CAPERNAUM - THE TOWN OF JESUS
Capernaum National Park (Kfar Nachum) in the Israeli city of the same name, along with the remains of a fishing village from the time of the Second Temple, is located on the site that was the center of Jesus' ministry in Galilee. The synagogue that visitors see today was used during the Byzantine period. An earlier synagogue also stood here, scholars are divided over whether it was built in the 3rd or 4th century AD.
Capernaum with all its myths, mysteries, and historical past. Let's find out in more detail what this ancient Israeli city is known for, what legends go about it, what you can see by visiting it.
The city, which occupies a special place in the history of all Christianity, located on the shores of the famous (from the biblical pages) Sea of Galilee, is called Capernaum.
In ancient times, the "Naum Village" was located at the intersection of trade routes and was considered a cultural center. During the Roman Empire, a garrison was located here, the centurion of which later converted to Judaism and built a huge synagogue, known to everyone as the place where Jesus preached.
Jesus moved to this city with Mary when they were expelled from Nazareth. It was in the synagogue of Capernaum, according to the Gospel, that the Son of God preached biblical truths, healed the mother-in-law of St. Peter, did many good deeds, resurrected the daughter of Yair, and performed another miracle that is remembered to this day. Jesus healed a completely weak and destitute person.
The healing of the relaxed in Capernaum was remembered by all residents of the city, this message was spread instantly, but many did not understand why such power was possessed by a “mere mortal”. Relaxed - a person who could not move (was paralyzed) was brought to the son of God on the bed, and Jesus, seeing faith in the healing of those who brought the weak at his feet, performed a miracle.
Jesus uttered words in which the main meaning was that all our suffering is given for sins. From these words, it was clear that to heal a person, one needs to deliver him from the heavy burden of sin and forgive him. At the moment when the healing of the paralyzed in Capernaum took place, those present were skeptical about the possibilities of Jesus, gloating in their thoughts. But this did not prevent the miracle from coming true.
Since the relaxed one himself was aware of the whole burden of his sins, he had little faith in his own strength, in the possibility of fixing everything, and doubted, but Jesus said: “Dare, child! Your sins are forgiven you! " - and the feeble one got up!
Since that time, Capernaum has received its second name - "His city". However, Jesus did not live long in this place, and here he was misunderstood, rejected, and exiled. Leaving the place that Jesus loved, he exclaimed that this city, which had once ascended to heaven, would be overthrown to hell. This prophecy of the son of God came true, just like all the others - by the seventh century, there was practically nothing left of the settlement. The city seems to disappear from the face of the earth, mired in huge masses of sand and silt.
Only in the 19th century, Capernaum lands were bought from the Bedouins by Catholics, who also built a monastery here. At the time of construction, the remains of a synagogue were found, which were striking in their size, the splendor of the white Jerusalem stone, columns, mosaic floors, and other surviving elements of the structure.
WHAT CAN YOU SEE IN CAPERNAUM?
Speaking about the sights of the "Village of Nahum", I would like to note that the place itself is already something that deserves the attention of millions of believers and tourists. Having visited such an ancient city, you acquire something special for the soul that cannot be described. The feeling of "plunging" into antiquity is indescribable, it is worth experiencing them at least once.
The city is dominated by a 125-meter high mountain, known in the Christian world as the “Mount of Beatitude” or “Sermon on the Mount”. There is a monastery and a Franciscan church on it, and on the banks of the river, there is an Orthodox church of the 12 apostles.
Today, you can see echoes of the past in the ancient city of Jesus, such as the ruins of the White Synagogue, a Catholic church, ancient mills, the modern church of the Twelve Apostles, built in the early twentieth century, and local beauties.
MODERN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF CAPERNAUM
On the ruins of a Byzantine church and the former home of St. Peter's, a Catholic church was built, which has a rather peculiar and extraordinary architecture in a modernist sieve. The church rises above the ruins, it stands on columns and has the shape of a regular octagon. There is glass on the floor of the building, through which you can see the ancient ruins: the octagonal masonry of the church, the mosaic floor.
