A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
The Revd Martin Dale
Our pilgrimage will follow in the footsteps of Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem. In Galilee we will visit Nazareth, the town in which Jesus grew up, and Capernaum, the fishing village which became the centre of His ministry, as well as other places associated with the Gospel. In Jerusalem, we will retrace Jesus’ steps from Bethany to Gethsemane, and walk along The Way of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We will visit Bethlehem and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the oasis town of Jericho, the home of the tax collector Zaccheus.
Experience shows that visiting the Holy Land, places where Jesus lived, worked and died and rose from the dead, has a transforming effect on people’s faith, bringing the words and works of Jesus into remarkable focus.
In addition, we will have the opportunity to hear about the lives of Christians in Israel, especially when we visit Bethlehem. We will also see for ourselves the state of the art Holy Family Maternity Hospital, run by Christians in Bethlehem for the benefit of the generally Muslim population around them, as well as the Helen Keller school for the Blind.
Should you wish to talk to me before booking – and with no commitment to join us – please call me at 01945-880 259 (in the UK) or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will happily answer any questions you may have about this pilgrimage.
We hope you will want to join us on this unique opportunity to follow in the steps of our Lord, and support our fellow Christians in this troubled region.
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- Accommodation at Selected Guest Houses & Hotels
- Lunch on Day 10 prior to transfer to airport
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- Qualified English speaking escort throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room (limited availability) £395
- Travel Insurance
- Gratuities £75
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Tuesday 24th November
Journeying to the Holy Land
We meet at London Luton Airport for our Easyjet flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we will be met by our guide and driven north to Galilee and our guest house in Nazareth. Dinner and overnight stay in Nazareth.
Day 2, Wednesday 25th November
Revelation and Annunciation
After breakfast we begin our Pilgrimage by exploring the town of Nazareth where Jesus grew up, visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s Well and walk through the narrow winding market streets of the souk to an old Synagogue Church. We then visit “Nazareth Village” a small authentically recreated village based around the time of Jesus before breaking for lunch here to sample food that which would have been eaten in Jesus’ day. In the afternoon we drive down to the Jezreel valley to visit the excavations of King Solomon's great chariot city of Megiddo overlooking the plains of Armageddon. Return to Nazareth and our guest house to relax before dinner and overnight stay.
Day 3, Thursday 26th November
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
After breakfast, we drive to Tiberias pier to sail across the Sea of Galilee to Ginosar, celebrating Holy Communion on board the boat. We then drive up to the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the places where Jesus lived and worked. We then proceed to Tabgha to visit the Church of the Loaves and Fishes and the Church of the Primacy of St Peter. We then visit the exciting excavations at Magdala, the home town of Jesus’ friend and follower Mary Magdalene. The excavations have revealed a first century synagogue and the remains of a fish farm. In the afternoon we proceed to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ Galilean Ministry, to view the house of Peter and a partially rebuilt 4th century synagogue built over the site where Jesus often preached. We will spend some time here for meditation. Finally we will visit the baptismal site at Yardenit where there will be an opportunity to renew your baptismal vows with water from the Jordan river or if you haven't already been baptised then to be baptised by full immersion if you so wish. Please let me know beforehand as you will need a change of clothes! We then return to Nazareth and our guest house. Dinner and overnight stay in Nazareth.
Day 4, Friday 27th November
An ancient route - Via Maris
This morning we bid farewell to the Galilee and begin our journey south. We first drive west to the Mediterranean coast to visit the ancient Crusader city-port of Acre (Akko). It was the last Crusader stronghold before it fell to Saladin following their defeat in 1187 at the battle of the Horns of Hattin. We then continue south along the caost , the Via Maris to Mount Carmel to visit the Cave of Elijah and stop briefly on the summit of Mount Carmel for a wonderful view of Haifa Bay. We continue south to Caesarea Maritima and break for lunch. In the afternoon we begin visiting another beautiful Roman and Crusader port city. View the ancient harbour, fortifications, twin water 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. We finally make our way inland up through the Jerusalem hills. Stop on Mount Scopus for a breath taking view of the old city of Jerusalem and its beautiful surrounding medieval walls before proceeding to Bethlehem and witness first hand the huge 9-metre high separation wall. We continue through the check-point to our Bethlehem hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 5, Saturday 28th November
Bethlehem & Beth Sahour
We will spend the day in and around Bethlehem, visiting places associated with the birth of Jesus. We start by walking to the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square the oldest Church in Christendom. We then then visit the Shepherds’ field in Beth Sahour before we tour the Holy Family Hospital to see signs of hope in the remarkable work they carry out. The hospital is the only one that offers neo-natal natal care in the entire southern West Bank. Finally we will visit the Helen Keller school for the blind before returning to our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 6, Sunday 29th November
The First Day of the Week
This morning after breakfast we will have the option of either visiting St George’s Anglican Cathedral or Christchurch for Sunday worship with some of the local Christian community. The rest of the morning will be free to relax with the congregation. In the afternoon we will leave Jerusalem and drive to Hebron to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Returning to Jerusalem we will stop off in the desert for an opportunity to meditate, before continuing on to our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Monday 30th November
Mount of Olives & Mount Zion
After breakfast, we drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives to recall the Palm Sunday route and visit places associated with particular events in the gospels as we slowly make our way downhill. 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 and reflect on the failure of his closest friends to keep awake and watch with him. We then proceed across the Kidron Valley to visit Mount Zion and the traditional site of the Last Supper and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu and view the recently excavated Roman pathway and steps that lead up from the Old City. In the afternoon we will visit the Garden Tomb before returning to our hotel in good time to relax before dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Tuesday 1st December
The Way of the Cross
We leave our hotel and drive to Zion Gate and proceed to the Western Wall, a section of the retaining wall of King Solomon’s Temple and Judaism’s holiest site. From here we proceed to the beautiful Crusader Church of St. Anne overlooking the Pools of Bethesda followed by a visit of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, built on the foundations of the Antonia Fortress, the Roman Garrison of Jerusalem where we view the recently-excavated first century stone pavement (Gabbatha in the Gospels) and then follow the Way of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary enshrined within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a break for lunch we drive to West Jerusalem to visit the Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem. We return to our hotel in good time for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 9, Wednesday 2nd December
Jerusalem - Western Wall Tunnels
We will spend the day leisurely in Jerusalem. We will visit the Western Wall Tunnels (not for the claustrophobic) which run along around 488 meters of the Western Wall and gives one an idea of the complexity of the Temple Mount. The tunnels are supported by a series of arches and narrow passage ways and run under Muslim quarter of the old city. Rest of the day will be at leisure to explore the Old City independently. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 10 Thursday 3rd December
Emmaus & our journey home
After breakfast we leave Jerusalem and drive around seven miles in a westerly direction and stop at the village of Abu Ghosh, one of the sites associated with the village of Emmaus in the gospels, to celebrate our final Eucharist together. After a break for lunch we drive to Tel Aviv Airport and our return flight to London. We plan to arrive back in London in the late evening.