Christian Pilgrimages and Group Tours Spiritual Journeys.
Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (NASB)
Clubs and Societies Christian Group Tours.
holy land christian group tours.
Ranan pilgrimages and christian group tours can tailor make a tour specifically for your club or society. Sharing one's faith with those in a different culture of the same denomination provides a unique insight into the issues and challenges facing believers today. We have many contacts with congregations around the world and can arrange meetings or worship at key churches or sites of importance to your religious tradition. If you already have established links with a church overseas, we can arrange flights, transportation and accommodations. Your visit could serve as part of a customized religious tour, church history tour, biblical tour, community service project or remain a program unto itself. If you do not have such a relationship, we could help you establish a fellowship. In your custom-designed tour, we can arrange for your Minister to hold a service at a site of particular importance or significance to you or your congregation. We can also arrange for your Minister to officiate at a local parish and provide an opportunity for fellowship and worship with another congregation.
Development of Holy Places During the first three centuries after Christ, the Church seems to have focused primarily on the New Testament teaching that God is present everywhere in the world through his Holy Spirit, rather than in special places (see Pilgrimage in the Bible). This shift from the traditions of Judaism may have been reinforced by the destruction suffered by the city of Jerusalem in the years following the death of Christ. The occupying Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 CE and the whole city was razed to the ground following a Jewish revolt in 135 CE. Other cities, such as Caesarea, Antioch and Rome, now became more important in the organisation of the Church.
Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina and a temple to the pagan goddess Venus was built on the Temple Mount. Jerusalem, the city of God, seemed to have been obliterated. Surviving records of Christian visitors to Palestine during the second and third centuries CE show them to have been concerned with learning about the land of the Bible and visiting the small community of Christians who still lived there, rather than visiting 'holy places'. Jerusalem appears to have been a site of limited historical interest rather than of special devotional significance. In the early fourth century, however, came a major shift in Christian attitudes. The key catalyst was the conversion of the Emperor Constantine to Christianity in 313. Constantine brought to his new faith concepts of sacred places and sacred buildings derived from Roman and Greek pagan religion (see Religious journeys in the Greek and Roman worlds).
Although he never visited Jerusalem himself, the Emperor instituted an extensive building programme in Palestine and his mother Helena oversaw the 'recovery' of a number of important Holysites. Great churches were built - on the site of the 're-discovered' tomb of Christ, on the Mount of Olives and in Bethlehem. A 'Holy Land' emerged, creating a new sacred geography which offered an added dimension of spiritual experience. Cyril (c.320-?386), Bishop of Jerusalem from c. 350, claimed 'Others only hear but we both see and touch' (Catechetical Lectures, 13:22). Fourth century accounts by visitors show how attitudes were changing. The anonymous pilgrim of Bordeaux who arrived in 333 to explore the land of the Bible has left a terse collection of notes listing sites connected with biblical events.
The account given by Egeria, who visited Palestine some fifty years later, between 381 and 384, shows a much more devotional approach. Although keen to learn about the biblical sites, Egeria also spends time in worship at various places, listening to appropriate readings from the Bible and praying. Egeria's narrative illustrates the new elements which have emerged: the veneration of relics, a stress on worship at holy sites, and devotional experience heightened by reflecting on the scriptures in places where events such as the Crucifixion had actually taken place (The Pilgrimage of Egeria).
St Paula visited the holy sites c. 386. Jerome, writing some twenty years later, describes her highly emotional response, which in part anticipates that of Margery Kempe many centuries later. Jerome records Paula's enthusiastic devotion: 'She fell down and worshipped before the Cross as if she could see the Lord hanging on it ... Her tears and lamentations [at the Tomb of the Resurrection] are known to all Jerusalem' (Jerome, Letter 108, To Eustochium). Paula is described not only visiting holy places but also visualising, and re-living, the biblical events believed to have happened there. Such imaginative entering into the biblical narrative would become an important aspect of medieval spirituality, evident both in the responses of those such as St Birgitta (Bridget) and Margery Kempe who visited the biblical sites, and those who could only undertake 'pilgrimages of the imagination' from afar.
The changes did not go unopposed. The appeal of 'seeing and touching' and imaginative entering into the life of Christ was clearly very strong but there were major theological questions to be answered. How could an omnipresent God be more accessible in one place than another? Would travelling to so-called 'holy places' help or hinder the longer life-journey of daily obedience to which every Christian was called? St Gregory of Nyssa pointed out that Jesus never commanded his followers to go on pilgrimage and stated firmly that 'Change of place does not effect any drawing nearer unto God' (Epistle 2). Jerome himself declared 'Nothing is lacking to your faith although you have not seen Jerusalem' (Letter 58). There were other concerns, both practical and moral.
Pilgrimages could be expensive in time and resources and might expose pilgrims to physical and moral dangers. Despite all these concerns, however, pilgrimage to holy places continued to flourish. The theological paradox which lay at its heart had not, however, been resolved and would surface many times during the centuries which followed.
search terms. International, Tours, Group, Leader, Travel, Christian, Europe, Holy Land, Biblical Travel, pilgrim, pilgrimage, Church, Special Interest, Escorted.