Pictures from Israel

The Holy Land

Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

Israel, Palestine and Jordan

Led by:

The Rev. Dr. Kurt Gerhard
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church
Washington DC


The Rev. Jeffrey MacKnight
St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church
Bethesda, MD

April 21 – May 2, 2014

Trip map

The group will have the opportunity to meet with Israelis and Palestinians to hear about the ongoing struggles and efforts at peace in the Holy Land.  There will also be opportunities for renewal of Baptismal vows and Holy Eucharist during the journey.

DAY 1: Monday, April 21, 2014 - Depart Washington, DC for our flight to Frankfurt where we connect to our final flight to Tel Aviv. M

DAY 2: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - “Our Pilgrimage in this Holy Land begins”:  We meet our guide for the Holy Land, we travel to Caesarea on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea for dinner and overnight. MD

DAY 3: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - “The tyranny of Rome: the Jesus movement in political context”:  Herod’s City-Caesarea; Haifa; The Majesty of Carmel; Armageddon; Nazareth. . . . to the Sea of Galilee.  We head north toward Caesarea, once capital of the Roman province, where we visit the Roman and Crusader remains and the harbor from which St. Paul was taken prisoner to Rome.  We continue along the coast to Haifa and then move toward Mt. Carmel (Is. 35:2), a symbol of strength, beauty and fertility for OT prophets.  Traditionally, Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal is located at Muhraqa (‘the sacrifice’), a peak offering a spectacular view of the Jezreel Valley.  Legend portrays this area as the stage for the final battle of history:  Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). The excavations at Megiddo have uncovered a fortified city built by Solomon (1 Kgs. 9:15).  We continue to Nazareth, home of the Basilica of the Annunciation.  We see Cana, site of the first miracle where Jesus turned the water into wine before we depart for Tiberias for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 4: Thursday, April 24, 2014 - “Jesus’ roots:  growing up in Galilee”:  The Sea; On the Boat; Capernaum; Tabgha; Mount of Beatitudes; Caesarea Philippi; Mt. Hermon.  We take a boat on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum where we walk in the ancient synagogue and see St. Peter’s house.  We visit Tabgha to view the mosaic of the Loaves and Fishes and Peter’s Primacy.  We have a special lunch of St. Peter’s Fish and then move to the Mount of Beatitudes to rehear the Sermon on the Mount.  We continue to the springs of Banias (Mt. 16:13) where Peter said:  “Thou are Christ.”  We walk along the mouth of the Jordan River and reach the foot of Mt. Hermon before returning to Tiberias for dinner and overnight. BLD

DAY 5: Friday, April 25, 2014 - “Joining Jesus in the wilderness”:  Today we visit the site of the Transfiguration, Mt. Tabor.  We celebrate Holy Eucharist on the mountain and then follow the footsteps that Jesus and his family would have taken as they made their way from Galilee to Jerusalem through the Biblical lands of Samaria.  The road passes through Biblical sites:  Nob, Gibeah, Ramah, Beeroth, Bethel, Shiloh and Jenin, where tradition holds that Jesus cured the 10 lepers (Luke 17:11).  We proceed to ancient Sebastia, a Hellenistic city where John the Baptist, was beheaded at the birthday party of Herod Antipas (Mark 6:17).  We will have lunch at Sebastia and then, conditions permitting, visit and drink from Jacob’s Well (Gen. 33:18), where Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for a drink promising her “living water” (John 4).  We may also stop at Mt Gerizim where the Samaritan community still live and have their synagogue.  Then, on to Jerusalem where we go to the Mt. of Olives in order to orient ourselves before continuing to our hotel for dinner and overnight.. BLD

