Capernaum is an ancient town located on the Sea of Galilee’s northwest coast, 5 km northwest of Tabgha. It is mentioned in the New Testament as the hometown of the apostles Peter, Andrew, John, and James. In Capernaum, Jesus Christ preached in the synagogue and performed many miracles in this city. The population of 500 people.
Capernaum has an archaeological site and two monasteries, an Orthodox and a Catholic. The city was founded about 2500 years ago. The town flourished in the 1st century because of its location on the border of Herod Antipas state. Trade routes passed via Capernaum from the Mediterranean coast to Syria and Asia Minor. After the Romans invaded Palestine, there remained in the city a detachment of legionnaires.
According to the Gospels, the main preaching activity of Jesus Christ took place in Capernaum. In Capernaum, Jesus found his apostles – Peter, Andrew, the Zebedee brothers, John the Theologian, and James and Levi Matthew.
In the second century, Capernaum formed a community of Jews who converted to Christianity. In the next century, a church was built in the area, and Capernaum became the region’s stronghold of Christianity.
To the V century, about 1,500 people lived in the city, but in the 7th century, after the invasion of the Persians and Arabs, Christians and Jews left the city.
Current State of Capernaum
Capernaum is actually part of the Israeli national park system. The White Synagogue ruins were found in 1838, but archeological work began only in the early 20th century. The synagogue was built in the 3rd – 4th centuries. The building stands on the ruins of an older structure, possibly the synagogue in which Jesus Christ preached. The area around the synagogue belongs to the Franciscan Order.
Greek Church of the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles. Built in the 1930s on the part of the territory of the Evangelical Capernaum. Made in the tradition of the churches of Greek islands, consisting of cubes and domes in the form of hemispheres. However, unlike Greece itself, where domes are usually painted blue, here they turned out to be red. This turned the small church into a vibrant color dominant of the panorama.
The territory of the monastery is interesting not just for the purpose of archaeological excavations, but also for the atmosphere of a patriarchal estate with a nearly neglected, vibrant garden with peacocks. The decoration of the church is unusually bright and joyful. All this property is maintained by a single monk, brother Irinarch of Macedonia.
Jesus Christ in Capernaum
According to the Gospels, the main preaching activity of Jesus Christ took place in Capernaum. In Capernaum, Jesus found his apostles – Peter, Andrew, the Zebedee brothers John the Theologian, and James and Levi Matthew. Here, Jesus healed the mother-in-law of the Apostle Peter, raised the daughter of Yair, and did many other miracles. Therefore, Capernaum received the honorary title of “His city” from Christians.
As written in the Bible: “He left Nazareth and lived in Capernaum, on the shores of Zebulun and Naphtali, To fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the path of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, The men of darkness saw great light; light has dawned upon those who live in the land of the shadow of death.” Matthew 4:13-16
In Luke and John, in the original Greek, it is said more specific and more clear geographically: he did not “come,” but “came down,” “going down”-from the hills, from Nazareth to the lowland, to the sea-to Capernaum. He came with his whole family, “a small church”: “Himself and His Mother, and His brothers, and His disciples.” (John 2.12).
The resettlement was explained by a religious conflict: at Jesus’ very first words in the synagogue of Nazareth: “The Lord’s Spirit is upon Me,” the people of Nazareth tried to throw the Son of God off a cliff in a fanatical blast. Here in the synagogue, he delivered a sermon beginning with the words: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” However, he is also expelled from here, and he exclaims woefully: “And you, Capernaum, who has ascended to heaven, will be cast down to hell …” Like all His prophecies, this comes true …