Our first full day in Israel involved several religious sites associated with the Life and Teachings of Christ. We first went to the Mount of the Beatitudes where the famous “sermon on the mount” took place. The church here (less than 100 years old) is striking both outside
It was built by an Italian architect in a lovely setting overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
Father John performed Mass at an outdoor altar here.
From here we traveled to Tabgha where we visited the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves & Fishes.
Beautiful mosaics cover the floor of the area surrounding the altar. The altar itself sits atop flat rock, the table where Christ fed 5,000 people.
Nearby is another significant pilgrimage site, known as the Heptapegon (means “seven springs”). The black basalt church commemorates the Primacy of St Peter, where Christ uttered the famous words, “on this rock I will build my church.”
Lee actually waded in the Sea of Galilee at this spot.
Next, we went a short distance to Capernaum, once an extremely wealthy village on the Galilean Sea. It was here that Simon Peter (St Peter) and several other future apostles, lived. We saw the remains of a 5th Century octagonal church which was built directly over St Peter’s home (now there is a modern church which sits above the site).
Nearby are the ruins of a large synagogue which dates to the 4th Century. It is one of Israel’s best preserved ancient synagogues.
After lunch (not very good) at Restaurant de Maria (Gary tried Peter’s fish), we continued around the lake, passing within a few feet of the Jordanian border. At the southern end of the lake, we stopped at the River Jordan Baptismal Spot, a place called Yardenit, where members of our group renewed their Baptismal vows.