Pilgrimage overview

January 31 – February 10, 2023

Led by the Rev W. Frank Allen-Rector of St David’s Episcopal Church, Radnor, Philadelphia

Making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land can be a life-changing experience. Some of the holiest places in the world are concentrated in this tiny sliver of land situated between the desert and the sea and spending time where three of the world’s great religions were founded can deepen our understanding and touch our very souls.

Christians have been making pilgrimage to the Holy Land for nearly 2,000 years, walking where Jesus walked to broaden their understanding of Christ’s place in our world today. On this holy journey we will follow in his footsteps, seeing some of the sights he saw, praying in the place where he was born, baptized, tempted, taught, transfigured, tried, crucified and raised from the dead. We will meet modern day followers whose ministries help bring healing and peace to a land deeply divided. Our hearts and minds and souls and spirits will be transformed, enlightened and inspired.

Come join me on on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this winter. We will pray and worship together, share delicious meals, stay in great accommodations, and see unforgettable sights. You will never read or listen to the Scriptures in the same way again and I am confident you will feel touched by God.

Included

  • Airfare (for details & restrictions, please download the brochure below)
  • All airport departure & passenger taxes
  • Hotel Accommodations
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Entrance fees & local government taxes
  • Modern air-conditioned tour bus

Not Included

  • Single room supplement
  • Travel insurance
  • Any item of a personal nature
Download pdf brochure

FLIGHT INFORMATION & ITINERARY:

+ Scheduled flights from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv on Air Canada:
OUT JANUARY 31 AC8931 Philadelphia / Toronto 11.05 am/12:40 pm
AC80 Toronto / Tel Aviv 4.45 pm/10.15 am (Feb 1)
RETURN FEBRUARY 10 AC81 Tel Aviv / Toronto 11.55 am/4.55 pm
AC8936 Toronto / Philadelphia. 9.10 pm/10.41 pm

+ All airport departure & passenger taxes (US & Israel)

+ En Suite accommodation at Christian pilgrim hotels & guest houses
Galilee - Pilgerhaus (Benedictine guest house by the Sea of Galilee)
Bethlehem - Sunrise (A recently opened hotel a short walk from Manger Square)
Jerusalem - Gloria Hotel (Situated within the Old City, by Jaffa Gate)

+ Full board throughout (breakfast, lunch & dinner daily).

+ All entrance fees and local government taxes.

+ State licensed English speaking guides throughout the tour.

+ All touring in modern air-conditioned tour buses.

Day 1: TUESDAY, JANUARY 31

We meet in the morning at Philadelphia Airport, where we take a short flight to Toronto and change planes before our early evening flight to Tel Aviv. Dinner will be served on board the plane, and we hope to be able to sleep well before our landing in Israel the next day.

Day 2: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1

We land in Tel Aviv the following morning, and after clearing immigration and customs formalities we will drive north to the Galilee. After a break for lunch, we will visit the impressive ruins of Sepphoris, which, in the era of the New Testament was a major city, which would have been well known to Joseph and Jesus, as they pursued the family carpentry business. After exploring this remarkable site, we will drive on to our beautiful pilgrim guest house on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, which will be our home for the next three nights.

Day 3: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2

Today we will devote ourselves to the events of Jesus’ ministry of healing and teaching around the home he chose in Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee. We will visit Capernaum itself, as well as sites associated with the Beatitudes, the commissioning of Peter, and the feeding of the Five Thousand. We will go out in a boat on the lake, and we will visit the newly-excavated First Century synagogue in Magdala, the home town of ‘the apostle to the apostles’, Mary Magdalene.

Day 4: FRIDAY, JANUARY 25

Our morning begins with a visit to the town in which the Good News began– Nazareth, where Mary met the archangel Gabriel. We will celebrate the Eucharist in the Episcopal parish, and see its work ‘made flesh’ at the remarkable High School run by the Diocese of Jerusalem. After a break for lunch, we will stop at Cana in Galilee, where Jesus performed his first ‘sign’, before closing our day at Mount Tabor, believed by many to be the site of the Transfiguration. Return to our lakeside hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 5: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4

Leaving the beauty and tranquility of the Galilee, we will journey through the heart of the West Bank to the major Palestinian city of Nablus. We will see the work of St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, providing significant special- ist medical care in the heart of the city, and visit Jacob’s Well, which was already a place of pilgrimage in the time of Jesus. After lunch we come to the Jordan River to renew our Baptismal Covenant, before arriving into the ‘little town’ of Bethlehem, situated behind the 27 foot high Separation Wall, where we will sleep for the next two nights.

Day 6: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5

After breakfast we drive the short distance to Jerusalem to worship at St George’s Episcopal Cathedral with our sister and brother Episcopalians. After the service we return to Bethlehem to visit the Shepherds Fields and the Church of the Nativity, stopping for lunch at the delightful Tent restaurant in Beit Sahour.

Day 7: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6

Our morning begins with a visit to the city of Hebron, one of the most important Palestinian cities in the southern West Bank. Here we will visit the Tombs of the Patriarchs, and get a clear sense of the impact of the Occupation on the life of this historic place. Returning to Bethlehem we will visit the St Vincent Crèche, where we can see love expressed in action at what is the only Christian orphanage in the Palestinian territories. After lunch we will visit Bethany before descending the Mount of Olives visiting the churches which celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, the giving of the Lord’s Prayer and Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Finally we come to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of the Agony, where we recall Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. From here we make our way to our hotel in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, which will be our home for the remainder of our pilgrimage.

Day 8: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7

Our day starts with a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for Jews. From here we ascend to Mount Zion, to visit and pray in the Abbey of the Dormition, the room associated with the Last Supper and the Day of Pentecost. Our morning closes at the church of St Peter in Gallicantu, built on what is believed to be the High Priest’s palace, in which Jesus was imprisoned on the last night of his life. After lunch we visit the synagogue of the Hadassah Hospital, to see its breathtaking windows by Marc Chagall that depict the twelve sons of Jacob. We also visit nearby Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist, where we will can sing ‘Magnificat’ in the place where Mary first sang her great hymn of thanksgiving. Our day will finish with a visit to the Israel Museum, to see a remarkable model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ, and the Shrine of the Book, which tells the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Day 9: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8

We make an early start this morning in the hope of being allowed to ascend the Temple Mount, to get a close look at the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. From here we come to St Anne’s church and the pools of Bethesda, after which we make our way to the Ecce Homo Convent, and after celebrating the Eucharist, we will make our way prayerfully along the Via Dolorosa, until we come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and remember Christ’s death and burial. After lunch, we will drive down to the Jordan Valley, to visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, before having the chance to float in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea itself.

Day 10: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9

On this, our final full day in the Holy Land, we will visit one of the sites associated with biblical Emmaus, the village of Abu Ghosh, where we will pray together as pilgrims one last time. From here, like the two disciples who encountered the risen Christ, we will return to Jerusalem, to enjoy the rest of the day as free time to revisit favorite sites, pray, shop or just rest. Lunch will not be provided today.

Day 11: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10

After breakfast, we leave for the airport to begin our journey back to Philadelphia via Toronto, ready to share with our friends and neighbors all we have learned in the land of the Holy One..

Download pdf brochure