FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE VIRGIN MARY :
A PILGRIMAGE TO ISRAEL AND TURKEY
14 days and 12 nights tour package.
Tour Dates: DECEMBER 6 – 19, 2021.
- TEL AVIV
- NORTWEST, NAZARETH / CANA
- CAPERNAUM – TABGHA – CHURCH OF PRIMACY – MT. BEATITUDES – SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE
- MT. T ABOR – MT . CARMEL
- HAIFA – CAESAREA – JERUSALEM – BETHLEHEM
- BETHLEHEM – JERICHO – QASR EL YAHUD – QUMRAN – DEAD SEA
- BETHLEHEM – EIN KAREM – MT. OF OLIVES
- JERUSALEM OLD CITY – MT. ZION
- BETHLEHEM – DEPARTURE TELAVIV – ARRIVAL ISTANBUL
- ISTANBUL – ISZMIR – KUSADASI
- KUSADASI – IZMIR – ISTANBUL
- FULL DAY ISTANBUL TOUR
This pilgrimage should have at least 30 booked passengers to proceed.
Arrive at Tel Aviv airport and drive to the Galilee and Nazareth. Our first stop will be at the archaeological excavations at Tel Megiddo, the important ancient city from the times of the Canaanites and the kings of Israel, and the prophesied site of Armageddon (Revelations 16:16). Upon entering Nazareth, we will stop at the Chapel of the Virgin Mary's Fright, This chapel has several names: Mary’s fear, Our Lady of the fright, Notre Dame de l’Effroi. It is called after a tradition that Mary, Mother of Jesus, was standing at this spot when her son was led to the edge of the mountain, about to be thrown away, and was frightened (Luke 4 29:). Then enjoy the view of the town and the Jezreel Valley to the east. Transfer to your hotel for check-in, dinner and overnight.
Breakfast inside the hotel then start your tour in Nazareth, the town of the Holy Family, where Jesus spent His childhood. Visit the main sites that commemorate the central events in the life of Mary - the Basilica of Annunciation, where according to the Gospel of Luke, the Church of the Annunciation which was believed to be where the angel Gabriel Announced to the Blessed Mother of Christ which she humbly accepted, "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word", then to St. Joseph's Church, the traditional site of the carpentry workshop; the nearby Franciscan Museum; the Spring of the Virgin Mary (Mary's Well) from which Mary drew water (and the nearby St. Gabriel Church, actual source of the spring); and the Synagogue Church, the church is built on the ruins of the ancient Nazareth synagogue where Jesus studied and prayed. In addition, it is where one Sabbath day Jesus went to preach according to the two Gospels (Matthew 13:54-58, Mark 6:1-6). Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel then drive to Sepphoris, a ruined city 6.5 kilometers northwest of Nazareth, was the capital of Galilee during the time of Jesus. It is also the site of the ancient city that may have been the childhood home of Mary. The rebuilding of the city by Galilee’s ruler, Herod Antipas, may have attracted the building tradesman Joseph and his wife Mary to settle in Nazareth when they returned with Jesus from Egypt. According to tradition, the original home of Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne (or Anna) was here. Visit the Church of Sts. Anne and Joachim, and then tour the excavations and the ancient mosaics in the adjacent National Archaeological Park. Drive to Cana for a visit of the Church of the First Miracle known also as the Marriage Church, here couples will have an opportunity to renew their marriage vows. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel then visit of Capernaum, the fishing village where Jesus called seven of his Disciples and the home of St. Peter and the ancient Synagogue. Visit the nearby Greek Orthodox Church of the Twelve Apostles, and then proceed to Tabgha, the site where Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes; visit the Church of the Loft and Fish Miracle. On the stone which serves as the altar, there is mosaic of basket of loaves flanked by two fish to commemorate this miraculous event. Two hundred yards away is the Church of Primacy, built in1934 in basalt over a massive rock called "Mensa Christi". Here where the Risen Lord appeared to his disciples, prepared breakfast for them and gave St. Peter the pastoral commission, Feed my Sheep (John 21:15-19). Proceed to Mt. of Beatitudes, the traditional site where Jesus uttered the immortal words "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God". (Matthew 5:3-12). Visit the Church and its grounds for private reading of the Sermon on the Mount. Lastly, continue for a boat ride at the Sea of Galilee where Jesus' performed some of His Miracles like when he walked on the water (Mark 6:48). On the cruise, have an opportunity to reflect on the messages of our Lord as we savor the beauty of nature while sailing at the Sea of Galilee. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Breakfast inside the hotel then check-out. Drive to Mt. Tabor and ascend by taxi to the Church of Transfiguration and view of the battlefield of Deborah the Prophetess, Yael and Barak. Descend after and proceed to Yardenit for renewal of baptism. Then drive to Mount Carmel to visit the Monastery of Prophet Elijah at Muhraka, which commemorates the struggle of Elijah against the priests of Ba'al. Transfer to your hotel in Haifa for check-in, dinner and overnight.
Breakfast inside the hotel then check-out. Visit the Monastery of Stella Maris, dedicated to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and the nearby Elijah's Cave where the Holy Family is said to have rested on their way home from Egypt. Then continue south along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to the ancient Herodian city of Caesarea, where Saint Paul was arrested and first tried. Drive up to Jerusalem, stopping at Deir Rafat, the Shrine of the Virgin Mary. Transfer to Bethlehem for check-in, dinner and overnight.
