Jorgen Nilsson, a 39-year-old Knight Hospitaller of the Order of Saint Lazarus this week completed ajourney of six months, 4,500 miles and seven million steps from Sweden to Jerusalem.
Nilsson departed from the city of Lund in southern Sweden on November 18 of last year. He arrived in Jerusalem just in time for the first international conference on developing the holy city as a sustainable (green) and accessible pilgrimage destination.
His journey took Nilsson through Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Greece and Jordan. This past weekend, he arrived in the Israeli port city of Haifa.
Nilsson explained why he chose to undertake such an adventure: "Jerusalem has always been a critical point of both peace and conflict. It is a symbol of the effort needed to attain world peace."
The modern-day knight also explained that the previous year, his order had, after hundreds of years in exile, moved its headquarters back from France to Jerusalem. "Accordingly, in my desire to commemorate our return to the Holy City, I decided to walk to Jerusalem."
An engineer by trade, Nilsson also serves in Sweden's army reserves, and saw service in Kosovo. Nilsson said he was very excited about his arrival in Israel. Following a brief rest, Nilsson was scheduled to be awarded the "key to the city" by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Nilsson documented his journey on the website www.towardsjerusalem.org