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SSPP Pilgrimage Day 8

by Michael Kallis

Day 8 Our final day in the Holy Land was nonetheless meaningful.  A few pilgrims joined Fr Panagiotis for the midnight Liturgy at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and it was an unforgettable experience. It was much more crowded than the Theophany Liturgy we attended, and the energy of excited and joyful pilgrims was […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 7, Part 2

by Michael Kallis

Day 7, Part 2 Our last stop of the day was the Monastery of the Holy Cross. This was where the tree grew that was later made into the Cross of Christ – planted by Lot from the Old Testament. The Monastery was built by the Georgian church and later sold to the Greeks. It […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 7, Part 1

by Michael Kallis

We spent today in Jerusalem, beginning again at the Jaffa Gate and walking to the Holy Sepulcher for our much-anticipated visit to the Tomb of Christ.  Yair got us there at the perfect time – the Catholic service had just ended and we didn’t have to wait in line more than 20 minutes (it is […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 6, Part 2

by Michael Kallis

Day 6, Part 2: We walked to Dormition Abbey next, a giant Catholic Church built on the house of St John the Theologian, north of the Garden of Gethsemane. The Catholic Church holds that the Panagia was entombed and then assumed in this place; the Orthodox say it happened in Gethsemane itself.  There is a […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 6, Part 1

by Michael Kallis

Day 6, Part 1: Today began with a quick stop at the Mount of Olives, where we had a expansive view of the city of Jerusalem, from the east side of the wall. It was raining and overcast, so it was tough to see at times, but Yair pointed out the Dome of the Rock […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 5

by Michael Kallis

Day 5: Today had two major events on the agenda; the blessing of the Jordan River by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and visiting the Church of the Nativity. On our way to the Jordan, we stopped to view the Monastery of Hedzova, dedicated to the Annunciation.  The parents of the Theotokos, Saints Joachim and Anna, […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 4, Part 2

by Michael Kallis

Our final stop today was the Dead Sea.  The lowest point on earth was definitely up to its reputation.  Again we had an uncharacteristically chilly and windy day, so much so that the lifeguards strongly discouraged us from swimming, but several brave and determined souls from our group floated in the Dead Sea anyway!  The […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 4, Part 1

by Michael Kallis

Day 4, Part 1: Today began with a long drive south, from Nazareth down along the Jordan river, through the valley of Jordan, and stopping in Jericho.  Jericho is in the desert, and the difference in landscape and lifestyle throughout the drive was striking.  Northern Israel is fairly green in this rainy season, but as […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 3, Part 2

by Michael Kallis

Day 3, Part 2: Next we visited the site of the house of St Peter and surrounding houses, including the remains of the town synagogue.  The bottom layer of black basalt stone was from the time of Christ; the white stone layers on top were from the fourth century, after the destruction of the second […]

SSPP Pilgrimage Day 3, Part 1

by Michael Kallis

Day 3, Part 1: Another packed day in the Holy Land!  We started off the day by walking back to the church of the Annunciation, where we had a little more time to reflect before they started their Orthros service, and then we walked to the Metropolis of Nazareth, where we visited their beautiful church […]

SSPP Pilgrimage: Day 2, Part 2

by Michael Kallis

Day 2, Part 2: From Cana we drove to the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, where we saw the well where the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary.  We had to move through quickly, since a funeral was about to be performed in the church, but we will return tomorrow for more […]

SSPP Pilgrimage: Day 2, Part 1

by Michael Kallis

Day 2, Part 1: Our first day of sight-seeing was filled with incredible places!  We left our hotel in Tel Aviv bright and early, and headed north along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  We stopped at a beach in Caesarea to explore a Roman aqueduct built by Herod the Great, with a later addition […]

SSPP Holy Land Pilgrimage: Day 1

by Michael Kallis

Day 1: We gathered at O’Hare airport around 6pm to begin our journey.  Everyone (all 43 of us!) arrived safely, made it to our gate, and boarded our giant Turkish airlines jet.  Father said a prayer before we boarded, and the 9.5 hour flight to Istanbul went smoothly.  A short layover, and we boarded another […]