MOUNT OF BEATITUDES IN TIBERIAS
The Mount of Beatitudes is the place where Jesus Christ proclaimed the biblical commandments. In the north of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), there is a mountain, from the top of which the Lord Jesus Christ presented to people the essence of his teaching. This was a speech about the Sermon on the Mount, which is rightfully considered the quintessence of all Christianity.
The summit of Karney Hittin is located at the intersection of the road between Tabor and Capernaum. According to the Muslim legends, this is the place where the Crusaders lost the last battle against Calah A din - the Mountain of Beatitudes. The same version was the main one among the crusaders for Centuries. This is indicated in the Encyclopedia of Catholics and Greek Orthodox Scriptures. There were other suggestions as well.
However, excavations carried out in the mid-30s of the last century under the guidance of the master of biblical history and archeology Bellarmino Bagatti testify to the reliability of the words of the pilgrims who visited the site at the end of ancient times. And after the researchers discovered the remains of the Byzantine chapel, all other theories were finally ruled out.
HISTORY OF THE MOUNT OF BEATITUDES
In the earthly life of Jesus Christ, there were cities and villages on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. And the sea routes of merchant and military ships ran along the water. There was always a lot of fish in the sea. This trend continues now: there are over two dozen items in it.
Jesus Christ chose for his ministry a hill near the sea coast: Capernaum, Bethsaida. It is for this reason that his followers are fishermen and settlers. In this area, the teacher tamed the sea storm! Which suddenly started while preaching.
The height of the hill is just over 100 meters. This corresponds to an amount with very small dimensions. It is worth noting that the exact location of the place from which Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount is not fully known. Only approximate figures are available. Obtained from the words of the pilgrims and the texts of the Gospel.
Before the archaeological excavations conducted by Father Bellarmino Bagatti, sermons were conducted near Tiberius on a mountain with two peaks. After these excavations in 1935, a turning point occurred. Archaeologists have found the ruins of an ancient Byzantine chapel.
Fragments were found in the remains of a small chapel, and are parts of it. They were reason enough to build a new church. The truth is a little further away. One and a half km from the Byzantine chapel, we chose a picturesque area that opens up unique views.
As a result, the Temple erected soon gave its name - the Mount of Beatitudes. The hill offers our gaze a wonderful view of the ancient sea, which unconsciously begins to feel peace and harmony inside.
THE MOUNT OF BEATITUDES TODAY
Many events of Jesus' ministry in Galilee are in sight, including the city of Capernaum, 3 km away. Below is Sower's Bay, where Jesus is believed to have taught the parable of the Sower (Mark 4: 1-9) from a boat moored in the bay.
The exact place of the Sermon on the Mount is not known for certain. Pilgrims celebrate this event in the octahedral Church of the Beatitudes, built on the side of a mountain. Accessible by a side road branching off the motorway from the city of Tiberias.
The Mount of Beatitudes is also understood as the place where Jesus met his apostles after His Resurrection and commanded them to carry the teaching into the world.
The expansive slope of the Mount of Beatitudes (also known as Mount Eremos, the Greek word for lonely or uninhabited) provided ample room for a large crowd to gather and hear Jesus Christ.
A Byzantine church was built nearby in the 4th century and was used until the 7th century. The Church of the Beatitudes, an elegant octagonal building with colonnades, merges into the slope rather than dominates it. The eight sides of the light and airy church represent the eight Beatitudes, and they are also shown in Latin in the upper windows.
GALILEE AND THE MOUNT OF BEATITUDES
The Mount of Beatitudes is located above the settlement with the Arabic name Tabgha (or Tabga) in the Upper Galilee. Going to Capernaum, pilgrims unconsciously may not even pay attention to this hill. From which, according to the Apostle Matthew, the Savior of the world uttered the words of the Gospel Beatitudes. And this is in vain because it was here a little less than two thousand years ago that the events that were known for centuries to Christians around the world took place.
The mountain from which these words sounded is perhaps the most important for the entire era of the New Testament. It is like a natural amphitheater over Lake Gennesaret, where the sound of a human voice is carried far in the air.
The Mount of Beatitudes is very picturesque in itself: the majestic Sea of Galilee is pure and blue if you observe the surroundings in the summer. Among the greenery are intermittent patches of small, bright flowers that grow in abundance in the local mountainous landscapes. Besides them, in groups and singly, there are numerous trees and shrubs.
Russian writer Alexander Zhukov, a deeply religious Christian, with all his heart in love with the Promised Land. In his book, "Jesus the Unknown", he wrote a chapter on the Sermon on the Mount.
