Found in: Archaeological sites in Israel
Tabgha (Hebrew Ein Sheva), an area situated on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel, is the traditional site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the third resurrection appearance of Jesus in Christianity. The cults name is derived from the Greek name Heptapegon ("seven springs"). St. Jerome referred to Tabgha as "the solitude" (=eremos).
Church of the Multiplication
The earliest building at Tabgha was a small chapel built in the 4th century A.D. This was probably the shrine described by the pilgrim Egeria at the end of the 4th century:
"In the same place (not far from Capernaum) facing the Sea of Galilee is a well watered land in which lush grasses grow, with numerous trees and palms. Nearby are seven springs which provide abundant water. In this fruitful garden Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish."The Miracle Church at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee, Bargil Pixner, Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 48, No. 4 , pp. 196-206
The mosaic of the fish and loaves is laid next to a large rock, which has caused some New Testament scholars to speculate that the builders of the original church believed that Jesus stood on this rock when he blessed the fish and loaves just before the feeding of the crowd who had come to hear him.
The large monastery and a church were built in the fifth century. While some date the destruction of the site to the time of the Arab conquest, the church was most likely destroyed in 614 during the Persian invasion, for already in AD 670, Bishop Arculf had reported that only columns from the church remained.
In 1932, after nearly 1300 years of "solitude", two German archaeologists (Mader and Schneider) uncovered a number of the Byzantine church's walls and mosaics.
In the 1980s, after further excavations, the church was finally restored to its Byzantine form, incorporating portions of the original mosaics.
Today, the church and surrounding land are property of the German Association of the Holy Land whose head is the Archbishop of Cologne. The site is further maintained by monks from the Hagia Maria Sion Abbey, also known as Dormition Church, which is located on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.
Chapel of the Primacy of St Peter
The Church of the Primacy of St Peter (north of the Church of the Mulitplication) was built on rocks at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This area is traditionally considered to be the place where Jesus appeared the third time after his resurrection . According to Catholic beliefs during this appearance Jesus conferred on Simon Peter again the Primacy over the church.