Thirty-four pilgrims led by Archbishop William Skurla and Very Rev. Andrew Deskevich, Protosyncellus, traveled to the Holy Land Sept. 15 to 24 as part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh.
The professional guide was Father John D’Orazio and the pastoral assistant was Patrizia De Libero. They arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel Sept. 16, where they traveled north to the Galilee area and arrived in Nazareth for an evening dinner.
Pilgrims departed for Mount Tabor on the second day, where they visited the Church of the Transfiguration and stopped at Cana, where a blessing of married couples took place. They also visited the region of Lake Tiberias and the Mount of Beatitudes and two sites at Tabgha: the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish and Church of the Primacy of Peter.
The fifth day included a two hour bus ride trek through the Jordan River Valley towards the Dead Sea and a renewal of Baptismal Promises at Qasr El Yahud along the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
Day Six was a full day in Jerusalem, where pilgrims visited the Mount of Olives: Tehj Ascension Chapel and the Church of Pater Noster, the church where Jesus wept; and garden of Gethsemane with the basilica of the Agony, the
Tomb of Mary.
The start of the second week was spent in Bethlehem: Basilica of the Nativity, where Jesus was born; and Mount Zion, the room of the Last Supper and the Cenotaph of King David, the Church of the Dormition, and the Church of
St. Peter in Gallicantu, where St. Peter denied Jesus.
On the final day, pilgrims visited the village of Ein Kerem, place of the visit of Mary to St. Elizabeth and birthplace of St. John the Baptist, and the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem, the Memorial of the Holocaust.
Following dinner at a restaurant in Jaffa, they boarded a 1 a.m. flight for a trip back to the United States.