|The Final Photograph from the Rector|
|The Rector's little icon of the Theotokos, a gift from the Archbishop, had to be specially x-rayed as the block on which it is mounted is very thick. It is raining in Israel but the water seen here, at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv, is a feature, not a leak.|
|One last look back at some of the Pilgrims|
|(Photo: Michael Jones)|
|The Rector, (still) in the Holy Land|
|The Rector has remained in Jerusalem for the weekend. He went again to Vespers at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.||Surprisingly, Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (in gold vestments) was the officiant. He was the View Day preacher at SBG last May.|
|On Sunday morning at 0700 the Rector went to the Greek Orthodox liturgy. Archbishop Theophanis was officiating at the throne.||This is the Archbishop, who met your pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchre.|
|The reading of one of the lessons.||The reading of the Gospel.|
|The Archbishop preaching from the throne.||Just before the concluding blessing.|
|After the liturgy, the Archbishop is escorted through the streets of the Old City back to the Patriarchate.|
|Day 10 – Thursday: The Last Day & Day of Return|
|Packed and breakfasted, your pilgrims supervised the loading of their cases, and set out in the red coach to Caesarea. Here they discuss the marvel that is a Roman aqueduct.||Then there was the question of how to get home. Ian and Graham gaze at the Mediterranean Sea.|
|Was Fr Mark collecting a message or leaving one?||The aqueduct ensured the water supply to Herod the Great's new city.|
|These are the 13th century Crusader walls. Once the Muslims re-conquered it, Caesarea was an unoccupied ruin until the 20th century.||Parts have been rebuilt. It looks like Aston Webb's work.|
|There are ruins everywhere - remains of the theatre, hippodrome, baths, and temples.||The pilgrims were fascinated!|
|Riyadh, our driver, is ready for the last part of our pilgrimage.||And the pilgrims boarded the red bus for the journey to Tel Aviv airport and the flight to London.|
|Day 9 – Wednesday, Second Week|
|We started the day with a visit to the little church of Mensa Domini on the seashore at the spot where Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, inviting them to a breakfast that he had prepared. Then we went to Capernaum, where Johnny again gave us the benefit if his knowledge.||These pillars come from the 4th century synagogue, built over the synagogue where Jesus taught.|
|The synagogue was built of expensive white stone brought from a distance. It contrasts with the dark basalt used to build houses and shops.||Churchwarden Ian Kelly contemplates the remains of the synagogue.|
|Johnny is an Arab Christian, a Greek Catholic, who has a thorough knowledge of the Bible, the country and the historical sites.||The modern church has beautiful carved panels.|
|We celebrated the Eucharist as another outdoor altar overlooking the sea and in the grounds of this Benedictine church dedicated to the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.||The Byzantine church on the site was destroyed by the Persians in the 7th century and was lovingly rebuilt in the late 20th century.|
|Rector and Churchwarden both admired the corona over the sanctuary and thought it could look very nice on another church....||Lunch near to the church of the Beatitudes was followed by a group photograph, taken by Johnny.|
|Then we went to visit this lovely church - we were rather noisy and a diminutive sister told us firmly and loudly to be quiet.||Not all our pilgrims come from SBG. Here Marion finds a moment for quiet prayer in the modern church built over a Byzantine church which was itself built over Peter's mother-law's house, where the early Christian Community had gathered.|
|And then we sailed across the Sea of Galilee....||Here are the pilgrims on board and trying not to think about returning to London on Thursday.|
|Finally for today, four pictures taken by Pilgrim Ann Jones,
who visited the tiny early 11th century church of St Peter just off the sea front in Tiberius
|Day 8 – Tuesday, Second Week|
|Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee at 0600. The pilgrims are preparing for a busy day.||Our first visit was to Mount Tabor, traditional scene of the Transfiguration.|
|There were many pilgrim groups on the mountain, both catholic and orthodox. Here Mass is being celebrated at the lower altar.||The impressive basilica was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1964; he was the first pope to visit the Holy Land.|
|Then your pilgrims went off to learn about life in Nazareth at the time of Jesus. We saw an olive tree hundreds of years old and laden with olives.||We learned how and why to separate sheep from goats.|
|We learned about tomb burial.||And about pressing the olives...|
|We found a local man, Joseph, by name, in the carpenter's shop.||And we watched him at work, with plane and lathe.|
|Hannah the weaver shared her craft with us.||We were amazed by her skill and dexterity.|
|Hannah at work.||And we saw a reconstruction of a first century synagogue.|
|Perhaps this should have been in Bethlehem...||And ended with hot fresh bread at lunch.|
|Then we went to the church of the Annunciation to Mary, read the Gospel of the Feast and said the Angelus.||We ended with a visit to the well where according to orthodox tradition, Mary went to draw water and there encountered the angel.|
|Day 7 – Monday, Second Week|
|We left Jerusalem on Monday and headed first to Bethany. Here Johnny, our guide, explains the raising of Lazarus.||The tomb of Lazarus could have been entered from within the Byzantine church built on the site in the 4th century. Here is part of the original floor of that church, which was destroyed in the 7th century.|
|This is the rock of temptation within the Greek Orthodox monastery church.||This tree in Jericho is a descendant of the one that Zacchaeus climbed in order to see Jesus.|
|Johnny in charge as pilgrims board the cable cars to take them swiftly up to the mount of the temptation.||This is the view looking down on historic Jericho, partly excavated by Kathleen Kenyon.|
|Next we went to visit the school that we supported earlier in the year through the Rector's sponsored walk. It combines boarding, for 80 orphan boys, and day schooling for some 200 boys and girls. Here your pilgrims are in the computer room, funded by the McCabe Travel Trust.||It is thought that Jesus took refuge in this cave during his forty days in the wilderness.|
|We were welcomed by the church's friendly doorkeeper.||The monastery clings to the face of the mountain.|
After this we went to the site of the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan and then came north to the Sea of Galilee.
