Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes Tabha Israel
Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Israel, Northwest shore of Sea of Galilee
Type of Prayer Place
This is a modern church built in 1982 built on the foundation of previous churches, the first dating back to 350 AD. At the center of the altar area is a rock protruding from the floor under the altar table on which tradition says Jesus placed the loaves and fishes in Mark 6:30-44 when he fed the multitude. The most notable feature of the church is a mosaic floor that is thought to be the oldest such mosaic that shows pictures rather than geometric designs in Palestinian Christian art. The mosaic shows birds, flowers and plants both native to Galilee and also from other locales. Although archeologists have not found any evidence that proves that this is the original site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, it is a very fitting place to remember and contemplate this miracle near the Sea of Galilee.
The sanctuary itself with its open, minimalist design, lends itself to moments of quiet contemplation on a bench inside. There is also an icon altar station where you may kneel in prayer or light a candle. One thing that fascinated me were the windows which seemed to be made out of an opaque rock, such as agate, which admitted beautiful, heavenly light.
How I used this place of prayer
This was one of the few sites we visited that wasn’t overflowing with tourists and I actually had my turn at kneeling at the icon altar for a moment of prayer and meditation. While our tour group was out in the court yard and the guide was talking about the water springs in the area, a group of Asian pilgrims came in and seated themselves reverently on the benches in the church and began to sing praise songs. The acoustics were absolutely stunning and I sat down on a back bench and worshiped with them silently even though I didn’t understand the words to their song. It was an amazing moment, especially thinking how we are all joined in Christ across time and space and nationalities.
Contact Information / Sponsoring Organization
Benedictine order of the Catholic Church
They have good restroom facilities here, but there is a charge and you must have correct changes for the attendant. They also have a very nice gift shop and a pleasant courtyard with a fountain. They also have a good gift shop.
Added by Karen Barber on July 26, 2012