Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 4

Early morning starts a long day seeing the sites of Jesus’ teaching and miracles around the Sea of Galilee. All these sites were close to our hotel, so the drive time was minimal. We had a great lunch and an even better dinner at Magdalena. The food was a modern twist on the region’s dishes. Highly recommend to anyone visiting the area.

Capernaum and St. Peter’s Memorial Church

Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1500 Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is believed to have been the home of Saint Peter.

Fr. Bill presided over the mass at St. Peter’s Memorial Church which was the most powerful mass I have been to. Being on top of St. Peter’s home and the background of the Sea of Galilee made it special to be there and think back to the teachings of Jesus and his disciples as they would move out and spread his message.

Peter’s Primacy

The Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter is a Franciscan church located in Tabgha, Israel, on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It commemorates and allegedly marks the spot, of Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter as chief among the Apostles.

The modern structure was built in 1933 and incorporates parts of an earlier 4th-century church. At the base of its walls, opposite the main altar, the foundations of the 4th-century church are visible. In the 9th century, the church was called the Place of the Coals. This name refers to the incident of Jesus’ preparation of a meal for the apostles, building a charcoal fire on which to cook the fish. Also first mentioned in the year 808 is the “Twelve Thrones”, a series of heart-shaped stones, which were placed along the shore to commemorate the Twelve Apostles. The church survived longer than any other in the area, finally being destroyed in 1263. The present Franciscan chapel was built on the site in 1933. This church was included in the itineraries of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II during their visits to Israel in 1964 and March 2000 respectively.

The church contains a projection of limestone rock in front of the present altar which is venerated as a “Mensa Christi”, Latin for a table of Christ. According to tradition this is the spot where Jesus is said to have laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the Apostles, and told Peter to “Feed my sheep” after the miraculous catch, the third time he appeared to them after his resurrection. (John 21:1–24)

Mount of Beatitudes

The Mount of Beatitudes is a hill in northern Israel, in the Korazim Plateau. It is the traditional site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up to a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

The site known as the Mount of Beatitudes is on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and the archeological site of Gennesaret (Ginosar), on the southern slopes of the Korazim Plateau. Its negative altitude (around 25 meters below sea level, nearly 200 meters above the Sea of Galilee) makes it one of the lowest summits in the world. This site, very near Tabgha and also known as Mount Eremos, has been commemorated for more than 1600 years. Other suggested locations for the Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount have included the nearby Mount Arbel or even the Horns of Hattin.

Tabgha – Church of Loaves and Fishes

The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, shortened to the Church of the Multiplication, is a Roman Catholic church located at Tabgha, on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The modern church rests on the site of two earlier churches.

An initial archaeological survey was conducted in 1892, with full excavations beginning in 1932. These excavations resulted in the discovery of mosaic floors from the 5th-century church, which was also found to be built on the foundations of a much smaller 4th-century chapel.

Jesus Boat Museum and Sailing on the Sea of Galilee

In 1986, two brothers from the Kibbutz discovered the remains of the ancient boat on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. 27 feet long and 7.5 feet wide, the boat was constructed of ten different kinds of wood and was meant to allow fishing close to the shore. The extraction and preservation process of the boat was long and complex, and now it can be seen at the Kibbutz’s museum.

The dating of the boat using radiocarbon dating brought the real exciting news: the boat dates back to the time of Jesus Christ. Indeed, it fits the many descriptions of boats from the Holy Scriptures, as the one mentioned in the Gospel of Luke. A sign that the boat relates to sacred times was given at the time of its discovery: the two brothers who discovered the boat reported seeing a double rainbow in the sky on the same day.

After visiting the Museum we sailed the Sea of Galilee seeing the sights of Capernaum, Peter’s Primacy, and Mount of Beatitudes from the view that Jesus would have had when he sailed on the Sea of Galilee


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