DAY 6: Saturday, April 26, 2014 - “The Judean Wilderness”:  We drive along the Dead Sea to Masada and ride the cable car to the top of this mountain fortress originally built as a palace complex by Herod the Great.  We drive to Ein Gedi for a walk to a spectacular oasis/waterfall where David hid from Saul; then on to the Essene Center at Qumran, overlooking the Dead Sea.  We then proceed to Jericho, the oldest human settlement in the world.  From the vantage point of the site in Jericho we have a spectacular view of the “Mt. of Temptation”.  We can take the cable car half way up the Mountain and see the Monastery, clinging onto the mountainside.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

DAY 7: Sunday, April 27, 2014 - “Emmanuel: God with us in incarnation, healing, prayer and sacrament”:  We drive to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field.  Then we go for early lunch at Two Mustaches, a wonderful Arab restaurant.  In the afternoon we return to Jerusalem and follow the Palm Sunday route from the Mt. of Olives.  We will view the Temple Mount from our walk and celebrate Holy Eucharist in a private garden at Gethsemane.  From there we go to St. Mark’s Syrian Orthodox Church, possible site of the Upper Room.  We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. BLD

DAY 8: Monday, April 28, 2014 - The Passion – Jesus suffers with us:  Via Dolorosa, Stations of the Cross; Cave of the Olive Press; Kidron Valley to the House of Caiaphas. We have a very early departure from our hotel to the entrance of the Old City where we walk the Via Dolorosa, winding through the busy markets of the Old City and praying at the Stations of the Cross.  We end our walk at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, scene of the Crucifixion and site of the Tomb.  We walk to the Temple Mount Dig, to the Western Wailing Wall and the Jewish Quarter.  Then to St. Anne’s Church, standing on a property facing the Temple Mount just as it was built by the crusaders.  Inside we find ourselves singing (the acoustics are glorious).  Nearby, we visit excavations which speak to us of Jesus’ healing at the “pool with the five porticos”.  We will visit the Garden Tomb before our dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. BD

DAY 9: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - “You shall be my witness…to the ends of the earth.”  We cross the Allenby Bridge into Jordan and visit Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the site considered by many to be where Jesus was baptized by John.  Here, we will reconfirm our Baptismal vows.  We will continue to Madaba to see the mosaic of the Old City of Jerusalem and then visit Mt. Nebo where God showed Moses the Promised Land.  We travel on the Desert Highway to Petra for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 10: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - “The Jesus Movement in historical context”:  Petra was a great city that spanned history from Moses to Jesus and beyond, influenced by various empires rising and falling, and finally diminished under the Romans, as Jerusalem was.  Today we explore the Red Rose City of Petra which some historians equate with Sela (rock), a town in which the Israelites had a famous victory over the local Edomites.  According to Arab tradition, Petra is the spot where Moses (Musa) struck a rock with his staff and water came forth and where Moses brother, Aaron (Harun) is buried at Mt. Hor known today as Jabal Haroun or Mount Aaron.  We will see the Treasury, carved in pink stone, and continue past the Roman Theatre, the Corinthian Tomb and Palace Tomb.  As we continue we see the theatre, the Roman Soldier Tomb, the Columbarium and much more as we make our way to the High Place of Sacrifice located at the top of Jabal Mount.  The High Place of Sacrifice is considered to be the oldest major cultic facility in Petra.  We visit the museum and, for those who take the 60 minute walk to the Monastery, they will be rewarded with the best sites in Petra.  Dinner and overnight at Petra. BD

DAY 11: Thursday, May 1, 2014 - “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all the nations begininning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things…”  We will depart Petra and drive back to Amman visiting Jerash and sites in Amman.  We will have a “farewell dinner” and reflect on our journey and how we can be “witnesses of these things.”  We drive directly to the airport for preparation for departure. BD

DAY 12: Friday, May 2, 2014 - Board a 2:45 AM flight to Frankfurt for a connection into Dulles. M

Pricing for this pilgrimage will be available after June 30, 2013.

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, M Meals on aircraft

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.

Note that Israel is a physically demanding destination.  Good shoes and some preparing for the trip on the stair master are invaluable aids to a healthy and happy pilgrimage.