It is better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times
The term Holy Land refers to areas of Palestine and Israel that have great historical and religious value. From the early years of Christianity, pious pilgrims realised the religious importance of Israel & Palestine and began to establish regular pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Even after the fall of Jerusalem by the Arabs, the pilgrims continued to gather and worship.
On trips with the title “Holy Land” we visit the places related to the life, teaching, miracles, passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the same time, the whole region breathes life, belief & hope and narrates the stories of the forefathers of Christ preached in the Old Testament.
References to the Holy Land are found in Jewish biblical and rabbinic literature and later in Christian tradition. As the dwelling place of the divine presence, the Holy Land has been the location of pilgrimage sites since the era of the Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century.
The area is also holy to Muslims because it is home to important shrines associated with the prophet Muhammad and the early days of Islam, including Islam’s third holiest mosque, in Jerusalem.
Day 1: Arrival - Tel Aviv - Jerusalem
Arrival at ‘Ben Gurion’ Airport at Tel Aviv, meeting and orientation with our representatives. Transfer to Jerusalem at the Church of the Resurrection of our Lord (Holy Sepulchre), where we will venerate the Holy and Life-Giving Tomb of Christ (Aedicule), the Orthodox Catholicon, the Stone of Anointing, the Chapel of Golgotha, The Chapel of Adam, Greek Chapel of the Derision (Crowning of the Thorns), the Chapel of the Invention of the Holy Cross and the Chapel of St. Longinus. Free time in the Old City. Transfer to our hotel, check-in, dinner, overnight rest.
Day 2: Nazareth - Cana - Mount Tabor - Sea of Galilee - Capernaum - Tiberias
Breakfast and departure for a full day visit to the north parts of the Holy Land. In Nazareth we’ll visit the Orthodox Church of Annunciation. Next visit is at the Orthodox Monastery of St. George in Cana of Galilee, containing the stone jars where Christ performed His first miracle of transforming water into wine. We continue to the Orthodox Church at the top of Mount Tabor, where the scene of Christ’s Transfiguration took place. Afterwards, we’ll transfer to the Sea of Galilee where Christ performed most of His miracles, gathered His Disciples and preached. Next station is the Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Apostles, located on an idyllic lakeside place, next to the ruins of ancient Capernaum. Our final station is on the lakeside Orthodox Monastery of the Twelve Apostles, located on the southern end of the promenade of Tiberias town. Late in the evening we transfer to our hotel having our dinner and overnight rest.
Day 3: Gethsemane - Via Dolorosa - Patriarchal See - St Constantine and Helene
Breakfast and transfer to Gethsemane. We will visit the Church of the Sepulchre of St. Mary (Tomb of the Virgin Mary) in the Grotto of Gethsemane, the nearby Roman-Catholic Church of All Nations, containing the bedrock where Christ prayed on the night prior to His Crucifixion (Rock of Agony) and the Orthodox Church and Stoning Place of St. Stephan. We carry on to the Old City of Jerusalem. We will walk Via Dolorosa and see the Stations of the Cross up to the horrific Golgotha (Calvary) located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Day 4: Bethany - Wadi Qelt - Jordan River - St Gerasimus - Jericho - Mount of Temptation
Breakfast and departure for the city of Bethany, where we will visit the Orthodox Monastery of Martha and Maria. Our next station is on the Orthodox Monastery of St. George the Hozevite, located on the spectacular site of Wadi Qelt (believed to be Psalm 23’s Valley of the Shadow). We visit the Jordan River on the actual-real place (Qasr el Yahud) that Christ was baptised by St John the Baptist-Forerunner, where a celebration of the Lesser Sanctification of the Water will be performed accompanied by an optional symbolic ‘baptism’ of pilgrims. Our next station is on the Orthodox Monastery of Abba Gerasimus of the Jordan (Deir Hajla). We continue to Jericho, where we’ll visit the Orthodox Monastery of Prophet Elishaand afterwards, we’ll visit the spectacular Orthodox Monastery of the Temptation (Sarantarion), built on the slopes of the Mount of Temptation.
Day 5: Zion - Monasteries
Breakfast and transfer on the Mount Zion, where we will visit the King David’s Tomb, situated in a ground floor corner of the remains of the former Orthodox Church of Hagia Zion and its upper pert, know us the Cenacle (Hyperoon), where took place the Last Supper and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostle on the day of the Pentecost. We will complete our visits on this area with the Roman-Catholic Abbey of the Dormition, where took place the Assumption of Theotokos. Continue to the area around Holy Sepulchre, where we will visit the Orthodox Monasteries of Theotokos Saidnaya (a dependency of the Orthodox Monastery in Syria), St. Euthymius the Great, Great Theotokos (hosting the tomb of St Melania the Younger), Saint John the Forerunner-Baptist, and Saints Theodore of Amasea (Tyron) and Stratelates. Free time near Holy Sepulchre and late on the evening transfer to our hotel. Dinner and overnight rest.
Day 6: Bethlehem - Mar Saba - Nablus
In early morning we will attend the Orthodox Mass in the Grotto of the Nativity, where Christ was born. Afterwards, we will see the surrounding 6th century Church of Nativity and the Orthodox Chapel of the Innocents, commemorating the children killed by Herod. We’ll return to our hotel for breakfast and later on we’ll visit the adjacent Orthodox Monastery of Shepherds, build next to the ruins of pre-existing 6th-century monastery and containing the cave where the Shepherds observed the Angels praising-celebrating the Birth of Christ. Our next station is on the Orthodox Monastery of St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch, founded on the 5th-century, and containing the cave where the Three Magi took shelter. We continue for the spectacular 5th-century Orthodox Holy Laura of Hosios Savvas the Consecrated (Mar Saba), where men (women’s entrance is restricted) will have the opportunity to observe and venerate the significant sites and St Sabbas’ tomb and relic. Our last station is on the city of Nablus in Samaria, where we will visit the Orthodox Monastery of St. Photini. Transfer to our hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7: Saint Symeon - Holy Cross - Agros - Mount of Olives - Ein Karem – All Night Vigil
Breakfast and visit the Orthodox Monastery in Katamon (Gonen) area. We continue to the 11th century Orthodox Monastery of Holy Cross, where according to the tradition grew the tree that gave its wood to the cross on which Christ was crucified. Transfer to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where Christ made one of His appearances to his Disciples after His Resurrection and eventually Ascent into Heavens. We’ll then visit the Orthodox Monastery of Minor Galilee and the Orthodox Monastery of Accession and the place from where Christ ascended on Heavens (know a mosque).. Transfer to our hotel, dinner and near midnight transfer to the Holy Sepulcher to attend the Orthodox All-Night Vigil. Return to our hotel for rest.
Day 8: Jaffa - Lod - Airport
Late breakfast, check-out and transfer to Jaffa, the old Tel Aviv. We will visit the Orthodox Monastery of Archangels where in the old days the pilgrims use to arrive/depart by sea. Free time to relax and take in the beautiful sceneries. We will visit the monastery of St. George where the tomb of St. George (Patron Saint of England) is kept. Arrive at ‘Ben Gurion’ Airport at Tel Aviv. Return Flight home.