Pilgrimage or tourism: how to visit holy places

Pilgrimage trips to Jerusalem

Modern states and their borders determine only the form of pilgrimage trips, and not their content. The main thing in such religious travel is not a visit to two, three or four countries, but a visit to a region that is united by one idea, historical, philosophical and architectural roots. This is the basis of any pilgrimage or religious tour that covers several countries.

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Mandatory to visit

If we talk about Egypt, Jordan and Israel, trips through these territories are inextricably linked with the history of the Israeli people and with the road that Moses walked. The same can be said about travel on the route Israel - Jordan - Syria - Lebanon. From the point of view of Christianity, all these states are located on a single territory of the Holy Land. Why? Because the Lord walked and was baptized in Jordan, there are also places that are inextricably linked with the life and death of John the Baptist. Syria and Jordan are associated with the apostles Paul and Peter, who went to preach from Jerusalem.

If we talk about the spiritual content of pilgrimage trips, for example, to Greece or Italy, they usually follow the paths of the apostles in the European part of the continent. It is this component that is the main one in tours that include these countries.

The combination of two countries such as Greece and Turkey in one pilgrimage tour also has a very clear ideological rationale. As a rule, such travels take the route Cappadocia - Istanbul - Thessaloniki - Athens: this is the path of the Apostle Paul and his sermons. And, for example, the journey Bulgaria - Greece - Turkey is based on the Byzantine traditions of Orthodoxy. A visit to these three countries is a tribute to the memory and merits of the Slavic saints and enlighteners Cyril and Methodius.

More than worship

However, in some cases, the countries in the pilgrimage routes can be united for completely mundane, geographical reasons. For example, a program for Italy and Montenegro: in Montenegro, people rest, pray, travel to holy places, and the wonderful Italian city of Bari is located very close by, which will not be difficult to reach. There are other options for combining countries in this region, in particular, a cruise along the Adriatic coast with a visit to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Bari, Venice. This route combines visiting several shrines and worshiping several saints: the Apostle Mark (Venice), John the Baptist (Cetinje Monastery), St. Nicholas and the Wonderworker (Bari).

Geography of pilgrimage tours

The word "pilgrim" comes from the Latin "palmarius" - a palm tree or a person holding a palm branch. This concept has other synonyms - wandering, worship, pilgrimage. They very clearly show the meaning of pilgrimage - the worship of holy places.

Pilgrimage walks have been known since ancient times. So, in the days of the Old Testament, there are mentions of the campaigns of the pious Israelites to the main shrine of that time - the Jerusalem Temple - to make sacrifices and prayers. In the New Testament, the Lord also made a pilgrimage with His Most Pure Mother and Joseph the betrothed, visiting Jerusalem on the feast of Passover (Luke 2: 41-52).

Montaigne's "Experiments"

How is Christian pilgrimage different from modern tourism? Despite the external similarity, their internal essence is different. While tourists admire historical sights, pilgrims worship shrines, take part in divine services, pray in front of miraculous icons and relics of saints.

There is nothing wrong with the fact that a tourist decided to visit, for example, an ancient monastery. But one thing is an educational excursion, another is participation in a temple service. Of course, many people try to combine business with pleasure. This desire has already led to such a phenomenon as "religious tourism". As a result, pilgrims often fall into the sphere of interests of travel companies, which do not take into account the spiritual specifics and interests of believers. The programs offered to believers are entertainment tours and stays in luxury hotels, where the secular atmosphere is contrary to the spirit of pilgrimage.

Tourist activity is younger than pilgrimage. Its origin dates back to the era of the late Renaissance, when motives for travel appeared among educated people. Back in the 16th century, the French philosopher Michel Montaigne, the author of the book "Experiments", drew attention to this moment. He writes about a traveler who longs to satisfy curiosity, expand the circle of impressions and gain new life experiences.

From Montaigne's point of view, travel can be seen as a liberation from the routine of everyday life: "Outside the home, my soul quickly and easily straightens, but when I am at home, it is in constant anxiety." Or as a departure from social reality: “Another reason pushing me to travel is aversion to the ugly morals prevailing in our country. I would easily have come to terms with their corruption if they only harmed public interests ... But since they affect my interests too, I cannot accept this, they really oppress me. "

And although more than 400 years have passed since the Montaigne era, the "handwriting" of tourism has remained practically unchanged. Such types of travel (as opposed to pilgrimage) are associated with banal vanity and are not subject to any requirements of piety or repentance. Therefore, tourism can only be spoken of as the opposite of pilgrimage.