CHURCH OF THE 12 APOSTLES IN CAPERNAUM
This temple is visible from afar due to its extraordinary 12 domes in a red-pink hue. Inside, it is even more interesting. Each dome is a true work of art that cannot be looked at without delight. The 12 domes symbolize the number of the apostles, which makes it immediately clear that this church belongs to Orthodoxy.
The temple was built in 1925, but the stone iconostasis was donated to him by Russia 6 years later. It is very interesting, no less than its surroundings, where peacocks roam, exotic plants bloom and there is a descent to the water, where pilgrims can pray and wash their feet.
SYNAGOGUE OF CAPERNAUM
What remains of the synagogue where Jesus preached evokes some trepidation among its visitors, because once, right here, the Great Son healed a man possessed by the devil, healed, resurrected, and worked miracles. This once imposing building is constructed of white limestone called the Jerusalem stone, specially brought from a remote quarry. According to archaeologists, the synagogue took about a hundred years to build.
From the remains of the structure, columns, symbols/images on stones and other architectural fragments of the former huge stately building can be seen.
CAPERNAUM - GOSPEL EVENTS
As already mentioned, the foundation of the city took place over 2000 years ago. In the first years of our era, it reached its highest prosperity, which was due to its geographical location. Numerous trade routes passed through Capernaum from the shores of the Mediterranean to Syrian Damascus. During these times, Capernaum was a small fishing village.
The New Testament describes the events of how Jesus Christ came to the city of Capernaum. The Son of God arrived in the city of Israel after the wedding feast in Cana, not alone, but with his mother and brothers. According to the legends of the Gospel in this Israeli city, Jesus Christ carried out his main educational religious activity. During which he found his fellow disciples. In the future, named by the apostles: Andrew the First-Called, Peter, the sons of Zebedee - James, Matthew Levi, John the Theologian. After the crucifixion of Christ, a Jewish community of Christians was formed in Capernaum. Which is the III century, by joint efforts, built a church, which became a reliable defense of the Christian faith in the east.
The miracle of healing the relaxed.
The New Testament tells of one of the miracles that Jesus performed while in Capernaum. Once, while Christ was teaching in one of the houses, four came to him and brought with them a bed on which he lay relaxed. But Jesus, observing how the teachers of the law, Pharisees and ordinary people gathered in the house believe in him, said in his address to the patient only one phrase: "Get up, take your bed and go home, child!" And he got up, relaxed, grabbed the bed, on which his comrades had brought. And then he went to his home, thanking and glorifying Christ. And everyone in the house began to marvel at the divine power of Jesus, to glorify the Lord God for healing the sick.
STATE OF THE ART IN CAPERNAUM
The main area of the national park, which covers approximately 8 hectares, is located northeast of the site of the discovery of antiquities. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority have prepared a special area here that helps and complements the visit to antiquities. The national park is part of a new 3.5 km long promenade that connects Capernaum and Ein Sheva (Tabgha).
A port was built next to the ancient monuments, which allows visitors to arrive in Capernaum from Tiberias and Ein Sheva. Because the level of the lake changes frequently, the port was built to rise and fall with the water level.
An information stand with a gift shop, toilets, a restaurant, and a diner is currently being erected in the national park. A fishing village and an artists' village are also planned, where daily life during the Second Temple period will be recreated.
Nowadays, natural and domesticated plants grow in the park, thanks to which pilgrims can walk along the paths, feeling a connection with the sacred history of this place. One of the trees that grow naturally here is Christ's thorn marmalade, which is said to be the species that made the crown of thorns that Jesus was forced to wear when he was crucified.
All antiquities here are under the protection of the Franciscan Church. The national park around the antiquity site is under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Capernaum in Israel is a location worth visiting on a Christian Galilee tour. It is a place of pilgrimage for millions of Christians. Here, another era will be able to make you look at your life differently, which will help you to believe and comprehend those truths that your soul does not want to accept. Take a trip to the Capernaum Historical National Park, which is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm.