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.
Early sources reveal that Constantine’s church of the Holy Sepulchre was sumptuously decorated with fine marbled panels, columns and a coffered ceiling. A cross was set up on the rock of Golgotha to commemorate the exact site of the Crucifixion and was replaced over the following centuries with one decorated with gems, a golden cross and a simple wooden one in the seventh century. Christ’s tomb was in two parts: the first a porch that contained part of the stone that formed the door to the tomb and the second the tomb itself. It had a roof of silver and gold, outer walls made of marble and it was topped with a cross.
The modern church has been significantly modified and little of the Late Antique fabric has survived as much of it was rebuilt in the nineteenth and twentieth century following a fire and an earthquake that caused much damage.
Tags: Architecture, C12th, C19th-C20th, C2nd, C4th, Christ, Christian, Church, Constantine, Cross, Crucifixion, Crusades, Domed Basilica, Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre, Holy Site, Israel, Jerusalem, Joseph of Arimathea, Mosaic, Pilgrimage, Resurrection, St. Helena, Tomb
The first church of the Holy Sepulchre built by the Emperor Constantine was dedicated in the year 328 AD. It was accessed off one of Jerusalem’s main thoroughfares, the Cardo. The entrance led to a narthex, the basilica, an atrium and culminated with the Anastasis (or Resurrection) Rotunda that surrounded the much smaller edifice of Christ’s Tomb. Unfortunately, very little of this church now remains. The Late Antique foundations exist below ground level of the current church and are cut off from public view. Throughout its history, the church has undergone many remodelling and rebuilding programmes, much of which was caused by its turbulent history during the Persian invasion in the seventh century and the Muslim conquest of the city in the eleventh century. Much of the visible external architecture dates to the Crusader period.
Tags: Architecture, C12th, C19th-C20th, C2nd, C4th, Christ, Christian, Church, Constantine, Crucifixion, Crusades, Domed Basilica, Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre, Holy Site, Israel, Jerusalem, Pilgrimage, Resurrection, St. Helena, Tomb
A short distance from the church of the Annunciation in Nazareth is the church of the Nutrition. It was given this name as its original Late Antique church was constructed over the home and workshop of Joseph and was the place where Christ spent much of his childhood. This church incorporated grottos, cisterns and a ritual bath or baptismal font. It was used in the Crusader period, prior to its destruction by fire in the thirteenth century. The Franciscans rebuilt the current church in the twentieth century.
In the mid-fourth century, a church was constructed around a grotto in the town of Nazareth that was said to be the Virgin Mary’s house and the place where the archangel Gabriel appeared to her during the Annunciation. This holy site was clearly well established as a place of worship towards the end of the fourth century as the pilgrim Egeria describes an altar within a grand and splendid grotto. The Piacenza pilgrim who journeyed to Nazareth in the late sixth century states that there is a basilica at the House of Mary that contains many garments that once belonged to the Virgin. Today, remnants of wall paintings, mosaics, and the architecture from this early church building are visible.
Tags: Annunciation, Architecture, C20th, C4th, C5th-C6th, Cave, Christ, Christian, Cross, Foliage, Fresco, Geometric Motif, Greek Inscription, Holy Site, Inscription, Israel, Mosaic, Nazareth, Pilgrimage, St. Gabriel, Staurogram, Virgin Mary
Mount Tabor is an isolated oval-shaped mountain in the Jezreel valley and is situated to the south-west of the Sea of Galilee. It is associated as the place of Christ’s Transfiguration before Peter, James and John in the presence of Elijah and Moses. Pilgrims who venerated the site in the fourth century describe three churches built on the summit of the mountain that were dedicated to Christ, Moses and Elijah. The mosaics photographed here are from this period. The Crusaders founded a Benedictine abbey on the site, remnants of which are visible today. The Franciscans built a new church in the twentieth century and the place of the Transfiguration is located in the crypt.
Tags: Architecture, Baptistery, C12th, C20th, C4th, Christ, Christian, Church, Cross, Geometric Motif, Holy Site, Israel, Jezreel Valley, Mosaic, Mount Tabor, Mountain, St. Elijah, St. James, St. John, St. Peter, Transfiguration
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