Holy Land & Turkey (with Ephesus) Aug 2021

Archbishop William Slattery OFM • 21 August to 1 September 2021

Visit the Holy Land and Turkey (with Ephesus) on this special SOUTHERN CROSS pilgrimage!

Saturday, August 21
We meet at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to depart at 21:45 on our night-flight to Istanbul..

Sunday, August 22
Today we visit ancient city of Ephesus, where St Paul evangelised. He wrote his Epistle to the Ephesians for the Christians of the city. We see the ancient Agora, the Library of Celsius, the Great Theatre, and the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. We also visit the Church of St Mary, which is believed where the Council of Ephesus was held in 431 AD. It was Cathedral Church of the bishop of Ephesus for many centuries. Overnight: Kusadasi

Mary’s House in Ephesus.

Monday, August 23
After breakfast we have Mass in the House of Virgin Mary, where Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI also celebrated Mass. According to tradition, this is the place where the Mother of Our Lord lived with the Apostle John. Outside the shrine is a “wishing wall” where pilgrims place their personal intentions. After a chance to explore fine Turkish carpets and leathers, we drive to Istanbul, crossing Osmangazi Bridge, the fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world and second longest in Europe. Overnight: Istanbul

Tuesday, August 24
Today we have morning Mass in St Esprit Church, built in 1846 and the second-largest Catholic Church in Istanbul. We then visit the Chora Church whose walls are covered with some of the oldest and finest surviving Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. Then we visit Hippodrome and the Hagia Sophia, one of the world’s greatest architectural and spiritual masterpieces and once the greatest church in Christendom. In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner will be in one of the famous restaurants of Istanbul. Overnight: Istanbul

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Wednesday,  August 25
Today is our travel day. We take the short flight to Tel Aviv, from where we go to Nazareth where we have Mass before settling down in our hotel. We have time at leisure, a great chance to get ready ready for our Holy Land experience. Overnight: Nazareth

Thursday, August 26
Today we explore Nazareth , hometown of the Holy Family. We visit the Basilica of the Annunciation with the grotto where the Archangel greeted Mary with the words “Hail Mary, full of grace”, and the nearby Church of St Joseph, dedicated to our parish’s patron. We see Mary’s Well, where Our Lady drew water, and other sites associated with the Holy Family. We go up Mount Tabor, the site of the Lord’s Transfiguration, and visit Cana, site of Our Lord’s first miracle, where couples can renew their wedding vows.

The grotto of the Apparition in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

Friday, August 27
After breakfast we drive to the Sea of Galilee, around which most of Jesus’ public ministry took place. At Capernaum we can see the remains of Peter’s house and of a fourth-century synagogue built on top of the one in which Jesus probably preached (the foundations of which we can still see). At Tabgha a church recalls the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, and the nearby chapel of Peter’s Primacy marks the place where Christ entrusted the Church to St Peter. We drive up Mount of Beatitudes, on the slopes of which Jesus delivered his famous sermon. A highlight of the pilgrimage is the boat-ride on the Sea of Galilee on a recreation of a first-century fishing vessel, a time for both fun and for prayerful reflection. At Migdal, or Magdala, we see a recently discovered 1st-century synagogue in which we can be quite sure Jesus taught. For lunch today, we have an opportunity to eat the St Peter’s fish from the Sea of Galilee.

Saturday, August 28
Today we travel south to Bethlehem where we visit the ancient Basilica of the Nativity, which marks the place of Jesus’ birth, and the Milk Grotto, where tradition holds the Blessed Virgin breastfed the baby Jesus before the flight into Egypt. Shepherds’ Field, where the angels announced the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds, is one of the Holy Land’s loveliest sites. At Ein Kerem the Church of the Visitation commemorates the Blessed Virgin’s encounter with St Elizabeth and her reciting of the Magnificat, and the Church of St John’s Nativity, with its beautiful Spanish tiles, marks the birthplace of St John the Baptist. Overnight: Bethlehem

Bethlehem: The silver star that marks the place of Jesus birth in the Basilica of the Nativity.

Sunday, August 29
Today we renew our baptismal vows at the River Jordan. The Qasr El-Yahud baptismal site is recognised by the as the authentic site of Our Lord’s baptism by John the Baptiser. We pass through Jericho, with a view on the Mount of Temptation, the place where Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. On the Dead Sea, where we can float on the mineral-rich water. We then we visit Bethany, the town where Jesus often stayed with his friends Mary and Martha, and where he raised Lazarus from the dead. Overnight: Bethlehem

Monday, August 30
Jerusalem! We begin our pilgrimage to the Holy City on top of the Mount of Olives at the small chapel, now a mosque, which marks the spot from which Catholics believe Christ ascended into Heaven (see His reputed footprint in a stone there). As we walk down the mount we visit Paternoster Church, where the Lord’s Prayer is displayed in hundreds of languages, including several South African versions, and Dominus Flevit Church, which is on the spot where Jesus looked at Jerusalem and wept for its impending destruction. At the foot of the mount we arrive at the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive trees, and the magnificent Church of All Nations with the Rock of Agony, on which Jesus is believed to have prayed before His arrest.

After lunch, we go to Mount Zion and visit the impressive Dormition Abbey, where Our Lady fell asleep, the Cenacle (Upper Room) which commemorates the Last Supper, and the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, where Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin, kept in a dungeon, and where Peter denounced Our Lord three times. Next to the church we can see the steps on which we know Jesus actually walked!

Mount Zion: The steps next to the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu on which Our Lord walked.

Tuesday, August 31
This is the day we follow the Stations of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. First we visit the lovely St Anne’s Church, a Crusader church on the site of the home of Saints Anne & Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin, and the Pools of Bethesda, where Our Lord cured the lame man.
The Way of the Cross, during which we recall the Stations of Our Lord’s Passion, culminates in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, our faith’s most sacred site. Here you can touch the rock where the cross stood and pray in the tomb from which Our Lord rose from the dead. Our pilgrimage culminates with Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

After lunch we drive to Tel Aviv to make our way home.

On the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, with a view of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Wednesday, September 1
After an unforgettable journey we come home, physically tired but spiritually refreshed, remembering the words of the Psalmist: “They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but abides forever” (125:1).


• Private Masses will be celebrated in the Holy Land at sacred sites every day.
• Daily lunch in selected restaurants included.
• Pilgrims will receive a copy of The Holy Land Trek by Günther Simmermacher

Est. Price: R49,250 (ex-JHB; subject to currency and price fluctuations. Calculated at R15,65 to the dollar and 32 travelling)

Includes: All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in 4-star hotels or better (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, lunches in specially selected restaurants (Holy Land), transfers, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking tour guide, entrance fees, The Holy Land Trek book.

Excludes: Tips (these are set and mandatory), insurance, personal expenses, travel to and from O.R. Tambo Airport/Jhb.

How To Book: A deposit of R5,200 secures your place on this unforgettable pilgrimage. Send your deposit slip, booking form (included in the illustrated itinerary) and copy of your passport to Fowler Tours, and we’ll do the rest!


Download Itinerary with booking form Contact Us