Pilgrimage

Christianity
Pilgrimage is a journey to a particularly holy place made for religious reasons. People make these pilgrimages for many reasons. Some go just to see the places where Jesus was or to see particular churches associated with special people or events. Some people go to strengthen their faith and help them feel closer to God. The first Christian pilgrim was St Helena, the wife of the Roman Emperor Constantine Chlorus and the mother of Constantine the Great. After a major family tragedy she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and order churches to be built there. Next is the Spanish nun Estheria. In the account “Pilgrimage of Estheria” she describes the visit to places which appear in the Old and New Testament in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. She also gave a detailed account on the early church worship in Jerusalem at that time.

PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE
 Bethlehem: the birthplace of Jesus; where David is thought to have been born and crowned as the king; the Messiah will come from Bethlehem  Nazareth: boyhood home of Jesus and where he preached the sermon in the synagogue; St Mary’s Well; the Basilica of Jesus  Galilee: the area in which Jesus did most of his teachings  Jerusalem: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; Mount of Olives; the Via Dolorosa (the route which Jesus took carrying the cross)  Rome: seven major basilicas (St Paul’s, St Peter, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, St Lawrence)  Lourdes: three visions of Virgin Mary by Bernadette Soubirous at the Massabielle grotto. Bernadette was recognized as a Saint by the church in 1925  Walsingham  Coventry  Canterbury  Compostela

For some people, pilgrimage forms a part of a holiday. Others say that after making a pilgrimage they feel that their faith has been strengthened after they had been somewhere where an important person within their religion once lived or taught. This may be because of something which happened to the spiritually when they visited a particular place.

Judaism
Pilgrimage is a journey to a particularly holy place made for religious reasons. In Judaism there are three Pilgrim Festivals (or Foot festivals), Shalosh Regilim.

PILGRIM FESTIVALS
Pesach: marks the beginning of the Jewish religious year; celebrated from 15 to 22 Nissan; barley harvest; first and last days are days of rest; celebrates freedom from Egypt; Chag Hamatzot (fast of unleavened bread) Shavuot: the Feast of Weeks; 6-7 Sivan; wheat harvest; celebrates giving of the Torah and the Ten Commandments; symbol – cheesecake Sukkot: 15-22 Tishri; the Festival of Tabernacles; fruit harvest;

MODERN PILGRIMAGE
 Western wall: on Mount Moriah; dates from 2nd century BCE  Masada: Ruins of Masada the ancient fortress where the people of Masada stood against the Romans  Yad Vashem: the Holocaust Memorial; the Hall of Remembrance; the Children’s Memorial, the Valley of Communities; the Avenue and the Garden of the Righteous Among Nations; the Memorial of Deportees  Auschwitz: Nazi Germany’s largest concentration and extermination camp, and a slave labour camp Each of the three Pilgrim Festivals recalls events and practices in the life of the early Israelites and it is these which are remembered and celebrated at the festivals. They give Jews the opportunity to think about their history and the way in which G-d looked after them. They also provide an opportunity to thank G-d for the help and support which have been provided and for the way of life which Jews have learnt to follow.