Walking in the Byzantine era

The Christian pilgrimage began to develop with the acquisition of freedom under Constantine the Great. Already in the IV century, thousands of pilgrims began to flock to Palestine to worship the main shrines of Christianity. They initiated a massive pilgrimage movement to the Holy Land. Jerusalem became a holy city, opened spiritual treasures to the whole world and regained its ancient name (in the days of pagan emperors it was called Aelia Capitolina).

Geography of pilgrimage tours on

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The Lord's Prayer. Our Father, Thou art in heaven! Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven and on earth. Give us our daily lobs this day; And forgive us our debts, as we also leave as our debtors; And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

PRAYER FOR TRAVELERS. This path and truth, Christ, the companion of Thy Angel, Thy servant now, like Tobiah sometimes, after preserving, and intact to Thy glory from all evil in all prosperity, observing, through the prayers of the Theotokos, the One Human-loving one.

More than two thousand years of the Church of Christ. Christianity has always lived by the reality of Sacred history. Not by memories, but by reality - constantly permeating every movement of the believing soul. Sacred history lives by Church Tradition in holy icons, addresses us with the words of Scripture, builds the liturgical life of the Church, the holidays of which are days of special experience of the events of Sacred history.

The grace of the Church is given to ministry. Conscious participation in divine services, church Sacraments, the study of Holy Scripture in the light of the interpretations of the Fathers and Teachers of the Church, the meaningful fulfillment of the rituals and rules established by it, gaining the experience of church and personal prayer - all this awakens the feeling of Holy history as a kind of space that connects us with eternity.

In the center of world history is the Incarnation and the Atoning Sacrifice of the Savior, the God-man Jesus Christ. The Church teaches to honor the Son of God, His deeds and sufferings for the sins of the world, Death on the Cross and Resurrection. Deviation from life in Christ - by neglecting participation in divine services and the Sacraments, self-justification in non-observance of Christ's commandments, forgetting the rules of church life - closes our hearts to Christ. Verbal appeals to the Lord are in vain if in fact we do not allow Him to enter our souls, do not allow Him to grow the seeds of faith sown there, the only one capable of leading us into the eternal Kingdom of Christ. The Church has long considered pilgrimage to holy places to be one of the most effective means of overcoming spiritual relaxation.

Pilgrimage as a kind of Christian exploit, associated with all sorts of hardships and sorrowful circumstances, arose a long time ago. The further the years of mankind were carried from the time of the Gospel events, the stronger and stronger the soul of a Christian was striving for the holy places.

Orthodox pilgrimage is an old and revered tradition in our Christ-loving people. When Russia was enlightened in the faith of Christ, zealous pilgrims flowed from the lands of Kiev, Chernigov, Novgorod along the unexplored roads to the holy places. In the 19th century, pilgrimage from Russia became widespread. However, the events of 1917, which destroyed the life of the Church in Russia, became dramatic for the history of the pilgrimage. Today, after a long period of theomachy, in Russia the desire of people to visit the places of the earthly feat of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Theotokos, the holy saints of God is growing again.

What is a pilgrimage, and how should it be understood? The word pilgrim, pilgrim comes from the Latin word palmarius-pilgrim, i.e. a person holding a palm branch, since the pilgrims who visited the Holy Land moved along it with palm branches in their hands and very often returned home with these branches, carrying them as a consecrated object, as a shrine.

In addition to the word pilgrim, other words are used that denote a person who makes a sacred, sacred visit to certain places. This is a worshiper, a worshiper. In addition, the word wanderer is also associated with pilgrimage, because wanderers, making travels, passed, as a rule, from monastery to monastery, from shrine to shrine.

We recommend pilgrims to take with them on their trip:

Approx. ed., - Pilgrimage is a journey to holy places. Pilgrimage in Orthodox Christianity is often called "Orthodox tourism", which is not entirely true, because the pilgrimage is not very much like a tourist trip. Pilgrims set off for the sake of prayer, communication with God and the opportunity to see Orthodox shrines. One must prepare spiritually for such a journey. Often, pilgrims overcome difficulties, keep a fast, and specifically take certain vows. Many go on pilgrimage to work in a monastery or for missionary work, teaching about Christ along the way. Pilgrimage is an ancient tradition. Many temples and monasteries have special pilgrimage services. Pilgrimage traditions have already formed, and the first pilgrimages took place in apostolic times.

