Israeli dig uncovers ancient Church of the Apostles near Sea of Galilee
The Church of the Apostles, – a long-debated biblical site built atop the homes of the apostles Peter and Andrew, has been discovered near Israel’s Sea of Galilee, according to a team of American and Israeli archaeologists.
While mentions of the church can be found in Christian text dating as far back as the year 725 AD, there has been no confirmation of its existence, leading some to doubt that it was ever real.
Experts from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in New York, have been excavating the site of Beit Habeck on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The archaeologists believe that Beit Habeck is the site of the ancient Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida, which later became the Roman city of Julias. Bethsaida lay between the biblical sites of Capernaum and Kursi.
Excavations this summer have turned up ornate mosaic floors, gilded remnants of a wall mosaic, and the fragments of a marble chancel screen that was once adorned with a wreath.
“These discoveries already informed us that the church was waiting to be found somewhere nearby,” Prof. Steven Notley of Nyack College told Fox News.
Following the clues, the archaeologists discovered the church’s mosaic floors. “It is always remarkable to bring these beautifully decorated floors to light after being buried for almost 1500 years,” Notley explained.
Though the researchers have only so far excavated the southern rooms of the church, they say the evidence indicates it was part of a monastery complex.
Experts are confident that the next excavation season at Beit Habeck will reveal more of the ancient site’s secrets and plan to entirely excavate the Byzantine church.