St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Shrine Church & MyOCN Experience Spiritual Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands and Constantinople

Day 1 Overview by Christine Zeiner

Today was the first full day of our 41 person pilgrimage to the Holy Land!

Our first stop was Capernaum, the place of Christ’s earthly ministry in Galilee. It is here where He called His Apostles to follow Him and performed many miracles such as walking on the stormy sea, and healing of the sick including St Peter’s mother-in-law. While preaching in Capernaum, Jesus stayed at the home of St Peter’s mother-in-law. We saw the ruins of this house, over which a church was built with a Byzantine tile floor, identifying it as the home of St Peter’s mother-in-law. Nearby we saw the ruins of a typical synagogue where Christ preached.

One of the highlights of the day for many was a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, the exact and unspoiled body of water where St Peter and some of the other Apostles fished and sailed with Christ on the Sea. We felt peace and spiritual “fullness” while on the boat as we reflected on the experience, and envisioned all that took place there over 2000 years ago!!

Also in Capernaum, we visited the Church of the Holy Apostles, the Church of Tabgha (“Seven Seas”), where the miracle of the 5 loaves and fish took place, and the Church of the Holy Apostles in Tiberius, which is dedicated to the miracle of Christ appearing to His Apostles on the Sea of Galilee after His Resurrection. It was then that St Peter walked on water to meet Christ, but when he took his eyes off of Christ for a moment and allowed fear to enter his heart, he started to drown. Jesus then reached out His Hand and saved St Peter from drowning! In a similar way, the same can happen to us if we take our eyes off of Christ and allow fear to enter our hearts.

Our last stop of the day was the Church of the Beatitudes, where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, which can be found in the Book of St Matthew, Chapter 5, 6, and 7. Fr. John read them to us there outside of the Church, in a beautiful and similar way that Christ spoke these same words to the people during His earthly ministry. Many important lessons for life are contained in these three chapters!!

After dinner, we sat in a group, prayed, thanked the Lord for the blessing of the pilgrimage, and each shared a highlight of our day!


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