27 June 2017

Capernaum, Peter's hometown

On the occasion of the feast dedicated to the saints Peter and Paul, a journey into the hometown of the Apostle to whom Jesus entrusted His Church.


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Jesus chose Capernaum for the center of His public ministry in Galilee. We learn from the Gospels that this particular village was the hometown of some apostles including Peter and that Jesus lived there; there was also a synagogue where Jesus went on the Sabbath day.

Many of the finds of everyday life like basalt grain mills used to grind olives or press the grapes show some of the work activities that for centuries were carried out by the inhabitants on a daily basis.

The houses, clustered in street-bounded quarters, were simple and built with stones from the local basalt rock bound with mud and paved with cobblestones.

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum- Jerusalem
"What you can see is mainly a well-preserved housing group with all its elements as well as the remnants of roads and doors leading into the courtyards. Also visible are the fragments of an industry, the olive industry, which seems to have been of great importance in the area during ancient times, as well as a great grinder that was used to break the fruit and the place where these fruits were pressed to get the oil.”

The lives of the inhabitants were marked by the daily work: fishing was one of the most profitable activities. The brothers Andrew and Simon, who later was called Peter, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John were fishermen. They operated a small fishing activity with their own boats and their own workers.
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According to the indications provided by the pilgrims Eusebius and Theodosius, Capernaum was located two miles away from Tabgha and from Korazin.

The excavations led by the Franciscans highlighted all the periods of occupation reported by literary sources. The two public buildings of Capernaum: the synagogue and the traditional home of St. Peter, correspond exactly to the geographical coordinates of the ancient Capernaum.

Father Loffreda relives the time when, together with Father Corbo, he discovered the first remnants of the house of St. Peter.

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum- Jerusalem
"One day Father Corbo, who had removed the mosaics of the Byzantine church, found the first fragments of plaster and he called me. I went there and I, too, was astonished by this novelty; it was clear that there was something else below it: in fact the central octagon rested directly on an almost square environment and later we found a floor with all these fragments. This was a wonderful experience for us.”

One of the most beautiful archaeological finds by the Franciscans. Today we want to offer a little taste of the documentary dedicated to Capernaum, "The town of Jesus."