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Journey through the Holy Land

Magdala, Mount of the Beatitudes, Peter Primacy and Capernaum.

sunny 80 °F

We had a busy morning touring the important sites around the See of Galilee.
Our first stop was the first century synagogue of Magdala - home of Mary Magdaline. There is a beautiful church built in 2014 by Mexico, associated with the site.
Archaeological excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted in 2006 found that the settlement began during the Hellenistic period (between the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE) and ended during the late Roman period (3rd century CE). Later excavations in 2009–2013 brought perhaps the most important discovery in the site: an ancient synagogue, called the "Migdal Synagogue", dating from the Second Temple period. It is the oldest synagogue found in the Galilee, and one of the only synagogues from that period found in the entire country, as of the time of the excavation. They also found the Magdala stone, which has a seven-branched menorah symbol carved on it. It is the earliest menorah of that period to be discovered outside of Jerusalem. In 2021, another synagogue from the same period was discovered at Magdala. A collapse layer from the Second Temple period supported the narrative presented by Josephus regarding the Roman destruction of Magdala during the First Jewish–Roman War. Excavations show that after the destruction, during the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods, the city moved slightly to the north.

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The next stop was a visit to the church on the Mount of the Beatitudes.
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. A Byzantine church was erected lower down the slope from the current site in the 4th century, and it was used until the 7th century. Remains of a cistern and a monastery are still visible. The current Roman Catholic Franciscan chapel was built in 1937-38 following plans by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi. Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass at this site in March 2000. The Jesus Trail pilgrimage route connects the Mount to other sites traditionally associated with the life of Jesus.

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Nest was the Church of Peter 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, foundations of the 4th century church are visible. In the 9th century, the church was referred to as the Place of the Coals. This name refers to the incident of Jesus' preparation of meal for the apostles, building a charcoal fire on which to cook the fish. Also first mentioned in the year 808 are 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. The church contains a projection of limestone rock in front of the present altar which is venerated as a "Mensa Christi", Latin for 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.

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The final stop before entering Palestine on the way to Jerusalem and lunch near Jericho was Capernaum. It 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. The village was inhabited continuously from the second century BC to the 11th century AD, when it was abandoned sometime before the First Crusade.

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Finally we arrived in Jerusalem where we will be for 5 nights exploring the area and the old city.

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Posted by rpickett 15:29 Archived in Israel Tagged of see galilee

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