Tabgha is an area situated on the North West shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The name ‘Tabgha’ is derived from the Greek name Heptapegon which means “seven springs”.
I visited this place early one morning. Even though its an archaeological and religious tour destination, there were only a handful of tourists in the places in Tabgha when i visited. I was lucky in that respect! The place being right by the side of the Sea of Galilee, was cold and the air, so refreshing! Tabgha is so peaceful that it seemed to be a perfect place to meditate and pray!
Church of Multiplication
It’s the earliest building in Tabgha. It’s a chapel build around 350 A.D. by Joseph of Tiberias, a contemporary of Emperor Constantine. The church is lovely, small, unlike some others in the Holy Land which can seem large and sometimes impersonal.
Nearby are seven springs which provide abundant water. The tradition holds that, it is in this fruitful garden that Jesus fed five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish!
The Chapel is covered with beautiful Nile mosaic, a style of art popular in the Byzantine era.
There is a huge rock upon which the altar stands. The builders of the original church believed that Jesus sat on this rock when he blessed the fish and loaves just before the feeding of the crowd who had come to him.
The mosaic art work on the floor in front of the rock is one of the best known mosaic works. It shows a basket of loaves flanked by two Galilee mullet.It refers to the miracle this church commemorates.
In the church courtyard, there are palms, olives and numerous other trees.
There are ancient wine presses in the courtyard which serves as important clues to the past….
Church of the Primacy of St. Peter
I walked to this church from the Church of the Multiplication. It is located towards the north of the Church of the Multiplication.
The church was build on rocks at the Galilee seashore. These huge rocks are traditionally considered to be the place where Jesus dinned with his disciples on his forth appearance after his resurrection. As said in the Bible, during this appearance of Christ, he reinstated Peter as chief apostle. The church also commemorates this.
During the Crusader states era, the church was known as Mensa Christi, or Mensa Domini which in Latin means “Table of Christ”. Even today, people call this church by these Latin names.
The Sea view from the church is fantastic that i took a short walk down to the water which appeared to be crystal clear.
The church and surrounding land in Tabgha are property of the German Association of the Holy Land. These places in Tabgha are very worthwhile sites to be visited. Tabgha is such a lovely spot to stop and reflect for about half an hour in peace….