Breakfast at hotel and then check out. Visit Beit She’an, it is a historical gem that unfolds the fascinating story of a rich period full of changes, climaxing in the National Park of Beit She’an to the north of the city. The city has had many conquerors, among them the Egyptians some 3,500 years ago. A few hundred years later, the Philistines conquered it. Beit She’an became part of the kingdoms of David and Solomon, and was eventually destroyed in a fire, apparently at the hands of the King of Assyria. Next, travel south via the Jordan Valley to Jericho, the world’s oldest city conquered by Joshua; a short stop and view the Sycamore Tree. And then to Qasr El Yahud, recalls the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Visit Qumran, the home of first century sect knows as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Stop for a short float on the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth. Continue to hotel for check-in, dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, then drive to Ein Karem, where Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist. The village contains several religious sites including Mary's Spring where she drank from the water; the Church of the Visitation, traditional site of the home of Sts. Elizabeth ard Zachariah; and the Church of St. John the Baptist (which is built over a cave believed to be his birthplace). Breakfast inside the hotel then proceed to the Holy City of Jerusalem with a visit to the Mount Of Olives, for a panoramic view of the city, Ascension Chapel – traditional place where Jesus ascended into heaven; then Paster Noster Church traditionally the site where Jesus taught the disciples how to pray "Our Father"; then Dominus Flevit Church in memory of Jesus weeping over the fate of Jerusalem, walk at the Palm Sunday route down the hill to the Garden of Gethsemane for an intercessory prayer; it was here where Jesus spent His last night before He was arrested. Visit the Church of All Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane. Transfer back to Bethlehem and proceed to Shepherds Field, you will see a cave where shepherds “kept watch over their flock” abound in the area east of Bethlehem. Here, the Gospel of Luke tells us, an angel announced the birth of Jesus. Visit The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, a major Christian holy site, as it marks the traditional place of Christ's birth. Here you will find the Grotto of Nativity, Altar of Christ's Birth and Manger's Square. In the afternoon, tour of Ein Karem the birthplace of St. John the Baptist (now the Church of St. John the Baptist) and the Church of Visitation where Mary came after the angel Gabriel informed her cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant despite her advance years. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast. Early morning proceeds for a morning tour of Jerusalem’s Old City, starting from the St. Stephen's Gate (the Lion's Gate), stopping at St. Anne's Church – regarded as the birthplace of the Virgin Mary and the home of St. Anne and Joachin, the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus told the lame man to take up his bed and walk. Reflect while following the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – the burial place and resurrection of Jesus. It was built over the site of the place called Golgotha, which means "a place of skull". Drive to Nearby Mount Zion and visit the Last Supper's Room and the Tomb of King David. Visit the Dormition Abbey – traditionally the site where the Virgin Mary slept last; and St. Peter's Church in Gallicantu – traditional site where St. Peter denied Jesus for 3 times. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Breakfast inside the hotel then check-out. Then transfer to Tel Aviv Airport for your flight to Istanbul. Arrival Istanbul meet and assist then transfer to your hotel for check-in and overnight.
Breakfast inside the hotel then the check-out (group will leave their big luggage at the hotel) then proceed to Istanbul Airport to catch a flight to Izmir. Upon arrival in Izmir drive to Selcuk and continue to the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the Seven Churches of revelation. Ephesus was an ancient port city whose well-preserved ruins are in modern-day Turkey. The city was once considered the most important Greek city and the most important trading center in the Mediterranean region. Throughout history, Ephesus survived multiple attacks and changed hands many times between conquerors. It was also a hotbed of early Christian evangelism and remains an important archaeological site and Christian pilgrimage destination. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary and celebrate mass. It was here where she is believed to have spent her last years. On August 18, 1961, Pope John XXI proclaimed the House of the Virgin to be sacred. Take holy water from the sacred spring. Visit the ruins of the Basilica of St. John who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote the Gospel. Ephesus was undoubtedly one of the most important commercial and cultural centers of the ancient world. Impressive structures we see are the remains of the Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian, Theater Odeon, the ancient Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. " then drive to Kusadasi, one of the oldest holiday resorts in Turkey for check-in, dinner and overnight.
Breakfast inside the hotel then check-out and transfer to Izmir Airport to catch a flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival to Istanbul proceed and visit the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit alternatively known as the St. Esprit Cathedral, it is one of the principal Catholic churches in Istanbul and built in Baroque style in 1846. Afterwards proceed for a visit to The Kariye Mosque (Chora museum), or the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, is a medieval Greek Orthodox church used as a mosque today in the Edirnekapı neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey. At last, we will browse around the exciting Grand Bazaar, a maze of over 4000 tiny shops selling gold, jewelry, leather work and fine carpets. Rest is free for leisure. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel then check-out and continue for Istanbul city tour. We will see its unusual combination of Greek Orthodox, Roman Ottoman and modern-day Islam. We will visit the St. Sophia Mosque, one of the great architectural marvels of the ancient world. Continue on to the Hippodrome, the sportive and political center of the Old City and the famed Blue Mosque, facing St. Sophia, famous for its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. We will also visit the fascinating Topkapi Palace housing the many priceless treasures and colorful stories of Ottoman Sultans. Celebrate mass at Church of St. Anthony of Padua then proceed for last minute shopping until transfer to Istanbul Airport to catch a flight back home.
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