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Kirk in the Hills
13 Day Pilgrimage to Egypt

Price $4,295

February 5 - 17, 2023

Welcome to one of the world’s great religious pilgrimages!  On our pilgrimage to Egypt, we’ll encounter the earliest religious experiences of the ancient Egyptians: their sacred spaces, concepts of God, moral wisdom, and yearnings for the afterlife.  We’ll discover the roots of our own biblical origins in Egypt, the country that saved Jacob’s family from starvation, educated Moses, and shielded Jesus and the holy family from Herod’s wrath. 

 

We’ll walk in the steps of Egypt’s earliest Christians, the members of the Coptic Church who trace themselves back to the mission of the Apostle Mark.  We’ll meet our sisters and brothers in the vibrant Evangelical Church of Egypt, the fruit of Presbyterian missions in Egypt in the 19th century.  Throughout this pilgrimage, we’ll learn what it means to live as a Christian today in a Muslim country and culture. 

 

Along the way, we’ll encounter the monumental remains of Pharaonic Egypt, historical treasures almost too old and magnificent to believe.  Throughout our trip, we’ll also experience modern Egypt, the Nile that gives it life, its mosques, squares, outdoor markets, and cuisine.  We’ll return as pilgrims with a greater appreciation of our Christian heritage and a deeper love for the world.

Dr. Theodore Hiebert

Our Itinerary

Sunday February 5: Depart for Cairo, Egypt

 

Monday February 6: Arrive in Cairo, Egypt

 

Tuesday February 7: The Pyramids of Giza, Memphis, and Sakkara

Constructed by the Pharaohs of the 3rd and 4thDynasties of the Old Kingdom (c. 2700-2500 BC) as monuments to their rule and to their life after death, the Pyramids of Giza and Sakkara stood in all of their glory for a thousand years before biblical history began. They’re too amazing to be true! Memphis was Egypt’s capital during the 1stto 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom and again during Egypt’s golden age during the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom. We’ll see with our own eyes the great monuments of Egypt’s power and prestige as one of the first great civilizations of antiquity. (B, L, D)

 

Wednesday February 8: The Coptic Church in Egypt

Tracing its beginning to the Apostle Mark in AD 64, the Coptic Orthodox Church goes back to the very origins of Christianity. We’ll sit in the pews and smell in incense in some of its oldest churches, including the Hanging Church and the Abou Serge churches that date back to the 3rd and 4th centuries. We’ll get a closeup look at some of Christianity’s earliest manuscripts, icons, and artifacts in the Coptic Museum. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Cave Church and St. Simon Monastery at Mokkattam Mountain established in the 20th century by Cairo’s garbage collectors. (B, L, D)

 

Thursday February 9: Islam in Egypt

For fifteen centuries the church has lived in Egypt under Muslim rule and in a Muslim culture. Today, we’ll learn about Egypt’s Muslim culture by walking in the Old Islamic Town, entering some of Egypt’s great mosques, and visiting Al Azhar University, the world’s second oldest degree granting university and the most prestigious university for Islamic learning. We’ll end the day by exploring and shopping in Cairo’s great traditional outdoor market, the Khan el-Khalili. Get ready to bargain. (B, L, D)

 

Friday February 10: The Evangelical Theological Seminary and the Protestant Church

Begun as a mission of the United Presbyterian Church of North America in the late nineteenth century, the Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile) became independent in 1958 and flourishes throughout Egypt. We’ll pay an extended visit to its seminary, the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, the country’s oldest Protestant seminary, to speak with its faculty, students, and future church leaders, and to learn about the mission and work of the Protestant church in Egypt today. In the afternoon, we’ll sail on the Nile in a traditional felucca boat, visit a Papyrus shop, and see modern downtown Cairo. (B, L, D)

 

Saturday February 11: The Egyptian Monastic Tradition and Alexandria

On our bus ride from Cairo to Alexandria, we’ll stop in the desert at Wadi El Natrun to experience life inside the monasteries established there by the Desert Fathers during the 4th to the 7th centuries, still thriving as monastic communities today. Before checking into our hotel in Alexandria, we’ll stop to see the magnificent remains of the ancient city and amphitheater from the time Rome ruled the Mediterranean world. (B, L, D)

 

Sunday February 12: The Protestant Church in Alexandria

On Sunday morning, we’ll worship with our sisters and brothers in the Evangelical Church of Egypt and learn about the social work they are doing in their community. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a magnificent modern library completed in 2001, paying tribute to the ancient library of Alexandria, one of the ancient world’s greatest research centers. Alexandria was an intellectual powerhouse, home to scholars such as Euclid, Archimedes, and the great early Christian theologians Clement and Origin. (B, D)

 

Monday February 13: The National Museum and Trip to Luxor

We could spend days at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo! It houses the greatest and most valuable antiquities of ancient Egypt, including the treasures of King Tutankhamun, the sculpture of Nefertiti, countless inscriptions and monuments, and the Stele of Merenptah with the earliest mention of the ancient Israelites outside of the Bible. In the afternoon, we’ll board our flight to Luxor to begin our visit to Upper Egypt with its magnificent temples and sacred spaces. (B, L, D)

 

Tuesday February 14: The West Bank of the Nile

The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom built their tombs and mortuary temples on the Nile’s west bank, the direction of the setting sun and the gateway to the kingdom of the west where Osiris admitted them to the day of judgment and renewal of life. We’ll descend into the dark tombs in the Valley of the Kings, walk up the broad ascent to the Temple of Hatshepsut—one of the world’s most perfect architectural achievements, explore Medinet Habu with its reliefs of the ancient Philistines, and stop to see the original site of the Merenptah Stele at Merenptah’s mortuary temple. (B, L, D)

 

Wednesday February 15: The Great Temples on the Nile’s East Bank

So lofty are their facades and towering their columns that these temples place the proudest human in awe and make every visitor feel small in the world. In the morning we’ll visit Karnak, Egypt’s most magnificent temple with two reliefs depicting biblical events. In the afternoon, we’ll receive a personal introduction to the Luxor Temple from the Director of the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute of Chicago, responsible for the preservation and study of this great landmark. The paint on some columns of these temples is as brilliant as it was when it was applied 3,000 years ago. (B, L, D)

 

Thursday February 16: Luxor to Cairo

Our flight back to Cairo in the morning gives us time in the afternoon to relax and debrief our pilgrimage and to end our trip with an evening Farewell Dinner. (B, D)

Friday February 17: Cairo to Detroit

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What's Included

  • International roundtrip airfare from Detroit to Cairo

  • Accommodation for (7) nights in Cairo at 5* hotel

  • Accommodation for (1) night in Alexandria at 5* hotel

  • Accommodation for (3) nights in Luxor at 5* hotel

  • 15 lunch and dinner meals as outlined in the program at local restaurants/hotels in Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor

  • Admission fees for all the sights mentioned in the program in Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor

  • Service of English-speaking Egyptologist guide and English speaking assistant throughout the pilgrimage

  • All transfers and sightseeing in private, 45-48 seat, air-conditioned coach

  • All service charges, applicable taxes & VAT

  • Entry visa cost

  • Domestic flights Cairo>Luxor>Cairo

Not Included

  • Tips to the guide, driver, escort or assistant, porters, etc.

  • Beverage and drinks

  • Any additional optional activity or any additional sights