The Shores of the Sea of Galilee were witness to many of the great events of the Ministry of Jesus.
In Tabgha we find the Church of Multiplication, dedicated to the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. This is recounted in all four Gospels as the feeding of the five thousand. A modern church was recently erected over the exact lines of the fifth century chapel that stood here until it was destroyed by the Persians in 614.
Inside its halls it preserves one of the country’s most exquisite mosaic pavements, depicting some of the many birds and flowers found at the lakeside. By the church’s altar is the famous image of the loaves and fishes. The name Tabgha itself derives from an Arabic mispronunciation of the Greek word “Heptapegon”, meaning the seven springs.
In 384, Egeria, a visiting pilgrim nun, described the site in these words “Not far away from Capernaum are some stone steps where the Lord stood. And in the same place by the sea is a grassy field with plenty of hay and many palm trees. By them are seven springs, each flowing strongly. And this is the field where the Lord fed the people with the five loaves and the two fishes. In fact the stone on which the Lord placed the bread has now been made into an altar”. A simple altar now stands above that stone.
Also found in Tabgha are ruins of a chapel that recalls the Sermon on the Mount, and the Chapel of the Primacy (paged 158/9) that commemorates Christ’s Resurrection.
*And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. Matthew 14:17-21.
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