|Day 6 – Sunday|
|Sunday has been a day of variety for your pilgrims with no group events. Some went to Masada and the Dead Sea. Some went to the Temple Mount. Others went to liturgies - Coptic, Orthodox in Greek and in Arabic, Armenian and, of course, Anglican. The Rector, after attending the Orthodox Liturgy (for the local Arabic-speaking community), revisited the Holy Sepulchre and took these photographs.|
|You never know who you might encounter on the streets of the Old City.||Pilgrims linger over lunch at Saint George's Guest House.|
The Rector encountered this ancient Egyptian cat in the garden of the National Library of Israel.
|Day 5 – Saturday, First Week|
|Our day started with a celebration of the Eucharist at the Shepherds' Fields (this photo was taken by Ann Jones)||Kyung Ae Kelly seeks the perfect photo.|
|We celebrated Christ's birth as we visited the church at the Shepherds' Fields and at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.||Shopping is an important part of pilgrimage, it seems. Here we are listening to the head of a co-operative of Christian families explain the quality of their products.|
|Your pilgrims in the light of the Nativity? Actually they are waiting eagerly for the moment of descent into the stable grotto beneath the basilica, which is undergoing major restoration hence the scaffolding.||A brief moment in the grotto.|
|We caught a glimpse of the Armenians as they sang Vespers.||Also in the caves beneath Bethlehem is that where S. Jerome lived and in which he spent long years translating the Bible into Latin.|
|This bambino has an annual outing!
||Remnants of the Crusader cloister.|
|Fr Mark - no stranger to cloisters!
||We could have two competitions - one for funny signs and another for religious sentimentality. Sacred kitsch abounds here.|
|There is something for everyone. The Rector took this photo at a glorious service of Vespers at the Russian Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.
||Here a very elderly bishop reads the Gospel in Church Slavonic and a devout congregation showed the amazing Russian ability to stand for hours during sublime worship.|
|Day 4 – Friday, First Week|
|We started our day at the St John Eye Hospital. We received a very warm welcome and, after an introductory talk, we toured the hospital which provides services that are essential to eye care in the West Bank territories, Gaza and Hebron.||We were impressed by the hospital's mission statement, and we presented our cheque for £400 from congregational gifts.|
|After this we went to the monastery of the Cross, built on the site, according to tradition, where the tree that provided the cross of Christ grew.||The tradition says that Lot planted the three rods of cedar, cypress and line, given to Abraham by the three angels. He watered them with Jordan water and they grew into a single trunk with three distinctive boughs.|
|The wall paintings are exceptionally beautiful.||Fr Mark demonstrates the method of calling the monks to prayer. This method is also used by the Armenians.|
|The red bus is a vital part of pilgrim life. Here our pilgrims follow Johnny, our guide, to board the bus at Ein Karim after lunch with the Sisters of Notre-Dame de Sion.||We have been in dusty streets and olive groves, in churches both ancient and modern, by today we were in gardens, with trees laden with lemons, oranges and pomegranates. The Garden of Eden seems very close as we sit in the shade of a tree listening to the water splashing in a pool.|
|Abu Ghosh is a crusader church with marvellous wall paintings. Here is the altar.
||The word of God guides our pilgrimage. We visit sites and recall the biblical passages that relate to them. Here we see the Bible at the centre of the church of the Abu Ghosh community of monks and nuns.|
Some pilgrims joined the Rector for an early evening return visit to the Holy Sepulchre.
Here the Armenians flank the stone of anointing.
|Day 3 – Thursday, First Week|
|Having had breakfast at 0630, your pilgrims walked the Way of the Cross, arriving at Golgotha, within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, at about 0815. After they completed the stations, they were joined by the Rector's friend Archbishop Theofanis of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. You seem him here standing next to our guide, Johnny, in an Armenian chapel.||Here are your pilgrims outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the Archbishop.|
|The tomb of the prophet Zechariah hewn
from the rock in the Kidron Valley.
|The Church of the Agony at the foot of the Mount of Olives. We visited it yesterday but saw it today from across the valley.|
|Fr Mark seeks clarity of vision!||The Mass beginning in the lovely Crusader church of Saint Anne.|
|Saladin found Saint Anne's church to be so beautiful
that he spared it from destruction
and it became known as Saladin's Property
|This crypt beneath Saint Anne's church is traditionally associated with the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary|
|This tiny chapel and beautiful icon are in Saint Anne's crypt.
||This is a part of the Via Dolorosa, near the site of the first station, seen from the terrace of the Ecce Homo convent,
where your pilgrims had lunch.
From the terrace we could see the many domes and towers of the Christian Quarter. Here we look up towards the domes of the Holy Sepulchre. The larger dome is over the tomb of Christ, the smaller, with the large cross, is over the Catholicon, the former Crusader nave that is not the Greek Orthodox sanctuary.
|Day 2 – Wednesday, First Week|
In the Church of the Agony
Harvesting olives at Gethsemane
Some pilgrims rest after lunch at the Scottish Church
Finance officer Tony Atkins at the grotto of the Baptist's birth
Israeli conscripts being lectured at the Israel Museum
The Second Temple – the Israel Museum model
The Franciscan guardian at John the Baptist's birthplace
|Day 1 – Tuesday, First Week|
Pilgrims at the airport, about to depart for Jerusalem
More pilgrims at the airport, with an early start