Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Church of the Beatitudes (1938)

The Church of the Beatitudes is a Roman Catholic church maintained and overseen by the Franciscan Order, located by the Sea of Galilee near Tabgha and Capernaum in Israel. 

The word ‘beatitudes’ originates from the Latin words “beati”, which means ‘blessed’, which is the prefix of each verse.

The traditional location for the Mount of Beatitudes is on the north western shore of the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Gennesaret (Ginosar). The actual location of the Sermon on the Mount is not certain, but the present site (also known as Mount Eremos) has been commemorated for more than 1600 years. The site is very near Tabgha. Other suggested locations have included the nearby Mount Arbel, or even the Horns of Hattin.

Located on a small hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and built on the traditional site of Jesus delivery of the Sermon on the Mount.  Pilgrims are known to have commemorated this site since at least the 4th century.

The current church sits near the ruins of a small Byzantine era church dating to the late 4th century, which contains a rock-cut cistern beneath it and the remains of a small monastery to its southeast. Part of the original mosaic floor has also been recovered and is now on display in Capernaum. 

Design and Construction
The modern church was built between 1936 and 1938 near the site of the fourth century Byzantine ruins. The floor plan is octagonal, the eight sides representing the eight Beatitudes.  The church is Byzantine in style with a marble veneer casing the lower walls and gold mosaic in the dome. In front of the church are mosaic symbols on the pavement representing Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, Faith, Hope, and Charity.

The ceiling walls have a shape of an octagon, and on each side there is a window with one of the eight verses in Latin.

The church was commissioned by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and designed by the architect Antonio Barluzzi.

Biblical Account Matthew 51:12 (NIV)
1Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.  
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Source :
1. Wikipedia
2. Sacred

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish (1982)

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.


The earliest recording of a church commemorating Jesus' feeding of the five thousand is by the Spanish pilgrim Egeria circa AD 380.

"Not far away from there (Capernaum) are some stone steps where the Lord stood. And in the same place by the sea is a grassy field with plenty of hay and many palm trees. By them are seven springs, each flowing strongly. And this is the field where the Lord fed the people with the five loaves and two fishes. In fact the stone on which the Lord placed the bread has now been made into an altar. Past the walls of this church goes the public highway on which the Apostle Matthew had his place of custom. Near there on a mountain is a cave to which the Savior climbed and spoke the Beatitudes."

The church was significantly enlarged around the year 480 with floor mosaics also added at this time. These renovations are attributed to the patriarch Matryrios.

In AD 614 Persians destroyed the original Byzantine church, and the exact site of the shrine was lost for some 1,300 years.

In 1888 the site was acquired by the German Catholic society (Deutsche Katholische Palaestinamission) which was associated with the Archdiocese of Cologne.

An initial archeological 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.

The current church was built in 1982 to the same floor plan as the 5th-century Byzantine church.  Since 1939 it has been administered by the Benedictine order as a daughter-house of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem.

On 17 June 2015, the church was significantly damaged by an arson attack committed by Jewish extremists. Hebrew graffiti, with the words “the false gods will be eliminated” (quoted from the Aleinu prayer), was sprayed on the church walls and follows a history of right-wing Jewish extremist arson and graffiti attacks against Christian sites.  Four Israeli Jews age 18 to 24 (plus an unnamed minor) were arrested by the Israel police and indicted for the arson. The suspects are reportedly associated with the Jewish extremist, ultra-nationalist "Hilltop Youth".

The interior of the church has a central nave and two aisles. The sanctuary is backed by an apse with transepts on either side. Under the altar is a block of limestone found during excavation,  that is venerated as the stone on which the miraculous meal was laid.

One of the main highlights of the church are its restored 5th century mosaics. These mosaics are the earliest known examples of figured pavement in Christian art in the Holy Land. The mosaics in the two transepts depict various wetland birds and plants, with a prominent place given to the lotus flower. This flower, which is not indigenous to the area, suggests the artist's use of a Nilotic landscape popular in Roman and early-Byzantine art. All the other motifs depict plants and animals from the Galilee. The mosaics found in front of the altar depict two fish flanking a basket containing loaves of bread.

Fifth century remains 
Also preserved in the modern church are the sill of the left entrance to the atrium, basalt paving stones, and part of the apse frieze. The foundations of the original 4th-century church can also be seen under a glass panel to the right of the altar. Basalt presses and a font are also displayed in the courtyard.

Biblical Accounts
Matthew 14:13-21
Mark 6:30-44
Luke 9:10-17
John 6:1-15

source : Wikipedia