Day 7 began early and we went first to the Western Wall, the Wailing Wall, the Kotel,
and then from there, the short walk, up and around to the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, the most noticeable and most recognized landmark in Jerusalem. This small area, about 35 acres is also some of the most contested, and most tense land on earth. We took a group photo there.
From the Temple Mount we walked to the Church of St. Anne, the mother of Mary. This church is run by the White Fathers of France. If you saw, a few weeks ago, French President Macron, attempting to get through, this is where some of that happened. I witnessed it on the media just before coming. St. Anne’s is extremely welcoming. It is also one of the most acoustically pleasing rooms in Jerusalem, and to the great tradition is to sing here. Our group did just that! Here is a video of that.
At St. Anne’s there is a special tribute to Stephen the Deacon and so we were able to gather the deacons on our pilgrimage for a picture. it is being prepared to be put in their museum there.
We then moved to the Church known as Ecce Homo, (Behold the Man) where we celebrated Eucharist and then began the Via Dolorosa, the Stations of the Cross, through the streets of Jerusalem ending at the tomb, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. After that, we had lunch, some free time in the Old City, and then a trip to Yad Vashem, the very moving Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. In the evening we had a presentation from George Khoury on some of the outreach and ministry his mother does in the Holy Land. Then, to dinner, and rest.
This is the day, like the Emmaus story itself, we drove out of Jerusalem, about 7 miles, to what is believed to be the site, or close to the site of the Emmaus revelation to the disciples. We celebrated our last Eucharist of the Holy Land portion of this trip, and we blessed all the various items people had purchased to take home with them, and we gave each pilgrim a tile with their name, and the gates of Jerusalem on it, as a remembrance of this trip. After that we brought the group to the Israeli Museum, which has an amazing model of the old city. It is so good we almost always bring groups here. Then a bit of time to spend in the museum which also houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, and then back to the Old City, where the group was given the afternoon to explore the Old City. I left the group and went to the Diocese of Jerusalem offices and had a good meeting with Archbishop Suheil Dawani and his Canon Chaplain, Don Binder. I then walked back to the Old City and led a small group around the Old City. This evening about 9 of our pilgrims who are not going on to Jordan departed, and we wished them traveling mercies. That night, after dinner, Paul and I led any who wanted to go, on the famous night walk around the Old City. It was wonderful.
This day the 40 plus left of us got up early checked out of our hotel in Jerusalem and traveled to the Allenby Bridge, to cross from the West Bank side to the Jordanian side. This took us several hours. Interestingly, we were held up by several Chinese and Taiwanese buses that attempted to enter from Jordan to Israel, but were not allowed in and sent back. I suspect due to the coronavirus but we have no way of knowing. Once through the border process we met out new driver Hassan, and our new guide Zaid and we were off. We traveled to Jerash, biblical Gerasa, an amazing archeological dig, thought to be one of the most well preserved ancient cities in the world. It was amazing. In the the south theater of this city which is so perfectly preserved, we were treated to a concert by a bagpipe band, popular here since the British Mandate.
After a long but full day we headed back to our hotel in Amman and a good dinner and rest.