Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

Friday, October 20, 2017

Other Activities on Friday

The team also got to visit the Shrine of the Book, which is a very contemporary museum which houses the Dead See Scrolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               There There is also an amazing, HUGE, model of Jerusalem during the second-temple era. The 1:50 model now occupies 21,500 square feet. Ancient Jerusalem's palaces, homes, courtyards, gardens, theater and markets are all there in intricate detail, crowned by the Temple, the spiritual center of the Jewish People and the largest building project in the world of its day.                                                                           


Check out this website for lots of information on the Western Wall on the Sabbath.

This is such an incredible experience, please ask your team member to describe it!

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The pilgrimage team made an early morning visit to The Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is truly the centerpiece of the Old Jerusalem.  This church which houses many denominations is quite an amazing structure which is the site where Golgotha was, where Jesus was crucified as well as the place where he was entombed.

That little black square lower left is the entrance.

This is the main dome from the inside looking up from the tomb.

This picture shows the area around the tomb - which is the structure in the middle - the are is filled with people with candles.

This is the structure over where the tomb was to have been.

This narrow staircase leads up to the area where Golgotha was
- where Jesus was hanged.

This picture above and the one below are of the place where Golgotha was. 

In another area, you find a large , rectangular, marble slab where Jesus was prepared for burial.
Even from a distance, you can smell the fragrant perfume of oils that people pour on the stone. People kneel to pray at this stone. 

The mosaic, with the gold, above the stone, is my favorite thing in all Jerusalem.  The scene of Jesus being prepared for burial is beautiful and touching.  My favorite part is in the blue circle above Jesus - there are three angels who are weeping.  There are other angels in the corners who actually have tissues held to their eyes.
Jay sent me this picture below:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dr. Peter Walker teaching at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre




Thanks to Terry, our videographer.

More photos

Photos from David Crouse:

Jay Crouse in the middle with his brother, David, and his son, Edward.

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.

Jerusalem or Bust!

The pilgrims had a big day!  They began up the mountain to Mount Tabor, the site of the transfiguration of Jesus.  You have to travel up a zig zag road to get to the Church of the Transfiguration at the top.

Between 1919 until 1924 an impressive Roman Catholic church of the Franciscan order named "Church of the Transfiguration" was built on the peak of Mount Tabor. The architect who designed the church, among many other more in the Holy Land, was Antonio Barluzzi. The church was built upon the ruins of a Byzantine church from the fifth or sixth century and a Crusader church from the 12th century, which was built in honor of[dubious ] Tancred, Prince of Galilee. The friars of the church live next to the church in a monastery established in 1873.
The church consists of three naves which are separated by two rows of columns supporting arches. In the two bell towers on either side of the entrance, there are two chapels. The northern chapel is dedicated to Moses and it contains an image of him receiving the Tables of the Law on Mount Sinai, and the southern chapel is dedicated to Elijah the prophet and it contains an image of him invoking God during his confrontation with the Ba'al prophets on Mount Carmel.
In the upper part of the church, above the altar, there is a mosaic which depicts the Transfiguration, and on the Transfiguration holiday on August 6, it is illuminated by the sun beams which are reflected by a glass plate located on the floor of the church.
A rock near the entrance of the church has an engraving in ancient Greek and beside it there is an engraving of a cross. Nearby there are the remains of the monastery of San Salvatore (Monastère St Salvador)[dubious ], which was established by the Benedictines in 1101. (Wikipedia)

Next stop - Jerusalem!  More specifically The Mount of Olives.  This is the first view of Jerusalem that the pilgrimage team has seen - what a thrill!

Photo cred to Terry:

The small gold dome that you seen in the distance over Terry's head is Dome of the Rock. More details on that in the next few days.

Sorry this is out of order!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mount of Beatitudes

Jay's words are that they had "a glorious communion service" at the
Mount of Beatitudes this morning.

The men then hiked down the hillside.

Famous for being the site wherein Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, the Mount of Beatitudes is located in Israel's northern region, adjacent to the Hebrew town of Ginosar and in close proximity to the Sea of Galilee (Kineret in Hebrew).

The mountain is named after the blessings that mark the beginning of Christ's sermon. The beatitude(blessings), nine in number, are documented in the Gospels of Mark and Luke and consist of Jesus'
prayers for his followers. In the beatitudes Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven, proceeding to
count the characteristics a devout man must have to enter it. Expressions now used in our day to day
language such as "salt of the earth" and "light of the world", as well the cornerstones of our moral
actions such as the injunction to "turn the other cheek", "judge not lest you be judged" or the command to practice the "golden rule", find their origins in the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount thus serves as an important piece of literature, not only for its scriptural significance if not also for the moral code that it proposes.

Standing atop the Mount of Beatitudes and observing the landscape at its feet, it becomes clear why
it was here, and not anywhere else, that Christ gave his famed sermon. As far as practicality goes, the
Mount of Beatitudes offers a unique combination of high and low altitudes. While the mountain has
two pointy tops that can be seen from afar, it also features a plateau-like valley between the two horned tops, which in Biblical times served as a kind of natural amphitheatre easily able to contain the multitudes that came to hear the sermon.

For geographical reasons, the Mount of Beatitudes in located at the epicenter of Jesus' ministry with
the Sea of Galilee and the city of Tiberias to its east, and Nazareth as well as Mount Tabor to its south.


