In 1986 during a particularly dry period along the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Galilee Boat, also termed the Jesus Boat, was discovered lying in the newly exposed lake-bed. A major salvage operation soon began to uncover, protect and preserve the boat. It measures 8m in length and is over 2m wide and it once had a mast and a sail. The boat was made from a variety of different woods (10+) and radiocarbon analysis has dated the vessel to the 1st Century CE. It informs our understanding of fishing and transportation crafts that served the Sea of Galilee during this particularly early period. Did Jesus and His Disciples use a similar vessel?
During Christ’s teachings and miracles in and around the Sea of Galilee, He delivered a collection of teachings that is commonly termed the Sermon on the Mount. This has come to represent the most important piece of teachings from Him and includes the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer. They were written in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapters 5-7. The mountainside on which it took place is known as Mount of the Beatitudes and was said to overlook the Sea of Galilee. Since the 4th Century, a mountainside just north-east of Tabgha has been venerated as the place of the Sermon and a church was built on the site. Very little of this original structure remains and it is difficult to gain access to. In the 20th Century, a new church was built near to the 4th Century church.
Situated on the north-western shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, a short distance from the church of the Multiplication, is a modern church built on the site Christ reinstated Peter as the head of the Apostles. Little of the original Late Antique church remains, thought its foundations have been incorporated into the new church. A projection of limestone rock lies at its eastern end, before the altar. This is believed to be the Mensa Christi (table of Christ) upon which Christ and the Disciples ate, following the miraculous catch.
Capernaum is an ancient fishing town situated on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee and the ancient highway, the Via Maris, passed through it. It is identified as the place where Christ settled and as it was referred to as “his own town” (Matthew 9:1). He taught in the synagogue (which was rebuilt in the fifth century), it is the place where He healed the paralysed man and it is also the site of Peter’s house. Today, Capernaum is in ruins. It is possible to see the foundations of the houses and the original synagogue that were all made from a local basalt stone. Many decorated stones from the fifth century synagogue are also dotted around the site.
Tags: Architecture, Basalt, C1st-C2nd, C4th-C5th, C5th-C6th, Capernaum, Christ, Christian, Church, Column, Foliage, Galilee, Holy Site, Inscription, Israel, Jew, Menorah, Pilgrimage, Shrine, Synagogue, Via Maris, Wall
Capernaum is an ancient fishing village situated on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. Within an insula of this village are a number of rooms that are traditionally associated with the house of Peter the Apostle. A simple, square room within this complex was given particular attention by the Christian community in the years immediately following his death. In the fourth century, this room became a Domus Ecclesia (a house church) and was the place for Christian prayer and gatherings. The numerous inscriptions on the painted plaster of this place suggest that it was a prominent centre of pilgrimage, even by this early period. In the fifth century, an octagonal church was built over the house church. It consisted of an inner octagon that was directly over the venerated room, a larger concentric octagon and an outer semi-octagon.
Tags: Architecture, Basalt, C1st-C2nd, C20th, C4th, C5th, Capernaum, Centrally-Planned, Christ, Christian, Church, Domus Ecclesia (house church), Galilee, Geometric Motif, Holy Site, Inscription, Israel, Mosaic, Octagonal, Pilgrimage, St. Peter, Wall
The place of the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes is located on the north-western shores of the Sea of Galilee. The first church constructed on the site was built in the mid-fourth century. It was small, its altar was formed from the rock upon which Christ laid the bread and fish and it was not oriented to the east. In the late-fifth Century, it was enlarged to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims who visited the site, it was given an eastern orientation and was laid with mosaics of flora and fauna. The modern church built on the site follows the plans of the later church.
A small chapel is located on a hillside to the south of the church at Kursi and is thought to commemorate the exact spot where the Miracle of the Swine took place. Today, it is in a very ruinous state and consists of an apse built into the hillside as well as pillars and a stone bench. The floor was decorated with mosaics and there is evidence for at least two layers of different designs. The lower and earlier layer is simply decorated with a predominantly beige ground and is highlighted with a grey border. The above and later layer consists of crosses within a highly detailed geometric design. It is believed to date to the same period as the church below (late 5th – mid 6th Century).
The monastic complex of Kursi is located to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and is identified as Gergessa or the Land of the Gadarenes of the New Testament where the Miracle of the Swine took place. The complex was built between the end of the 5th to the mid 6th Century and was fortified by a surrounding wall. It features a church with a large apse at the end of the nave, two side aisles and the later additions of a baptistery and crypt. The floors were paved with mosaics of geometric designs, floral motifs, fruits and birds. The large cistern, bath complex and oil press for the production of holy oil suggests that Kursi was once a popular Late Antique pilgrimage destination. It suffered much damage during the Persian invasion of the 7th Century.
Tags: Architecture, Baptismal Font, Baptistery, Basalt, Bath, Bird, Bread Basket, C5th-C6th, Christ, Christian, Church, Cistern, Column, Cross, Foliage, Fruit, Galilee, Geometric Motif, Greek Inscription, Holy Site, Israel, Kursi, Monastery, Mosaic, Oil Press, Pilgrimage, Wall