ORTHODOX – 9 DAYS
Day 1 – Arrival, Jaffa and Approaching Galilee
Head to Tel Aviv – the commercial Capital of Israel, then, it’s on to Old Jaffa the ancient seaport mentioned in the biblical narrative of Jonah and the whale, and in the story of Solomon’s import of the cedars of Lebanon. Jaffa’s fishing port, Saint Peter’s Church, Home of Simon the Tanner, artists quarter, and panoramic view of Tel Aviv.
Drive to Caesarea National Park, for a short visit to the Aqueduct.
Continue to visit the beautiful City of Haifa, ascend Mount Carmel is famous for its connection to the life of the Prophet Elijah, also known as Elias, to enjoy a panoramic view over the Bay, and the Hanging Gardens of the Baha’i’ Shrine, on top of the mountain the Church Stella Maris, which houses a cave associated with the prophet.
Drive to Nazareth to your hotel for welcome dinner and overnight for 3 nights!
Day 2 – Holy Central Galilee
Drive to Cana, is famous for being the site of Jesus’ first miracle, the transformation of water into wine at a wedding feast, to visit the Greek Orthodox Church of Wedding (Church of the First Miracle).
To Mount Tabor, has played an important role in the history of this area since very early times. It is the site of the “transfiguration”. “And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah” (Luke 9: 29- 30).
On the outskirts of Nazareth located the Mountain of Precipice, where the people of Nazareth pursued Jesus and where Mary quake with fear until she saw Him emerge unharmed.
Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation – Nazareth, is famous as the site of the great miracle of the Announcement to see Mary’s Well where the Blessed Virgin Mary received the annunciation of the “incarnation of the word”: “And the angel said to her, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Here we see frescoes of all the main Orthodox Saints, with a fascinating architectural and historical background.
Continue to visit the Synagogue Church and the Ancient Market.
Day 3 – Northwards to the Sea of Galilee and Jesus’ Miracles
The Mount of Beatitudes is a breathtaking site overlooking the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, this is where Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5).
Greek Orthodox Church – Tabgha, not far from Capernaum.
Tabgha an Arabic corruption of the Greek name Heptapegon (Seven Springs) is the site of the Church of the Multiplication and site of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes: “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted” (John 6: 11). Also at Tabgha is The Church of Saint Peter’s Primacy where Jesus instructed Peter to “feed my sheep” (John 21: 15-17).
Capernaum – situated on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum is mentioned several times in the Gospels, as the scene of many miracles and sermons, home to Jesus Galilean ministry, see the new church built on Saint Peter’s House. See the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles, with its lovely pink domes and a setting overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
We celebrate the Divine Liturgy in this peaceful spot, then we sail across the Sea of Galilee!
Day 4 – Jericho the World Oldest City, Dead Sea the lowest on Planet
Drive through the Jordan Valley until you reach Jericho, view the Mount of Temptation, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). Continue to the Baptism site beside the Jordan River.
Then we proceed to the unique Dead Sea the lowest point on Earth and mentioned several times in the Old Testament, also for the unusual landscape of salt crystals spread along its shores, where we will have an opportunity to float in the saline waters.
Say farewell to Jericho on your way to Bethlehem via the mysterious Judean Desert!
Overnight in Bethlehem for 5 nights.
Day 5 – Following Jesus in Jerusalem, Holy and Great
Discover Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus!
Visit the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem. 4000 years of history and the place where Jesus sacrificed himself for our salvation.
Visit the Chapel of the Ascension: “And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
Paternoster Church -named after the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples: “Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” (Matt. 6:9-13).
Walk down the Palm Sunday Road, stopping at the beautiful Russian Orthodox Church – Mary Magdalene Cathedral. Light a candle with a prayer in the Tomb of Holy Mother!
Walkthrough the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30) ), see the Grotto of Agony, visit Church of Agony, also called the Church of All Nations, home to some magnificent mosaics depicting the Agony of Jesus. According to tradition, the Rock of Agony lies inside the church.
Across the Kidron Valley to Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu is built on the house of the High Priest Caiaphas: “Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered” (Matthew 26:57), where Jesus was imprisoned for a night, where the Apostle Saint Peter denied Jesus three times after his arrest.
Experience an inspiring visit to Mount Zion, is the site of some very important events in the Gospel, including the actual Room of the Last Supper where “… he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:19-20).
Day 6 – Bethlehem, Where it all Began… and Ein Karem
Bethlehem – the Birth Place of Jesus, has been a prime destination for Christian pilgrims for centuries. The main site in Bethlehem is the Church of Nativity on Manger Square (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-7), built over the Milk Grotto where Jesus was born.
Visit Monastery of Saint Theodosius and Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas Convent (Mar Saba) founded in the 5th century by Monk Saba. Continue with the famous Shepherds’ Fields Chapel (Luke 2:8-20).
Church of the Nativity – we have Holy Liturgy in the Church of the Nativity.
Explore Chapel of Saint Jerome – tour the Monastery of Prophet Elias.
Drive to Ein Karem, southwest of Jerusalem a serene, picturesque Jerusalem suburb, is also home to the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist then to see Gorny Russian Orthodox Convent and Greek Orthodox Churches.
Day 7 – Following the Path to the Crucifixion
Enter the Old City of Jerusalem via Zion Gate and see the Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount, the holiest Jewish site in the world. The Pool of Bethesda is where Jesus healed an infirm.
Saint Anne’s Church (Birth Place of Mary), Chapel of Flagellation, located on the site of the former Roman Praetorian – the place where Jesus was judged, the Roman soldiers scourged Him, after that He was convicted to death, this is also the First Station on the Cross Road, then continue with the Ecce Homo Arch.
Literally follow in the footsteps of Jesus as he walked down the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows, to the Prison of Jesus and retrace the final hours of Jesus’ life as we pass the Stations of the Cross. Continue along the Via of Jesus until you reach the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of Jesus Crucifixion and Resurrection. We climb the stairs to reach Golgotha – the place of Crucifixion.
The main altar here is in the care of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchy. Then we are actually led into the Holy Tomb – the place of Resurrection, guarded by Greek Orthodox Monks. Take a moment in this Holy Place to feel the spirit engulf you and appreciate all that Jesus has given you and your loved ones.
Going on the Armenian Patriarchate Street, in the Armenian neighborhood, we see the Monastery of Saint Jacob, in whose courtyard there is the Saint James Cathedral, after which we exit through the Jaffa Gate.
Day 8 – Free day in Jerusalem. personalize your day and night
Day 9 – Departure to Ben Gurion Airport for international flight back home
Say “farewell” and remember…
you are very welcome anytime!