On the Sunday before Easter, we join Christian pilgrims retracing the route Jesus took when he entered Jerusalem in c.33 AD as the Messiah. When Jesus entered the city for the Jewish Passover celebrations he was greeted by crowds hailing him as the Messiah; they waved palm branches and laid palms at his feet as he entered the city. This event is recorded in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-19). Today the Palm Sunday event is recreated with Christians bearing palm branches, playing musical instruments, waving flags, singing and praying along the route. They are led by the Catholic Patriarchate, Custos of the Holy Land, Latin Patriarch and Greek Archbishop in their ceremonial robes. The procession is uplifting and the atmosphere is the one of joy and brotherhood with participants from around the world.
We begin with a panoramic view over the Judean Desert and Jordan Valley, then stop at the Chapel of Bethpage where Jesus sent his disciples to find a donkey for him to ride into the city. We transfer to the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives and join the procession continuing down the Mount of Olives to the Church of Dominus Flevit which was designed by Antonio Barluzzi and marks the place where Jesus wept before his arrest and crucifixion. We pass the Garden of Gethsemane and Basilica of the Agony going through the Kidron Valley to the Old City where we enter via the Lions Gate.
The joyous procession continues into the Old City along the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus took to his crucifixion. At several points, the procession pauses for blessings and to give praise to Christ. We stop at the Church of Saint Anne and Bethesda before leaving the Old City via the Muslim Quarter where we can enjoy some of the traditional market atmosphere. Transportation awaits us on the edge of the Old City for your return transfer.