St. Peter, regarded as the most important and spokesman of the Apostles, resided in the house of Simon the Tanner in Yafo (Acts 10 6): “He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side”. In this house, St. Peter had a significant dream, which changed the course of history: including gentiles in the newly founded church. Map.
According to tradition, the resurrection of Tabitha also happened on the roof of the house. The traditional site of the house is located here, close to the ancient port. Another Roman Catholic tradition locates the house at St. Peter’s church. The site is located above the ancient port of Yafo, near the lighthouse. You can reach the entrance to the house, but there is no entry inside.
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devouted and God–fearing. Cornelius gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
One day after lunch he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”. Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.
He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa to bring back Peter. About noon on the following day St. Peter was praying on the top of the roof at the Tanner’s house.
While waiting for lunch, he fell into a trance. In this dream Peter saw the heaven opening and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners, containing all kinds of four–footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air (see drawing on the right, with the bag of snakes in the air).
Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” Peter objected: “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him “Don’t call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and then the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was, and stopped at the gate.
Peter went down to the gate and checked the purpose of their arrival. They told him that their master Cornelius sent them to bring Peter over to Caesarea, as instructed by the angel, in order to hear the words of God. Peter let the three sleep in the house, then joined them on the next day to Caesarea. This dream was a turning point in the Christian history. Peter, regarded as the first Pope, interpreted the dream as a need to convert the gentiles (such as Cornelius, a Roman pagan) and include them in the newly founded church. This was the start of the split from the Jewish religion, where the faith was exclusive.
According to the tradition, St Peter revived Tabitha on the roof of the tanner’s house. (Acts 9 37, 40): “And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber…. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up”.
According to ancient traditions, the site of the house of the tanner is located at this site, close to the ancient port and near the lighthouse. The location is based on the explicit description of Acts (“…whose house is by the sea”). However, the Roman Catholic tradition holds that the house is located at the site of St. Peter’s church.