Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

vl-sophrony-in-holy-land.jpgArchbishop Sophrony of St Petersburg invites people to join his pilgrimage to the Holy Land from December 1st-15th. Guided tours will be in Russian, and for those comfortable with the language, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet another of the Bishops of our Church. The group will also visit the parish of the Annunciation in the Nazareth, which is a part of ROCA.
Vladika Sophrony wrote after his previous pilgrimage:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem … I once thought that Jerusalem would remain an impossible dream for me.
My acquaintance with the great shrines began at Nazareth, with the church of the Annunciation and the place where the brothers Zebedee once lived (Apostles John and James). Next, I went to Jerusalem, meeting Patriarch Irineos, who is under house arrest. We visited the mountain monastery of St George the Chozebite.hozeva.jpgNext - the Jordan the monastery of St. Gerasimos of Jordan, where the holy family stopped in their flight from Herod. From the Mount of Temptation one can see the entire world which “lies in evil” - which the devil once offered to the God-man. At early liturgy in the church of the Nativity I saw where the Creator of the universe found refuge in a very narrow cave. The Judean Desert…Climb high into the mountains. Here the venerable Savvas founded the monastery with a strict rule prohibiting entrance for women. The monastery of St Theodosius. Here are the relics of St Euphrosyne of Polotsk. In the caves of this monastery the prophet Isaiah and King David hid. The Magi stayed here on their way back to their country after worshipping the Divine Infant Jesus.
img_6079.jpgThe Lord allowed me to visit many other holy places connected with the earthly life and preaching of our Saviour Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin. We visited Hebron and the Oak of Mambre, which, unfortunately, does not uplift us with its greens. The field of the Shepherds, the Monastery of St. George, the Mount of Olives, the Church of St Mary Magdalene, where lie the relics of the venerable martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara. We followed the earthly footsteps of St John the Baptist, visited the temple of Protomartyr Stephen, the church of St Simeon, Capernaum, the site of the execution of the Sebaste martyrs, the cave in which St Nicholas laboured; We were at the well of patriarch Jacob; venerated the tomb of the Virgin Mary, the righteous Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna, and St Joseph the Betrothed, and also followed the path of our Lord and Saviour’s passion on His way to Golgotha. Freely paraphrased from Vladika Sophrony’s blog.

Those interested should contact Vladika Sophrony directly for more information and registration: email: or telephone +7 921 115 49 93. The cost of the pilgrimage is approximately USD1000, excluding airfares to Tel Aviv. See also the St Petersburg Diocese.
For those not fluent in Russian, it will possible to join future pilgrimage groups from our own Australian Diocese and from America. These will be announced in due course.


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