THE MOUNT OF BEATITUDES IS THE PLACE OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Jesus taught orally, not in writing. Matthew notes that he sat down before speaking. Typical Jewish teaching position.
Scholars suggest that Matthew's Gospel is not a testimony of a sermon given on one occasion. Rather, Matthew took the main message and added different teachings that existed at different times.
The sermon indicated how the followers of Jesus, described as “the salt of the earth,” must live to be in a right relationship with God. "For I tell you," he said, "if your righteousness does not exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20)
Biblical scholar Peter Walker comments: “The tranquility of this beautiful place, however, maybe a little useless here if one believes that Jesus' words were calm and soothing. When in reality they were radical, demanding, authoritative, revolutionary, and countercultural. Jesus called Israel to a new way of life. "
CHRISTIAN CENTER AT THE TOP
At the top of the Mount of Beatitudes is a Christian meeting, research, and retreat center called Domus Galilaeae (House of Galilee) opened in 2000. It is located just over 1 km from the ruins of ancient Chorazin.
The center and adjoining monastery belong to the Neocatechumenal Way, a Catholic movement for Christian education. Its striking architecture was designed by the movement's founder, Kiko Arguello, and a team of architects.
The library specializes in books on the Sermon on the Mount. The chapel features a large painting by Arguello combining Eastern and Western Christian symbols and pays homage to the Jewish roots of the Church.
MOUNT OF BEATITUDES AND THE TEMPLE OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
According to pilgrims from the 4th century AD, it can be argued that there was a Christian chapel on the hill already at that time. In particular, there is a text dating back to 380. In which the pilgrim speaks of the hill where the Lord spoke of the blessedness. It is described that there are seven springs and a Church at the foot of the mountain on the coast of the Galilee Sea in the valley.
A professor of the Bible School in Jerusalem, Father Bellarmino, and his staff discovered the remains of a miniature chapel - 4, 48 × 7, 20 meters - which was built in the first Byzantine period and destroyed in 645.
The construction of the new temple was funded by the Italian mission. It is believed that Benito Mussolini made a significant contribution to its construction, spending personal funds on the construction. Confirmation - an inscription on the altar, protected from too prying eyes by a patterned canopy.
But, of course, the main financial sources of the mission were believers in Italy and other Christian countries.
The architect of the new grandiose project in the Holy Land was the famous Antonio Barluzzi, known for his not trivial approach to the construction of temples and other buildings. According to the project, the temple in the mountainous areas has an octagonal base and is to be crowned with a large copper dome. The general style is Neo-Renaissance.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE TEMPLE OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Antonio Barluzzi built the building in the shape of an octagon. The temple is crowned with an octagonal copper dome and a tower with bells. The number "eight" was not chosen by chance. First of all, it reflects the commandments of Jesus. They were reflected in the dome windows. The question arises why there are eight, not nine according to the number of commandments. The answer is simple: the ninth is similar to one of the eight.
Secondly, the eight were endowed with special properties by the ancient priests, revered by them: a symbol of fate, harmony, and the natural balance of nature. It consists of two rings that can be easily combined in one place. They reflect the connection between the spiritual and material worlds. It is the symbol of the octane number of the Buddha. In addition, figure eight in a horizontal style is a sign of infinity.
MOUNT OF BEATITUDES DECORATION
The entrance to the church has no decorations like other temples. The icons have been replaced by numerous windows through which you can admire the biblical sites.
The artist Mistruzzi worked with the altar. The rotunda is made of marble and decorated with precious stones. The artist's works were also used on church windows. They reflect the way of Jesus.
The altar in the center is crowned with a graceful alabaster and onyx arch. Around him, the seven virtues (justice, mercy, prudence, faith, fortitude, hope, and abstinence) are depicted in symbols on the mosaic floor.
The Franciscan Brotherhood serves the Church and the hotel (a special house for pilgrims). The territory of the Temple belongs to the Italian Catholic community. Today everything is modernized: cars, shops, and other amenities are open to visitors.
The cornerstone of the Apostle Peter was left in the church. The blessed stone is for Christian pilgrims.
The church can be seen from afar, so it is easy to find it. When you cross Lake Kinneret, you can enjoy a magical landscape that opens up from all sides. Around the church, there is a beautiful park with wonderful trees, on the territory of which there is a pilgrim hotel. The landscaped garden has three altars for group worship.
EXCURSIONS TO THE MOUNT OF BEATITUDES
I offer various private excursions to Galilee with a stop on the Mount of Beatitudes. The main ones are "Christian Galilee tours" departure from Tel Aviv.