Holy Land Tours & Italy Tour 2019 Israel Trip
Dear Pilgrim: Dear Traveling partner: This journey will afford us a deeper under-standing of the Scriptures and a closer contact with the life of Christ and His mission of redemption. Those who make this journey in the company of friends and others of like mind can look forward to an unforgettable experience. Join us on this wonderful pilgrimage. Michael S. Reilly President Maranatha Tours, Inc.
Holy Land & Italy Itinerary
DAY 1 — Tuesday: NEW YORK / CHICAGO
Tour members are welcomed for our departing flight to Istanbul via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
DAY 2 — Wednesday: TEL AVIV / TIBERIAS
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we are met by our guide who will be with us for the time we are in the Holy Land. Continue through Tel Aviv, the largest city in Israel. We proceed up the new toll road in Israel to the famous Sea of Galilee where we check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 3 – Thursday: SEA OF GALILEE / BET SHEAN
This morning we enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, then visit Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes. In the afternoon we follow the Rift Valley running parallel to the Jordan, along the route Jesus most frequently traveled to Jerusalem. We visit Beth Shean at the foot of Mt. Gilboa, where King Saul was slain, see the evidences of Egyptian, Roman and Byzantine occupations, and view the ancient tel, Roman Theater and church mosaics. Our last stop today will be at the Jordan River where we will have the opportunity to be baptized, then transfer to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
DAY 4 – Friday TIBERIAS / NAZARETH / CAESAREA / JERUSALEM
“We are going up to Jerusalem.” (Matt. 20:18). We drive west to Nazareth. Traveling through Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed his first Miracle, turning water into wine (John 2). We proceed to Nazareth and Ascend Mount of the Precipice at the brow of Nazareth to an overlooking surveying the Valley of Jezreel , synonymous with Armageddon. We then drive through the valley to the mound of Megiddo, Har Megiddo in Hebrew, which gave its name to Armageddon. We then ascend Mt. Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal.
From there we drive towards the Mediterranean coast traveling south along the coastal highway to Caesarea by the Sea. We enter Caesarea Maritima to explore this Roman bridgehead to the east, which became the Christian springboard to the west. After the visit this ancient harbor, we board our bus and we head up the historic Beth Horon road (Joshua 10:10) to the Benjamin Plateau, passing ancient Gibeon and continuing on to Jerusalem. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem. Check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 5 – Saturday: JERUSALEM / MASADA / JERICHO
Today we drive to Masada and ascend by cable car to the magnificent ruins of the fortress where, from 70 to 73 AD, Jewish defenders made their last stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. We see the remains of storehouses, cisterns and a sixth-century Byzantine church. Continuing alongside the Dead Sea, 1300 ft. below sea level — the lowest spot on earth — we proceed to Ein Gedi, where time permitting we will walk the path to see the waterfall in the desert.
This afternoon we continue to Qumran. and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We will have a stop for lunch and for those that want to swim in the Dead Sea may. We travel to Jericho, the world’s oldest city. From the excavated tel atop the ruins of ancient Jericho we view the lush green Jordan Valley, Elisha’s spring and Qarantal, the Mount of Temptation. We will head up to Jerusalem and return to the hotel for dinner.
DAY 6 – Sunday: MT. OF OLIVES / PASSION WALK / SOUTHERN WALL /HERODIUM / SOLOMON’S POOLS / BETHLEHEM
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (Luke 19:42) We start the day with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives with an opportunity of a group photograph overlooking Jerusalem. We then walk the traditional Passion walk. We descend to the church known as Dominus Flevit (“Our Lord weeps”). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text. Boarding our bus (If you want you may walk by the tomb of the kings) and get off at a roman road, where we climb Mt Zion to the grounds of a church called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. (Here, the Assumptions Fathers suggest, was the house where the High Priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus.) We drive to Dung gate and enter where we will stop at the Steps that entered the temple. It was here that Jesus would have taught the disciples. See a video that shows the temple as it was at Solomon’s time.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11). We drive south to the region of Bethlehem, passing Rachel’s Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem. We drive to a hilltop for a view of Bethlehem, noting its relation to the rest of the central mountain range, including Jerusalem, as well as to the desert and the area of ancient Moab. Driving south, we visit Solomon’s Pools, Jerusalem’s main source of water for almost 2000 years. Passing the monastery of Hortus Conclusus (“the sealed garden”) in Artas, we go to Herodion, the palace set in a conical mountain built by Herod to mark his tomb which was in the news lately with the recent discovery of Herod’s Tomb. Note the juxtaposition of the two Kings of the Jews. The King Herod buried in great opulence and the King of the Jews born in a humble manger in Bethlehem sitting in the background of the Herodium. We then drive to one of the possible sites for Shepherds’ Fields. We continue into Bethlehem itself, walking through the restored old town to the Church of the Nativity and visiting the manger and see the cave of St. Jerome. We drive back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 7 – Monday: OLD CITY / TEMPLE MOUNT / VIA DOLOROSA /GARDEN TOMB
“He has risen!” (Mark 16:6) After breakfast we transfer to the Dung Gate, we walk up to the Western Wall Judaism’s holiest site. We ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, located on the traditional site of the ancient Temple Mount. It is believed that here is where the Temple once stood. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, the church is perfectly preserved from the Crusader period – with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) through the bazaars to the Holy Sepulcher. From there we walk through the Christian Quarter along the Arab Souks and past the Armenian Quarter.
This afternoon we will walk out to the Damascus Gate and go to the Garden Tomb where we will end our day with a special visit and the possibility of having a private communion on the grounds outside the city walls. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 – Tuesday: JERUSALEM / ROME
This morning we will have some time to have a last visit to the old city or just rest and get ready for our flight to Rome. This afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flight to Rome. Upon arrival we will be taken to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9 – Wednesday: PAUL’S DAY
This morning we will visit the most interesting sites which are linked with the life of the Apostle Paul in Rome. Insula di San Paolo alla Regola. Tradition has it that Paul used to live in this area during the years of his first imprisonment. Paul worked as a leather tanner. Here Paul met with the first Christians in Rome. 1245, we find the words “In loco qui dicitur Pauli” (In the place called “of Paul”). CHURCH OF SANTA PRISCA. Now Prisca came from a rich Roman family and Aquila, her husband was probably Greek. Paul spent a couple of years with them in Corinth and this is very often mentioned in his Letters and the Book of Acts ( see Rom 16,1-23, Rom 16, 3-5 and Act 18, 1-3).
Visit the church where you can still see the big Doric Capital used by Apostle Peter to baptize Prisca. CATACOMBS OF SAN SEBASTIAN is Located on the Ancient Appian Way, this is the place where the bodies of Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter where kept during the Christian persecution of Valeriano ( 253 – 260 AC) There are a lot of “grafiti” in Latin and Aramaic in the catacombs and in the Basilica of San Sebastian. ABBEY OF THE THREE FOUNTAINS is the place of Paul’s martyrdom, where tradition has it that three different springs gushed out at each spot touched when Paul’s head fell down. ST PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS St. Paul outside the Walls is a Benedictine Abbey which shares its name, origins and centuries of history, both joyful and sorrowful, with the adjoining basilica. Visit the Basilica where the bones of Paul have recently been found and you will leave Rome with the real spirit of first Christians in your mind and in your Heart Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 10 – Thursday: ROME / TREVI FOUNTAIN / VATICAN / SISTINE CHAPEL
This morning we visit the Vatican Museum and Gallery, Raphael’s Rooms with their wonderful frescoes, the Sistine Chapel– where Michelangelo’s recently restored masterpieces adorn the ceilings and walls – and Pincio Garden. We continue into St. Peter’s Basilica and view Vatican City. This afternoon we continue sightseeing of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Navona Square; with its beautiful Bernini’s Fountain of the Rivers. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 11 – Friday: ROME / USA
We transfer to the airport for our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of the earlyChristians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading.