Servas Israel Tour – Part III – Places of Spirit: Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha, and the Jordan River

Day 4 – Thursday,  25 December 2014 – our wonderful Servas Israel Tour continued.

We traveled to the Sea of Galilee on Christmas Day guided by Iris Salomon- Har Even, host in Oranit.

At 10:00 a.m., we met up at the National Park of Capernaum (Kfar Nahum)

Patiently waiting:  Standing- Manda, Lola, Servas host Debbie, great leader Claudia. Sitting: Shaxx, xxx, mum xxx, Vldamir xx

Patiently waiting: Standing- Manda, Lola, Servas host Debbie, great Servas leader Claudia. Sitting: Vladimir, Sudeshna, Imelda,  Kashi Lal, an Israeli Servas member, Brigitte, and Marilyn.

And Jesus went forth ...

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues” (Matthew 4:23).

We started at Capernaum (Kfar Nahum), where Jesus lived and began preaching.

The magnificent Sea of Galilee with commorants xx flying above.

The magnificent Sea of Galilee – cormorants  soaring above.

Walking on a pier into the Sea of Galilee: xxx, Olga, Svetlana, Stephanxxx

On a pier on the Sea of Galilee: Svetlana P, Olga, Svetlana A, and Stepan

“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew, his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And He saith unto them. ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men'” (Matthew 4:18).

And Jesus

And Jesus met brothers.

Looking for shells at the Sea of Galilee - Brigitte and Angelica

Looking for shells at the Sea of Galilee – Brigitte and Angelica

Entrance to Caphernum xx

Entrance to the National Park of Capernaum

Church in Caphurnum xx

At Capernaum

The church has three pink domes.  Here's a painting of it within the church.

The Church of the Twelve Apostles has pink domes, shown in this  painting  within the church.

Church of the Twelve Aposals xx

Church of the Twelve Apostles

I felt as though I should sit down and confess to something :)

I felt as though I should sit down and confess to something 🙂

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

Here by the Sea of Galilee and at Tabgha, I did feel spirituality everywhere: in the air, in the water, in the light – in the religious sites.

On the shore of the Sea of Galilee is a Greek Orthodox monastery:

“The Church of the Twelve Apostles  takes its name from the Gospel  account of Jesus choosing the Twelve in this area of Galilee.

But it is also known as the Church of the Seven Apostles — a reference to Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance by the Sea of Galilee to seven of his disciples — Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John and two other disciples” (John 21). . . .

After the Six Day War in 1969, when Israel pushed its border back to the Golan Heights, restoration of the church began first with the removal of a thick layer of cow manure covering the floor –   since the church had been used for many years as a barn.

Between 1995 and 2000 the church was redecorated  by a Greek iconographer with an eclectic array of Byzantine-style frescoes inspired by works in Orthodox churches and monasteries in various parts of the world, in particular the Balkans.  The church glows in the light.

The Church of the Twelve Apostles occupies a site to the east of ancient Capernaum, where survivors of a devastating earthquake in 749 relocated their village.Church of the Twelve Apostles

The Greek Orthodox xxx Church of the Twelve Apostles

The Greek Orthodox monastery – Church of the Twelve Apostles

A small, cross-shaped building with white walls, the Church of the Twelve Apostles has two central domes surrounded by six smaller ones, each topped by a cross.  As you can see, brightly-colored frescoes and icons cover most of the ceilings and walls of the church.

Beautiful frescos glow on the walls of the church

Beautiful frescos radiate from the walls of the church

Inside one dome, Christ the Pantocrator (All-powerful) is surrounded by a chorus of 12 prophets who foretold his coming.”

From: <ww.seetheholyland.net/church-of-the-twelve-apostles/>

Monk Inxxx against great odds was able to renovate this church to the beauty and serenity we see today.

Monk Irinarchos in the 1990s – against great odds — was able to renovate this church to the beauty and serenity we see today.

xxx, xxxx etc.

Ulrike, Gerlinde, Israeli Servas member, Maria Rauch, Maria, and at the far end, Barry

Rebuilt wall of the White Synogague. xxx

Rebuilt wall of the White Synagogue – Brigitte coming through the small opening

Tabgha (ancient Heptapegon) on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee is the accepted site of Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mark 6:30-46) and also of the fourth resurrection appearance (John 21:1-24).   Until 1948, it was the site of a Palestinian Arab village.

The site’s name is derived from the Greek name Heptapegon (“seven springs”).

Church of Heptapegon

Church of Heptapegon

Its pronunciation gradually changed to “Tabego”, and was eventually changed to “Tabha” by the Arabic speakers. St. Jerome referred to Heptapegon as “the solitude.” From: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabgha&gt;.

