A pilgrimage is a journey to a place where a person searches for new or expanded meaning about themself, others, nature, or a higher good through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.
Christian pilgrimage was first made to sites connected with the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Aside from the early example of Origen in the third century, surviving descriptions of Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land date from the 4th century, when pilgrimage was encouraged by church fathers, including Saint Jerome, and established by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great.
Pope Benedict XVI summarized the purpose of Christian pilgrimage in this way:
To go on a pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage means to step out of ourselves to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians pilgrimage to the Holy Land, places associated with the Lord's passion, death and resurrection. They go to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and also to Compostela, which, associated with the memory of Saint James, has welcomed pilgrims from throughout the world who desire to strengthen their spirit with the Apostle's witness of faith and love.
Pilgrimages were, and are, also made to Rome and other sites associated with the apostles, saints and Christian martyrs, as well as to places where there have been apparitions of the Virgin Mary. A popular pilgrimage journey is along the Way of St. James to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain, where the shrine of the apostle James is located. A combined pilgrimage was held every seven years in the three nearby towns of Maastricht, Aachen and Kornelimünster where many important relics could be seen (see: Pilgrimage of the Relics, Maastricht). Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales recounts tales told by Christian pilgrims on their way to the Canterbury Cathedral and the shrine of Thomas Becket. Marian pilgrimages remain very popular in Latin America.
The Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Edicule, also known as the Tomb of Christ, within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is the holiest site for many mainstream denominations within Christianity. The area of the Church is regarded as the site, according to their understanding, where Jesus Christ suffered, was crucified, died, buried and resurrected from the dead along a temporal pathway known as the Via Dolorosa (from the Latin; lit. "way of sorrows"). The first eight Stations of the Cross can be followed along the route leading up to the Church, inside of which are the final five Stations.
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, Roman Catholic Church, and Armenian Apostolic Church from the custodians of the Holy Sepulchre and collectively control the holiest pilgrimages within the church along with the Coptic, Syriac, and Ethiopian Orthodox churches, which also hold some chapels. Within the walls of the church are the many traditional locations for the events associated with the Passion and death of Jesus: The Stone of Unction (the anointing place of Christ's body), the Prison of Christ (where Jesus was held, incarcerated, before his Passion), a treasure room which holds relics including fragments of the True Cross, and of course Calvary or Golgotha (where Christ was crucified) and the Sepulchre itself.
We offer two kinds: Catholic and Christian (or a mix of both)
See Eastern Canada: all roads lead to a church
Next church(es) visit will be on our calendar