For more information on this site, watch this youtube video:

After lunch, Jay encouraged the tired group to head back to the hotel for much needed rest.  But apparently Peter Walker was more interested in his quest to find the "real" Cana so he took 10 men in the group (and the bus!) and headed out on an adventure.  The remaining 15 were left to get taxis to get back to the hotel - Jay said it was hilarious and took 90 minutes for that to transpire.  More details to follow I guess.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tabgha, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Sea of Galilee

Tabgha I, the name of the location in which the Church of the Primacy of Peter is located, was first on the schedule today. 

It is on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

More information on this spot from Wikipedia:

The modern structure was built in 1933 and incorporates parts of an earlier 4th century church. At the base of its walls, opposite the main altar, foundations of the 4th century church are visible. In the 9th century, the church was referred to as the Place of the Coals. This name refers to the incident of Jesus' preparation of meal for the apostles, building a charcoal fire on which to cook the fish. Also first mentioned in the year 808 are the "Twelve Thrones", a series of heart shaped stones, which were placed along the shore to commemorate the Twelve Apostles. The church survived longer than any other in the area, finally being destroyed in 1263.[1]

The present Franciscan chapel was built on the site in 1933. This church was included in the itineraries of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II during their visits to Israel in 1964 and March 2000 respectively. The church contains a projection of limestone rock in front of the present altar which is venerated as a "Mensa Christi", Latin for table of Christ. According to tradition this is the spot where Jesus is said to have laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the Apostles, and told Peter to "Feed my sheep" after the miraculous catch, the third time he appeared to them after his resurrection. (John 21:1-24) It is disputed whether this table, or the one enshrined at the nearby Church of the Multiplication, is the one mentioned by the pilgrim Egeria in her narrative of the Holy Land circa 380. There is also another table of Christ enshrined at the Mensa Christi Church in Nazareth.

CAPERNAUM was up next and what an interesting place it is.  You can see from the ruins what the houses were really like.  Capernaum was the center of Jesus activities in the Galilee and his town during that time. Jesus taught in the local synagogue. It was also the home town of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John, and the tax collector Matthew.

Capernaum first started to be inhabited during the 3rd Millennium BC in the early Bronze period. It was a small village of several houses, which was in the area controlled by the Biblical city in  Tell Kinneret, located 3 KM to the west. It continued through the 2nd Millenium, as surfaced in the excavations, in the area around the center of the Roman village.  During the Israelite/Iron period (1200-587BC) there was a break in the population, which was restored in the 5th C BC (the period of the returns of the exiles to Zion).

   The village then expanded in the Hellenistic period (4th-3rd C BC), gradually replacing the focus from Tell Kinneret - as most of the Tells in Israel at that time.  It was designed according to that period's urban design of straight lines, which was built in parallel to the main Roman imperial highway, that crossed the village on the northern side.  Capernaum grew larger at the time of Jesus  (early Roman period, 1st C AD), and a synagogue was built in the center of the village. It reached its peak in the Byzantine period when the grand white-stone Synagogue  was built (end of the 4th C AD) over the earlier synagogue. An octagon church was built in  the 5th C AD at the location of St Peter's house, and serviced the Christian citizens. At that time the village covered about 60 Dunams (6 Hectares), with a population of about 1,500.  Note that the excavated area that is seen today is only 1/3 of the entire size of the village.

   The village prospered in the Roman and Byzantine periods, and its citizens were mainly fishermen (as most of Jesus apostles), farmers, and people that provided services to the Roman road and caravans, including tax collection (as was Matthew). Capernaum was partially destroyed in the Persian conquest in the 7th C AD. The synagogue and church were destroyed in the Arab period (7th- 12 C AD), but the village continued to function for some time.  It then was totally ruined.

   The area was purchased by the Franciscans in 1894; 2/3 of the entire area of ruins were purchased, while the other third was purchased by the Greek Orthodox.  The excavations were conducted in several seasons  (1905-1915, 1968-1984).

BETHSAIDA was up next.  More ruins!

Here dwelt Philip, Andrew, Peter (John 1:44; John 12:21), and perhaps also James and John. The house of Andrew and Peter seems to have been not far from the synagogue in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14; Mark 1:29, etc.) on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee. Unless they had moved their residence from Bethsaida to Capernaum, of which there is no record, and which for fishermen was unlikely, Bethsaida must have lain close to Capernaum. It may have been the fishing town adjoining the larger city. As in the case of the other Bethsaida, no name has been recovered to guide us to the site. On the rocky promontory, however, east of Khān Minyeh we find Sheikh ‛Aly eṣ-Ṣaiyādīn, "Sheikh Aly of the Fishermen", as the name of a ruined weli, in which the second element in the name Bethsaida is represented. Nearby is the site at ‛Ain et-Ṭābigha, which many have identified with Bethsaida of Galilee. The warm water from copious springs runs into a little bay of the sea in which fish congregate in great numbers. This has therefore always been a favorite haunt of fishermen.

Bethsaida is described in Mark 8:22-26 as a town where Jesus met a blind man seeking healing. Jesus led the man outside the town before healing him and asked him not to return to the town, nor to inform the people of the town, after his sight was restored.

The afternoon was a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

We end the day with a song by Terry: