At Capernaum – known as Jesus’ “own town” (Matt. 9:1) – “walking where Jesus walked” takes on a thrilling new meaning. As you sit on the stone benches of Capernaum’s ancient synagogue, you’ll be reminded that right here, Jesus taught (Mark 1:21; John 6:59) and healed a man possessed by an evil spirit (Mark 1:23-27). Map.
Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is said to be the home of Saint Peter.
According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus selected this town as the center of his public ministry in the Galilee after he left the small mountainous hamlet of Nazareth (Matthew 4:12–17). He also formally cursed the city, saying “you will be thrown down to Hades!” (Matthew 11:23) because of their lack of faith in him as the Messiah.
A study of the district located between the synagogue and the octagonal church showed that several families lived together in the patriarchal style, communally using the same courtyards and doorless internal passages. The houses had no hygienic facilities or drainage; the rooms were narrow. Most objects found were made of clay: pots, plates, amphoras, and lamps. Fish hooks, weights for fish nets, striker pins, weaving bobbins, and basalt mills for milling grain and pressing olives were also found.
The village was inhabited continuously from the 2nd century BCE to the 11th century CE, when it was abandoned sometime before the Crusader conquest. This includes the re-establishment of the village during the Early Islamic period soon after the 749 earthquake.
As of the 4th century, the houses were constructed with good quality mortar and fine ceramics. This was about the time that the synagogue now visible was built. Differences in social class were not noticeable. Buildings constructed at the founding of the town continued to be in use until the time of the abandonment of the town.
Opening hours of the sanctuary:
8.00 – 17.00 (continuous)
Holy Masses can be celebrated at St. Peter’s Memorial by prior arrangement with the CIC. Those who wish may also use the open area with benches on the lakefront.
Feasts and celebrations:
Solemnity of St. Peter
Pilgrimage during the Octave of Pentecost
Pilgrimage during the Octave of Corpus Christi
Reservations for Masses for priests and Catholic groups, certificates for pilgrimages in the Holy Land:
CIC – Christian Information Centre
(inside Jaffa Gate, opposite the Citadel)
tel: +972 2 6272697
tel: +972 2 6272692
Convento della Promessa Eucaristica
Minzar Terra Santa, P.O.B. 2257, 14122 Tiberias
Tel: +972. 04 / 672.10.59 (Convent)
+972. 04 / 679.20.64 (Nunnery)
Fax: +972. 04 / 671.59.06
How to get to Capernaum:
Capernaum is located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee along road 87.
From Tiberias, there are numerous public buses going to the north; it is possible to get off at the Kfar Nahum Junction stop and continue on foot along the pedestrian walkway towards Capernaum (distance: 3.2 km).
Along the road are the sanctuaries of the Church of the Multiplication and the Church of the Primacy of Peter.
Jesus Trail: http://jesustrail.com/
For those who wish to arrive to Capernaum on foot, a 65 km hiking trail has recently been opened from Nazareth which passes by the most important religious and historical sites
in this part of Galilee.
In the Sea of Galilee region, Franciscan hospitality is available in Tiberias at the Casa Nova, on the Mount of Beatitudes, and in Tabgha at the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“Mount Beatitudes Hospice”
South Golan 12365, Israel Tel: +972-4-6726712 Fax: +972-4-6726735