Capernaum, in the Galilee of northern Israel is a Biblical village.

In Biblical times Capernaum was one of the main trading villages in the Gennesaret area. It was a vibrant and prosperous part of Palestine, home to about 1,500 people many of whom were fishermen. It was main trade route connecting Damascus in the north and Egypt in the south. There remains a Via Maris highway mile stone in Capernaum today. The village was thought to have prospered from the 2nd century BC to the 13th century AD when it reverted to a simple fishing village until the 1800’s.

It was in the Capernaum synagogue that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Bread of Life (John 6:35-59) ” Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day”. Although dating the synagogue has been problematic, many believe the synagogue from this time was black basalt rock and now lies beneath a more recent construction. In this synagogue Jesus would regularly preach (John 6:59, Luke 4:33). Christ expelled a demon from a possessed man here (Mark 1:21-27) and cured a Roman officer’s servant of palsy, the centurion is thought to have had the synagogue built (Luke 7:3). Here Jesus is also famous for raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41-53).

Archaeologists uncovered an early Christian home in Capernaum thought to have been the home of Peter. Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law here (Matthew 8:14-16) and is thought to have lived in this house while in Capernaum. This is the site where Christ cured a paralytic who was lowered in through the roof (Mark 2:1-12). After Jesus’ death the home became a place of worship. Several architectural changes distinguish it from other homes. In the 5th century, an octagonal church was built here to preserve the remains of the Insula Sacra. Many inscriptions in Greek, Armenian, Estrangelo, and Latin are on the ancient stones. There now stands a modern hexagonal Franciscan church over the spot thought to have been Peter’s house. There is a glass floor so that you can still see the ancient original church below.

Despite having performed many miracles in Capernaum Jesus was disappointed in the village’s lack of faith and eventually cursed Capernaum. Capernaum is one of Israel’s most sacred Christian pilgrimage sites where believers can sit on the stone benches in the ancient synagogue where Jesus would have sat and walk the streets he would have walked. In 2000 Pope John Paul II visited this sacred Christian site.

(Information via: https://www.touristisrael.com/capernaum/7636/ )

Itinerary Highlights

  • MASS in Capernaum