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Archaeology in Israel: Greek Orthodox Church of the Seven Apostles

"Early in the morning, Jesus stood by the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus." (John 21:4)

The small, red-domed Greek Orthodox Church of the Seven Apostles (built in 1931) marks the site to which the village of Capernaum was relocated following the earthquake in 746. The church is dedicated to the seven apostles (Simon called Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, "and two other disciples") mentioned in the Gospel of John when Jesus appears again to his disciples "by the Sea of Tiberias".

Archeological excavations carried out at four locations on the site between 1978-82 revealed the foundations of residential dwellings with the same black basalt dry-stone walling as in earlier constructions in Capernaum.

Of special note are the remnants of a two-meter-wide basalt wall along the shoreline. This wall may have been part of a quay along the entire lakefront of the village. A 20-meter-wide break in the wall near the Greek Orthodox church was framed by two stonework jetties extending at right angles into the lake. This would have provided both sheltered anchorage and a slip for hauling boats out of the water.

An ancient fishing boat built sometime in the 1st century BCE was discovered in 1986 during an unusually low water level in Lake Kinneret. The 8-meter-long boat had been preserved in the mud of the lake-bed, and was found to contain various implements, including an oil lamp and a cooking pot. Dubbed the "Jesus boat," the craft has been carefully preserved and is now on display at nearby Kibbutz Ginosar.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry