Ten-Day Living Stones Itinerary
This itinerary focuses on the people of the Holy Land (they are the living stones.) You will have the opportunity to reflect on the gospel stories, enjoy the experience, meet the Christians in the Holy Land and share in their work and witness.
Day 1 Arrival in Ben Gurion airport, where you will be met by our local guide and driver. Drive to a hotel in Nazareth for a two nights stay.
Day 2 Visit the Church of Annunciation, where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced to her the birth of Jesus Christ. Visit Mary’s well and St. Joseph’s workshop. Before lunch, pass by the Nazareth Village, a replica of Nazareth in Jesus’ time where there is an opportunity to have a biblical meal and help out in traditional bread-making. In the afternoon, visit the Church of the Wedding in Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle when He turned the water into wine.
Day 3 Drive to Mount Tabor where you visit the Church of the transfiguration. Afterwards, drive to Haifa. Visit Muhraqa, the site of Elijah’s challenge with the prophets of Ba’al. Next visit is to the Church of Stella Maris. In the afternoon, go Ibillin where we meet Fr. Elias Chacour, a Melkite priest who works on promoting peace through co-existence between Jews, Moslems and Christians in his special college. You finish the day by the Sea of Galilee where you will stay the next two nights.
Day 4 This morning, you will visit the Sea of Galilee. The day starts with a boat ride across the lake. Visit the Church of Capernaum, where you will see the house of St. Peter and the Synagogue where Jesus taught. The Church of Tabgha, the site of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes is the next visit. Next drive to the Church of Mount Beatitudes, the site of the Sermon on the Mount. In the afternoon, travel to Upper Galilee to visit Banias, the site of Caesarea Philippi. Continue to the Golan Heights to visit the Syrian Druze Village of Majdal Shams where we can visit the shouting mountain “Tel el siyah” where families on each side of the border (Israeli/Syrian) speak out in loudspeakers to enquire about each other as they are not able to visit or speak to each other on the phone.
Day 5 Drive to Bethlehem via the Mediterranean Coast. Call on Caesarea, built by Herod the Great and the site where St. Paul was imprisoned. Next visit is to Newe Shalom, a model village where Jews, Moslems, and Christians live together. There will be an opportunity to have lunch with the locals of Newe Shalom. In the afternoon, continue to Bethlehem where you will stay the next two nights.
Day 6 Start the day in Bethlehem where you will visit the Church of the Nativity where Mary and Joseph took shelter and Jesus Christ was born, then to the shepherds’ field where the star appeared to the shepherds and lead them to the Manger. Visit the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation who's goal is to improve the quality of life of the Palestinian population, particularly people with disability. In the afternoon, you drive to Ein Karem to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Visitation where Mary visited Elizabeth when she was pregnant.
Day 7 Leave Bethlehem and drive to Jerusalem. Start the day by visiting the Mount of Olives. You can visit the Ascension mosque where Jesus ascended into heaven, on to the Church of Pater Noster to see the “Our father” tiles in many languages. Walk to the Church of Dominus Flevit “God Wept”, where Jesus cried over Jerusalem. Walk down the Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations, you visit the Rock of Agony which Jesus prayed at before the Roman soldiers came to take him. This afternoon, go to Mount Zion and visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu “House of Caiaphas” where Peter denied Jesus three times. You will also stand in the room of the Last Supper and visit the Dormition Abbey where Mary went into eternal sleep. Transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem, your home for the last three nights.
Day 8 This morning you will walk through the lanes of the Old City of Jerusalem. Start with the Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Continue to St. Anne’s Church and the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus cured the lame. Walk the Via Dolorosa starting with the Ecce Homo, the Chapel of Flagellation and through the stations of the cross reaching the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus Christ was crucified, died and rose from the dead. In the afternoon, drive to the village of Bethany to see the Tomb of Lazarus. There is also an opportunity to visit the orphanage of Jeel Al Amal Boys Home and the Lazarus Project for Girls in Bethany.
Day 9 Drive to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea area. Visit the caves of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Continue to a beach where you have the opportunity to swim (float) in the Dead Sea. In the afternoon you drive to Jericho and take a cable car up to the Mount of Temptation. Drive back to Jerusalem passing by Wadi Qelt to view St. George’s Desert Monastery.
Day 10 Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for departure. Albina Tours staff will be with you for assistance.
Optional Extra Day:
The day is spent with Sabeel, an ecumenical grassroots liberation movement among Palestinian Christians. The program is called “The contemporary way of the Cross” which starts with a visit to a refugee camp and a settlement. You will also see demolished homes and confiscated lands. Continue to visit 1948 villages “Lifta, Deir Yassin and Ein Karem” where the Palestinians were forced to abandon their homes. There is a possibility to view the separation wall being build in Palestinian lands for the purpose of separating the West Bank from Israel.
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