Christian places Capernaum and Tabgha
One of the most important place for the Christian world in the Sea of Galilee is the city of Capernaum. He is mentioned in the New Testament as the birthplace of the apostles Peter, Andrew, John and James. This city is very ancient, archaeologists are constantly working here. Some of the ancient finds are kept in many museums around the world.
Jesus came to Capernaum after leaving Nazareth. And the city became the center of the preaching work of Christ, here he performed many of his miracles: healed the mother-in-law of Peter lying in a fever, healed and called for the apostolic ministry of Matthew, healed the servant of the Roman centurion who was at death, who built a synagogue for the Jews. But despite all this, only a few believed in Jesus’ preaching. The inhabitants of Capernaum drove him out of the synagogue. For this, the city was cursed and likened to Sodom.
Today’s Capernaum is a flourishing oasis for Christian pilgrims around the world and curious tourists and a paradise for archaeologists. Part of the ancient city is excavated.
The remains of the house of Simon Peter were discovered, where Christ often stopped and healed many people. Here is the foundation of the temple erected by the first Christians on the site of the house of St. Peter.
Above the foundation of the ancient temple today built an ultramodern Catholic church “House of St. Peter the Apostle.”
The ruins of the Byzantine church on the site of the house of the Apostle Peter can also be seen through a glass stained-glass window in the floor of a Catholic church.
Remains of the White Synagogue rise near the temple. In the 4th century, it was a huge synagogue, built, according to scholars, on the basis of an older synagogue, in which Jesus preached.
In size, it is much larger than the churches of the same period, although it was built in the form of a typical two-story basilica. Obviously, the synagogue was erected on a grand scale and was decorated very expensively. In fact, scientists have not yet fully figured out this magnificent building. What exact time was it built? Why is the synagogue more decorated and richer than the church? Perhaps it was a public building that housed the synagogue? However, for many pilgrims all this is not so important, people come here to worship the holy place.
In another part of the historical park of Capernaum, where it is pleasant to walk on foot, there is the Orthodox Greek Church of the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles. Very neat, green building with red domes, built in the 1980s.
A vivid impression leaves a slightly wild church park with shady alleys, flowering plants and peacocks strolling.
There are a lot of holy places along the lake, for a short trip you will not go around. But it is impossible to ignore another iconic place in Galilee. This is Tabgha (in Hebrew – Ein Sheva), where the Church of the Multiplication of Bread and Fish stands. It was here that several important events took place for Christians. The most famous of them is the miracle of the multiplication of breads and fish.
Jesus came here upon learning of the death of John the Baptist in order to pray alone. His disciples followed, and the people followed with requests for healing. Without refusing anyone, Jesus spent all day healing, and toward evening people were hungry. But the place was deserted, and no one took provisions with them. And then Jesus said: “There are 5 loaves of bread and two fish,” and he fed everyone. There were 5 thousand people, but everyone was full and still remained. Around 350, under Emperor Constantine, a basilica with a mosaic floor was built on this site, most of which has survived to this day, although some pieces have been restored already in our time.
And that stone, on which Jesus laid baskets with bread and fish, was a church altar, next to it is a famous mosaic.
This is one of the most famous mosaics in the world, depicting two fish and five loaves. She became a symbol of the Holy Land. In fact, only four breads are depicted – in order to form a cross. The modern church building was built in 1982 at the expense of the monastic order of the Benedictines. Nearby is the Benedictine monastery, its monks oversee the church.
The principal decision of the project was to concentrate all the attention of visitors on the main shrine of the place – the stone on which Jesus laid the bread and fish mentioned in the Gospels. It was also necessary to correctly include fragments of the early buildings of the church and preserve the ancient mosaics.
Speaking of fish. The most common fish of the Sea of Galilee is St. Peter’s fish. According to the Gospel legend, it was this particular fish – tilapia from the perch-like detachment that I caught in St. Peter Lake when I was still a simple fisherman. According to legend, two dark spots behind the gills are the forever remaining fingerprints of the Apostle Peter. The fish of St. Peter is found in many reservoirs of the world, but with markings, only in Kineret. You can taste this delicious fish in many restaurants in Tiberias, as well as in coastal cafes along the lake, located in the shade by the water.