2 Other Tabgha Sites

We took in two other Tabgha sites close by Pilgerhaus–the Church of the Loaves and Fish, and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.

At the church named after the miracle, we read from the gospel the multiplication of loaves and fish, which can be found in all four gospels. The supposed site of the miracle is on a plain that stretches into the hills close by where a crowd of 5000 could be easily accommodated. There is also a spring close by to provide fresh water. A church now stands under the care of Benedictines where 2 Byzantine churches once stood, the first in the 4th century reported by Egeria in her travels, the second in the 5th century which was significantly enlarged from the former with the addition of floor mosaics. This second church was destroyed by invading Persians in the early 7th century. The current church was inaugurated in 1984 built on the same floor plan as the 5th century Byzantine church.

After a drink of fresh pomegranate juice (I did not imbibe), we walked a short distance to the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. This is the site where the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples after they had been fishing all night and caught nothing. He stood on the shore and instructed them to put their nets out once again, and caught such a great catch. Peter who had said three times that he did not know Jesus earlier in Jerusalem, jumped into the water and waded to shore where Jesus had a charcoal fire going. He asked them to bring the fish, and they all ate in silence. Then Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” Three times. “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.” He tells him, “Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.”

Inside the church is a flat rock known as Mensa Christi, the Table of Christ, on which he prepared the meal after the miraculous catch of fish.

After a short break back at Pilgerhaus we had a very nice dinner at Magdalena Restaurant in Migdal, by owner and chef Yousef (Zuzu) Hanna. A few of us purchased his cookbook–The Galilee Table, which he graciously signed.

We returned to Pilgerhaus in good spirits ready for our third day heading to Banias, the ancient site of Caesarea Philipi, and Migdal to the Magdalene Center where we will celebrate Mass.

In this second half of the day, our focus was on Jesus’ feeding of the multitude, echoing back to Mass this morning on the Holy Eucharist. And with the risen Jesus’ appearance along with the miraculous catch of fish, Jesus feeds his apostles and establishes Peter once again as leader of his band of followers. I suppose it helps that the body is fed and other basic needs met before the mind and heart are able to listen and be fed with the Word of God. The breaking of bread is also the setting for reconciliation and a renewal of God’s favor. Jesus had chosen Peter for a specific role of leadership from the start, and he had to reestablish that friendship after the upheaval of the cross. Peter would continue to struggle, but Jesus would build his church on the rock of Peter’s faith. It impressed me greatly when I had the privilege to celebrate Mass in the Crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, in the Clementine Chapel next to the Confession of St. Peter, that the faith of a Galilean fisherman is the indisputable foundation on which Jesus built his 2000 year old church.

More tomorrow.

Rolo B Castillo © 2023

2 responses to “2 Other Tabgha Sites”

  1. Dear Father Rolo, I am loving your narrative and pictures of the Holy Land. Please keep our family in your prayers and stay safe, Jane Bickers

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


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