TABHA - THE PLACE OF MULTIPLICATION OF FISH AND LOAVES
The valley, known by its Arabic name Tabha, lies in the northwestern part of the coast of Lake Kinneret, near the intersection of Kfar Nachum (Capernaum). The Hebrew name for this place is Ein Sheva (Seven Springs) due to the accumulation of sulfur-hydrogen sources here. In Greek, the area is called Heptagon. There are still several springs preserved here, Ein Nur and Ein Sheva, which still flow today.
There are a lot of holy places along Kinneret Lake, you can't go around everything in a short time. But one of the most important places in Galilee cannot be ignored. This is Tabha. It was here that important events for Christians took place. The most famous of them is the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish. Tabha was a secluded place by the lake, where Jesus often came when he wanted to be alone.
According to the famous Gospels, at this place, Jesus fed about “5,000 men, except women and children,” with five loaves of bread and two fish. The stone on which Jesus placed baskets of bread and fish became an altar erected on this site in 350.
Today it houses a new church built on the ruins of an ancient church from the Byzantine period. The modern church is equipped with a beautiful courtyard with a fountain, and inside the central hall, you can see a reconstructed mosaic, the original of which dates back to the 4th century. AD An unknown artist depicted lotuses and lakeside birds here. At the altar, there is one of the most famous images in the history of Christianity - two fish and a basket of bread, symbols of the miracle that happened here.
The modern church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish was built in 1982 on Byzantine foundations and is an exact reproduction of the 6th-century church. The remains of the foundations of the first church can be seen under the window to the right of the altar and in the north transverse nave.
The church was rebuilt around 450 into a Byzantine church, the altar of which, unlike the first church, was directed to the east. The sacred stone was placed under the altar of the new church.
The interior of the church is specially made very modest so as not to drown out the beauty of early Christian mosaics - this is the main attraction of the church. Restored mosaics of the 5th century - a unique example of early Christian art. An unknown artist depicted water flowers and lakeside birds of Galilee and the famous Christian image: two fish and a basket of bread - symbols of a miracle that happened here.
The spacious courtyard of the church is decorated with mosaics in the form of geometric shapes. Protected by glass panels, you can also see what has survived from the original 4th-century mosaic.
In the courtyard of the church, there is a fountain with seven taps in the form of fish (symbolizing the seven springs of Tabgha), in which gold and silverfish swim.
I invite you to visit Tabgha on regular and individual excursions to Christian Galilee and Nazareth, as well as in a full Christian pilgrimage tour.