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Exodus, meaning "departure" in Greek, is the second book of the Jewish Torah and of the Christian Old Testament. It tells how Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Mountain of God (Mount Sinai). There Yahweh, through Moses, gives the Israelites their laws and enters into a covenant with them, by which He will give them the land of Canaan in return for their faithfulness. This journey takes us through the lands of Exodus and the travels of the ancient Israelites.
Cairo, Tel Aviv, Galilee, Jerusalem, Petra and Amman
15 Days - Egypt, Israel and Jordan
Day 1: Depart the USA on our transatlantic flight.
Day 2: We arrive Cairo, Egypt and are met by our Tour Director, who transfers us to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Cairo.
Day 3: Today we begin by exploring the ancient side of Egypt. First stop: Memphis, founded around 3100 BC. Memphis was the capital of Old Kingdom of Egypt. We continue on to Sakkara, which served as necropolis or burial grounds for Memphis. The most striking feature of the necropolis is the Step Pyramid of the Pharaoh Djoser (c.2667-2648 BC); there are an additional 16 pyramids too. Next, we go to Giza, site of the Great Pyramid, constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC, and the even older, mysterious Sphinx. Our journey continues with a visit Zeitoun, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared over the domes of Her namesake church, the Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church. Our Lady appeared to millions of people, starting on the evening of Tuesday, April 2, 1968 and continuing until 1971. This remarkable visitation is well-documented and was witnessed by numerous church officials and even then-President Nasser of Egypt. Dinner and overnight in Cairo.
Day 4: After breakfast, we depart for a tour of the Egyptian Musuem of Antiquities, home of the gold coffin of King Tutankhamon (better known as King Tut), 450 pounds of solid gold and other exhibits occupying 100 exhibition rooms. Then we continue with a tour of old Cairo, to visit the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary (with its miraculous image of Mary on a pillar), known also as the El Mo'allaqa Church or the "Hanging Church", then to the Abu Serga Church, also called St. Sergius and Bacchus Church, it stands on a crypt that is said to have sheltered the Holy Family during their flight into Egypt. Then browse at the Khan El Khalili Bazaars that date back to 1382 where you can bargain to your heart's content. Dinner and overnight in Cairo.
Day 5:

Day 6:
Today we travel to Mount Sinai in the southern Sinai peninsula, where the Old Testament tells us the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God during the Exodus. Nearby is Saint Catherine's Monastery, one of the oldest continuously functioning Christian monasteries in the world, associated with the martyr St. Catherine of Alexandria, whose relics are kept there. Dinner and overnight near Mount Sinai.

Optional very early morning climb to the top of Mount Sinai which takes 3 hours to go up, then spend one hour on top, then 3 hours to go down. Return to the hotel to freshen up and enjoy a hearty breakfast, then visit St. Catherine's Monastery to see a magnificent collection of icons and treasures of art. The monastery encloses the Chapel of the Burning Bush, built at the site where Moses is said to have seen the burning bush; the living bush on the grounds is purportedly the original. We then continue our journey by crossing the border to Israel for dinner and overnight in the area of the Dead Sea.
Day 7: Today we visit Qumran and Masada. Qumran, located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the Dead Sea, was constructed sometime around 134-104 BC. In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered hidden in a series of eleven caves of the sheer desert cliffs here. The nearly 900 scrolls were in various states of completeness, mostly written on parchment. We will also visit Masada, where, in 70-73 AD, a small group of rebellious Jewish zealots held out against a siege by the Roman Legion, ultimately resulting in their choosing suicide to Roman enslavement. Today, Masada is a peaceful and fascinating testament to a turbulent historical period. Dinner and overnight in Galilee.
Day 8: Today we tour the Galilee area: the Jordan River, where we will renew our baptismal vows; Tabgha, with its Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and the Church of the Primacy of Peter, commemorating Jesus' reinstatement of Peter after a fish breakfast on the shore; Capernaum, where Jesus lived during His Galilean ministry and the site of a modern day church built over Peter's House; and the Mount of Beatitudes, the traditional site of Jesus' delivery of the Sermon on the Mount. Dinner and overnight in Galilee.
Day 9: A day excursion to Cana and Nazareth awaits us. Cana, where, according to the Gospels, Jesus performed His first miracle, the turning water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). Why not renew your wedding vows at the Franciscan Wedding Church? We will enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, too. Afterwards, we will visit Nazareth, the home of Joseph and Mary and the site of the Annunciation. We will celebrate mass at the Church of the Annunciation, established at the site where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary asking Her to be the mother of Our Savior, and She answered Her "FIAT" (located at the lower level and known as the grotto). Dinner and overnight in Galilee.
Day 10: The road leads us up the mountain to Mt. Tabor, site of the Transfiguration. In 1924, the Church of the Transfiguration was built by the Franciscan order on the peak of Mount Tabor, upon the ruins of a Byzantine church from the fifth or sixth century and a Crusader church from the 12th century; the friars have lived near the church since the Ottoman control in 1873. Enroute to Jerusalem, we stop at Caesarea, named by Herod for the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, located on Israel's Mediterranean coastline. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 11: We begin our day travelling to Bethlehem*, the birthplace of Jesus, and home to the Church of the Nativity. Then we travel to the Mount of Olives, frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood as when He wept over Jerusalem. Jesus spent much time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to His disciples, later returning each day to rest, and also coming there on the night of His betrayal. At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus taught His disciples the "Our Father" and where Jesus and His disciples prayed the night before His arrest leading to His Crucifixion. Nearby is Mount Zion, where we view the tomb of King David. Then stand in the Upper Room, the site of the Last Supper. Visit the House of the High Priest Caiaphas where Jesus was imprisoned for a night. We proceed to Ein Karem, where John the Baptist was born. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. *Visit to Bethlehem is contingent on the political situation.
Day 12: After breakfast, we enter the Old City of Jerusalem. We visit Herodís Antonia Fortress and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Retrace the events in the final hours of Jesusí life as you walk the path of the route that Jesus took between His condemnation by Pilate and His Crucifixion, the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), for a powerful and compelling religious experience. The traditional route of the Via Dolorosa starts just inside the Lions' Gate, in the Muslim quarter, and makes its way westward through the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter; 500 meters in length, the route also incorporates 14 Stations of the Cross along the way. Touch a piece of the remnant of Solomon's Temple, also known as the Wailing Wall, where Jews gather from all over the world to commemorate the destruction of the first and second temples. Touch its ancient stones and pray for the peace of Israel. Visit the Church of St. Anne, birthplace of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, then view the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-24) where Jesus performed the Sabbath miracle. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 13: We leave Israel and cross over to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where we tour Petra, by horseback and on foot. Modern visitors enter the ancient site via the eastern entrance, which leads steeply down through al-Siq, or "the shaft", a dark, narrow gorge. This natural geological feature formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks. At the end of the narrow gorge stands Petra's most elaborate ruin, the Treasury, hewn into the sandstone cliff. There is also a massive theatre and tombs; the whole of it almost enclosed on three sides by rose-colored mountain walls, divided into groups by deep fissures. Later, we will travel back for dinner and overnight.
Day 14: Today, our travels take us to Madaba, Jerash and Amman. Madaba, known as "the City of the Mosaics" for the many Byzantine mosaics which have been uncovered throughout the city. We continue on to Jerash, with its impressive Greco-Roman ruins. Our day concludes as we arrive in Amman, capital of Jordan. Dinner and overnight in Amman.
Day 15: We bid farewell to the Jordan as we board our return flight to the United States.
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