An ordinary nightmare

Personal. 2003 year. Decade of death of Hieromonk Basil, monks Trofim and Ferapont. All of Moscow is removed from the scene and goes to Optina Pustyn. There are so many newcomers in the monastery that some set up tents right on the square in front of the gate.

The decision to travel is made spontaneously, when a leaflet with a travel schedule of the pilgrim service with a good-looking name falls into my hands. Call:

In an amicable way, it was necessary to be on the alert as soon as it became clear that the bus leaves the center of Moscow at 22:00 on Saturday. Moreover, there was an opportunity to leave for the whole weekend.

Theoretically, such a departure time allowed us to attend Vespers. Practically - we were just getting across the city to the landing site. Then ... to go back.

The third ring did not exist then, and the driver had no choice but to get out of the city along the radius. Which he did until about one in the morning. So the commercial calculation to collect travelers from all regions multiplied by the evening "rush hour" cost us three or four extra hours of travel.

Five in the morning. The bus finally pulls up to the monastery. According to the guide, there is an hour left before the beginning of the early liturgy. Someone is trying to take a nap in the chair. The most experienced people remember that immersion in the springs after the sacrament is usually not blessed.

Hearing the question: "Where is the source here?" - the accompanying girl is frankly frightened. On this route, she was for the first time, she was provided with some information about the temples and the schedule of services, but for everything else, it is simply useless to pester her.

A group of the most awakened in a line get off the bus and stretch out along the road leading away from the gate. The outline of the monastery is slowly melting in the thick early morning fog. Fortunately, at this early hour, one of the locals comes across and, frankly stunned by the sight of a procession of twenty-five people, who had trodden halfway to Kozelsk by that time, asks the question: "Where are you, ... good people?"

Then we endlessly stand in lines - first for confession. (Actually, the morning confession in the monastery is designed for those who go to the late Liturgy, but we will not make it in time - the bus will leave. Fortunately, the line skips us).

Then - during the liturgy itself - behind candles, notes and prosphora. If the escort knew about the existence of the shop in the basement of the Kazan Cathedral, at five in the morning it would hardly have helped us.

Closer to noon, having examined Optina at a gallop and, it seems, Skeet, a group of completely exhausted and hungry people (they warned us that they would not feed us in the monastery and we had to take food with us) departs for Shamordino ...

The pilgrimage originated a long time ago, and the main difference between such a trip is that a person seeks to relax not only with his body, but also with his soul. A pilgrimage trip to Jerusalem implies a mandatory visit to the holy places. The number of pilgrims is only increasing every year, and the routes are becoming more and more interesting.

Features of pilgrimage trips to Jerusalem

Jerusalem is one of the main holy cities for any Christian. The desire to approach and touch the shrines can arise in a person for various spiritual and moral reasons. The peculiarity of such a trip is the difficult test of the road, which is no less important than the destination.

Pilgrimage trips to Jerusalem are obviously similar to the spiritual abuse of an ascetic. Between the shrine and the wanderer lies a path full of trials, labors and hardships. His road is winding, but at the same time it is an ascent up a mountain, an approach to heaven in overcoming worldly temptations.

Pilgrimages differ not only in their distances, but also in the goals that push people on such a journey.

A person who sets out on such a journey is most often motivated by the following reasons:

  • looking for an answer to an important question;
  • trying to change the future life for the better;
  • getting advice or guidance;
  • strengthening in faith;
  • striving to be cleansed from sins.

To help Orthodox pilgrims, the Russian Spiritual Mission was established in Jerusalem in 1849. During the time of the Empire, the Orthodox Palestinian society made agreements with the railways that reduced the cost of tickets for believing pilgrims who could not afford the full price.

Russian farmsteads located in the city in the XIX-XX centuries received from 2,000 to 10,000 pilgrims annually. This age-old tradition was for a long time during the First World War, but is now being actively restored.

Jerusalem Shrines

Pilgrimage trips to Jerusalem are available from almost any city in Israel. Moreover, in many cases, a measured spa vacation can often be combined with a trip to holy places. Pilgrimage routes usually include visiting several shrines at once.

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