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The Magdala Center

The Magdala Center is located in Migdal, the home of Mary Magdalene, in the Galilee. It is the site of a synagogue dating from the time of Christ, one of only seven in the world dating from the Second Temple period. It is likely a place where Jesus would have visited as he traveled through the Galilee during his earthly ministry. It was discovered in 2009 when plans were underway to build a retreat house there. In the process, these historic ruins were uncovered.

The Magdala Stone is thought by some to be modeled after the Second Temple, which existed from 50 BC until its destruction in 100 AD. The menorah pictured here is the only one of its kind discovered to date. It is believed that this particular synagogue was destroyed during the period of Jewish revolt against the Romans in the years 55 to 70 AD.

Duc in Altum church is built adjacent to the ruins of the Magdala Center. It overlooks the Sea of Galilee and features this lovely mural. It depicts Jesus' healing of a woman who suffered from bleeding for many years when she touched the hem of his robe. (Luke 8:43-48)

The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle performed by Jesus which is recorded in all four Gospels. This church in Tagbha, Israel is thought to be the site where it occurred. Unfortunately, the courtyard of the church was heavily damaged in a firebomb attack the year before our visit; repairs were under way. Graffiti in Hebrew script was spray-painted on the walls denouncing the worship of false idols. 16 juveniles were questioned and released without charges.

After the attack, leaders of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths met at the site as a sign of unity, calling for the protection of the holy places.

Beneath the altar is the rock from which Jesus served 5000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish.

The Church of Saint Joseph

The Church of Saint Joseph, located in Nazareth, was built over the site which many believe to be Jesus' childhood home. Legend also claims that Joseph's workshop was there, but this is doubted by most historians. This church is modest when compared to the neighboring Church of the Annunciation.

"Hic erat subditus illis." - "Here he became obedient to them."

One last thing... I won't be responding much to your photos and comments. I was viciously attacked by a patch of ice yesterday and will be working under a handicap for the next few weeks. Note, however, the manicure survived.

Church of the Primacy of Peter

The Church of the Primacy of Peter is a small chapel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Tagbha, Israel. The church incorporates part of a 4th century church, and it marks the location of the third post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus. (See John 21.)

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
The Sea of Galilee viewed from the church

Mensa Christi: the Table of Christ... It is on this rock that Jesus served his disciples a breakfast of fish.

Feed my lambs... Take care of my sheep... Feed my lambs...

The Church of the Pater Noster

It is believed to be here that Jesus taught his disciples the Pater Noster (Our Father) prayer.

The layout of the Church of Pater Noster

Throughout the church and courtyard are lovely tiles which translate the Lord's Prayer into many languages... 

Visiting Bethlehem: Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Looking up at the dome of the church at Shepherd's Field

Rough translation... I haven't studied French for many years and would welcome a better rendering of the legend on this plaque at Shepherd's Field:

          Who would be sad now? The creche is home to an infant who is the light of the world,       who takes the sin of the world.

Inside the grotto at Shepherd's Field. In this cave, the shepherds would keep their sheep while watching to ensure their safety at night.

A window in the Church of the Nativity

The star pictured here lies over the place of Jesus' birth. 
Worshipers kneel down and touch this spot in a moment of prayer

The Birth of Jesus, from the Gospel of Luke

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Merry Christmas, and God bless you!