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