On the north shore of Galilee is Tabgha where the Church of the Multiplication and the Church of the Primacy of Peter are located. It was a beautiful sunny day to visit these sites along the shore of the Galilee.
Church of the Multiplication
The Church of the Multiplication is the site where some Christians believe the feeding of the five thousand had taken place. According to the Gospels, when Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been killed, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place near Bethsaida. The crowds followed Christ on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. The Apostle Andrew was concerned that five barley loaves and two fish would not be enough to feed the crowd. According to the Gospel of John:
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world,” (John 6:10-14).
It was a sad site to see a part of the church burnt down. On June 17, 2015 the church was damaged by a terrorist attack committed by Jewish extremists (Reuters). Hebrew graffiti, “the false gods will be eliminated”, was sprayed on the church walls and follows a history of right-wing Jewish extremist arson and graffiti attacks against sacred Christian sites.
Church of the Primacy of Peter
The church contains a small outcrop of limestone rock in front of the altar which is venerated as a Mensa Christi, Latin for “table of Christ”. It is believed this was where Jesus laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the Apostles and told Peter to “Feed my sheep” after the miraculous catch. This was the event which was interpreted by the Catholic Church to give the Pope (as the successor of Peter) authority over the Church. It was here where it was the third time Christ appeared to his Disciples after his resurrection (John 21:1-24).