Iris recommending a great book for Holy Land information.

Our guide Iris recommending a great book for the Holy Land

The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land: The Adventures, The Events, The Holy Sites  Go to: <http://www.amazon.com/Chronicle-Pilgrimage-The-Holy-Land/dp/965724000X&gt;.

Angelika and Sasha from Belarus xx

Angelica and our terrific photographer, Sasha from Belarus

At the Church of the C

At the Church of the Heptapegon – Seven Springs

The Church of the Heptapegon – Seven Springs is built over where Jesus laid the fish and the five loafs of bread on a big rock before distributing the food that would feed five thousand (Mark 6:30-44).

Church of Caph xxx ; don't tell anyone, but when I first saw this church, I thought it was ugly!

Church of the Heptapegon; don’t tell anyone, but when I first saw this church, I thought it fortress-like!

However, I loved the views from inside!

Inside the church, the Christmas manger was set over the ruins of xxxx

Inside the Church of the Heptapegon, the Christmas manger  set over ruins of Capernaum

Inside the hexagonal church xxx and xxx in the left foreground; Barry on the right.

Inside the hexagonal church,  Imelda and Ulrike in the left foreground; Barry in center

View from inside looking xxx

View from inside the Church of the Heptapegon

View looking xxx at the ruins of Caph

Another view from the Church of the Heptapegon –  ruins of Capernaum and in the distance, the domes of the Church of the Twelve Apostles

Ruins of Caphurxxx - protected under  the church

Ruins of Capernaum – protected under the church

Stephan, Irena, Vladmir xxx outside the church

Stepan, Irena, Vladimir  outside the church

Ruins

Ruins of Capernaum – and a wall of the White Synagogue

In

“The White Synagogue,” built in the  late 4th Century A.D.,  is on the ruins of the “Synagogue of Jesus” – Iris and Debbie

Irena xxx

Irena from the Czech Republic in the White Synagogue

Rebuilt wall of the White Synogague. xxx

Rebuilt wall of the White Synagogue –  Gerlinde at the small doorway.

Doors to the Church of the Heptapexxx.

Doors to the Church of the Heptapegon.

Then we saw the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha – also so named because of Jesus’ miracle.  The church is modern but stands on the site of 4th and 5th-century churches. It too preserves splendid early Christian mosaics as well as the traditional stone on which the miraculous meal was laid.

Church

Inside the church – Icon of Christ inside the Church of the Multiplication

Mosaics in the church at Thabxxx

Mosaics in the church at Tabgha

Church at Txxx

Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha

Manda from Sweden, Igor from Russia, and Tomas from Poland.

Manda from Sweden, Igor from Russia, and Tomas from Poland.

One of the wonderful aspects of this Servas Israel Tour was getting to meet others from around the world.

Church of the Multiplication

In the Capernaum National Park

Church of the Multiplication

Church of the Multiplication

Church at T  - Pope xxx was here.  Gift of Bishop of Krakov.

Church of the Primacy of St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee. Gift of the Bishop of Krakov.

The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter is  north of the Church of the Multiplication and was built on rocks at the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  It’s considered the place where Jesus appeared the fourth time after his resurrection (John 21:1-24), during which, according to Catholic teaching, Jesus again conferred primacy of Simon Peter.

Door into the church

Door into the church

Pope John Paul II was a pilgrim to Tabgha in March, 2000.

Stephan xxx & Irena from Chec Republic xxx

Stepan  & Irena from Czech Republic climbing on the rocks outside The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter

After a delightful time at these holy places, we next traveled to the Jordan River, the baptism site of Jesus:

Baptism in the Jordan River

Baptism in the Jordan River

My brother Alan said he would’ve done the immersion, but it was December, already getting dark,  and I’m a wimp, so I didn’t! However, many Christians braved the cold and were re-baptized in the Jordan River.  Many collected water from the river to take home.

In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

This Nigerian Christian had just gotten baptized.

This happy Nigerian Christian had just gotten baptized.

Behind schedule on this wonderful day and way after sunset,  we said our goodbyes and headed back with our hosts to their homes.  On our way to Barry and my Servas home, we got to stop at a fantastic Japanese restaurant: Osaka –  Asian Kitchen and Sushi Bar  in Ra’anana – wonderful. <https://www.facebook.com/osakarestaurant/posts/552482348116139&gt;.

This day – Christmas Day 2014 – was personally the most spiritual of our Servas Israel Tour.  I hope you will get such an experience too.

Shalom and Aloha, Renée

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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