Our Israeli tour guide, Alex has been very helpful to us and his enthusiasm and passion for work is quite evident.
He has forewarned us the night before that there will be plenty of walking for today's itinerary. So we heed to his warning and dressed to the occasion (loose clothing, comfortable walking shoes and wore the baseball cap given to us by our Israel travel agency "Sar-El" tours).
We headed to Mt Olives, the place of Jesus Christ's ascension to heaven.
Olive trees signifies the renewal of God's kingdom (as these trees were said to be the first to grow after the great flood in Genesis). Thus, when Jesus moves to the Mount of Olives at the end of his ministry, he is moving to a garden form of the Holy of Holies to complete his work of renewing the kingdom of God.
Located on the Mount of Olives is the Church of Pater Noster. The walls of this church is decorated with the Lord’s Prayer in various translations on colorful ceramic plaques.
Inside the crypt ~ where we get to pray together the Lord's Prayer...
It felt wonderful finding the Tagalog translation.
Our tour group family with various translations of the Lord's Prayer as our background.
Within walking distance from the Church of Pater Noster is this viewing site of the West Jerusalem.
A photo of the old Jerusalem on the left side (displayed side by side with Jerusalem now).
We were then taken by bus to Jerusalem's Golden Gate located across the Garden of Gethsemane.
The Golden Gate (also known as the "Gate of Mercy") is located in the east walls of the old city of Jerusalem. It is regarded as a holy site the by the Jewish (arrival of the Messiah), Christians (entrance of Jesus on Palm Sunday) and Muslims (site of future resurrection).
The Garden of Gethsemane ~is the scene of the agony and arrest of Jesus.
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.” (Matthew 37-26:36).
Interiors of the Church of Nations ~
Lunch was at the Sheyan Asian Restaurant (menu somewhat Chinese fusion). Food here was one of best we had in Israel ~ sumptuous! I think after days eating Egyptian and Israeli cuisine, having rice and noodles was a real treat!
From here we were brought to the Shepherds Fields, believe to be the location of the caves where shepherds “kept watch over their flock”. It is here where an angel announced the birth of Jesus.
The group held mass at the Milk Grotto.
The Milk Grotto is an irregular grotto hollowed out of soft white rock, the site is sacred to Christian and Muslim pilgrims alike. The place is frequented by new mothers and women who are trying to conceive.
Story tells us that while Mary and Joseph were fleeing Herod's soldiers on their way to Egypt, they stopped in this cave while Mary nursed the baby Jesus. A drop of Mary’s milk fell upon the stone and it turned white.
Church of St Catherine of Alexandria together with the Church of Nativity is believe to be built over the cave where Jesus is born.
We took a narrow stairway leading down into a complex of caves converted into chapels.
(Statue of St Jerome ~ outside the Church of St Catherine)
These included: The Cave of St Jerome, where he spent 30 year translating the Bible, from Hebrew and Greek to Latin ; St Joseph’s Chapel, recalling the dream in which an angel warned Joseph to take the Holy Family to Egypt; and the Chapel of the Holy Innocents, commemorating the children massacred by Herod.
We ended the day with a trip to one of Jerusalem's souvenir shops. Good buys are: rosaries (especially ones made of olives) and books about the Holy Land.
The carvings were exquisite, but quite expensive...
(I personally think, you can have something as beautiful commissioned in Paete Laguna at less cost)
Follow our Holy Land Adventure:
- DAY 4 - from St Catherine Monastery to Israel >>>> Day 4
- DAY 5 - floating on the Dead Sea >>>> Day 5
Please check also my separate post on all the hotels we've stayed at during our tour of the Holy Land.
For questions and inquiries on our Tour Package with CITTI please visit their facebook page at CORPORATE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AND TOURS INC.