Mount of Beatitudes

| October 17, 2012 | 0 Comments
Pass it forward....Email this to someoneShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest
Jocelyn Durston  CC BY 2.0 Mount of Beatitudes

Jocelyn Durston  CC BY 2.0
Mount of Beatitudes

Mount of the Beatitudes

The Mount of Beatitudes is believed to be the spot where the Christian Savior delivered that most famous of speeches, the Sermon on the Mount. Situated above the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), from here one can see the placid waters of the lake and further on to the craggy reaches of the Golan Heights. The site is lushly green and peaceful, a great place to reflect on the past and on faith.

Parable of the Sower

From this location, one can see several other important sites from the life and ministry of the Christian Savior in the Galilee. For instance, there’s Capernaum, just 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) away, where the Christian Savior lived during his time in the Galilee. Below Capernaum is Sower’s Cove, where the Christian Savior is said to have taught the Parable of the Sower from the hold of a boat moored in the bay.

פאדי בטחיש  CC BY 2.5 Tree By the Church of the Beatitudes

פאדי בטחיש  CC BY 2.5
Tree By the Chapel

Church of the Beatitudes

While no one points to a specific spot on the Mount to say that the sermon was given right there, the official site of commemoration is the Church of the Beatitudes, an octagonal structure that can be reached by a road just off the Tiberias/Rosh Pina highway. Another important event believed to have taken place here is the post-resurrection meeting between the Christian Savior and his apostles. Here, the apostles were enjoined to “make disciples of all nations.”

Mount Beatitudes is large enough to have held a large gathering, so this would have been the perfect place to give a sermon that would reach many hearts. Another name for the Mount of Beatitudes is Mount Eremos. Eremos is from the Greek for “solitary” or “uninhabited.”

A pilgrim named Egeria wrote in the 4th century CE of a cave along the side of a hill at Seven Springs close to Tabgha, stating that at this site, the Christian Savior taught the blessings (beatitudes) contained in the Sermon on the Mount. According to Benedictine monk and archaeologist Bargil Pixner, the terrace over the still extant cave, known as Mughara Ayub, is likely the exact spot where the sermon was given. Logic would suggest that the land was not arable due to its craggy, hilly surface. Here was a spot that no one needed for any other purpose and people could gather freely for a sermon without fear of disturbing crops.

Itai  Public Domain Church of the Beatitudes Floor Mosaic

Itai  Public Domain
Floor Mosaic

In the 4th century CE, a Byzantine church was built here and was in use until the 7th century. Ruins from the original structure can be found below the site of the current structure. The extant Church of the Beatitudes was designed by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi, who also designed 16 other churches in the Holy Land. The church was built for a Franciscan order of nuns in 1938, with some of the funding provided by Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator.

The church is octagonal to symbolize the eight beatitudes referred to in the sermon, which are also etched in Latin into the high windows. The altar stands at the center of the church and just above it is a halo-like arch of onyx and alabaster. Mosaic tiles set into the floor symbolically depict the seven virtues (justice, charity, prudence, faith, fortitude, hope and temperance).

Domus Galilaeae

Three more altars can be found in the landscaped garden area to provide for group worship. There is also a retreat center at the top of the Mount where Christians can meet, study and take part in retreats. The name of the center is Domus Galilaeae or House of Galilee. The center just opened in the year 2000. The center, as well as the monastery that adjoins it, belongs to a Catholic movement known as the Neo-Catechumenal Way. The Center’s library contains mostly books about the famous sermon.

The architecture here is stunning and credit is due to Kiko Argüello, the movement’s founder, who worked alongside a team of architects to produce this winning design.  A voluminous painting by Argüello stands in the Center’s chapel. The painting makes use of both Eastern and Western Christian symbols.

Visitor hours are: 8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (until 4:00 p.m. from October through March) Phone 972-4-679-0978.

Mount of Beatitudes: Did You Know?

The Church of the Beatitudes is administered by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Christianity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *