Sea Scrolls and amazing detailed model of Jerusalem based around the time of Jesus. We then return to our hotel in good time to freshen up. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Tuesday 9th February
Our journey home
After packing our bags and breakfast we drive to Abu Ghosh, one of the traditional sites associated with the Emmaus story where we will celebrate our final Eucharist in the Holy Land, before heading towards the Mediterranean where we will visit the ancient port city of Jaffa, biblical Joppa which still operates as a tiny fishing port and is today a beautiful artists colony. After visiting the church dedicated to St Peter and a light dinner we make our way to Tel Aviv Airport for our flight home and the chance to tell others what has happened to us on the road…