Early in the 4th Century, C.E., the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, traveled from Western Europe to the Holy Land. A strong and resilient woman, she was undaunted by the demands that to such a long journey made in those times. Legend has it that she was in search of the concrete realities that underpinned this new Christian faith. If Christ was indeed crucified, and raised from the dead, then this must have happened not in books and stories, but in a certain place. Helena went to find the place, to see and pray where it all happened. Her journey changed her life, that of her son, and the entire world. Since that time millions of Christians have followed where Helena led.
You are invited to join us on pilgrimages that visit the same places as those to which Helena journeyed some 1600 years ago. Thanks to Helena, and to many who came after her, there are impressive and moving churches, sites and shrines in which countless Christians of all traditions have prayed over many centuries, and a Lightline pilgrimage will take you to many of these important places. Typically, a Lightline pilgrimage will start with three nights by the Sea of Galilee, exploring the north of the country, before spending some nights in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem, as the life and ministry of Jesus is followed towards the inevitable destination of the Way of the Cross, and the Resurrection.
However, our Holy Land pilgrimages do much more than simply pay attention to the ‘dead stones’ of Israel and Palestine. All of our pilgrimages involve visits to and encounters with those who live and work in this complex and challenging region today – most particularly the local Christian communities, including the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. So any Lightline pilgrimage will bring you into contact with the ‘Living Stones’, and help you share a small part of the daily lives, culture, faith and challenges that today’s Christians experience, and we are confident you will be moved by their witness, their courage and their faith.
We also offer our pilgrims contact with Jews and Muslims living and working in Palestine and Israel, as suits the needs of each particular pilgrimage itinerary and those leading such a trip, so that our groups may learn of other experiences and perspectives that impact on life in these lands today. These visits have included encounters with peace activists, hard-line settlers, journalists, religious leaders and politicians.