Excavations in Israel’s Galilee have uncovered the remnants of an old church which, the archeological director of the dig said Friday, marks the home of Apostles Peter and Andrew.
The site of a fishing village of Bethsaida confirms this season’s dig, where Peter and his brother Andrew were born in the Gospel of John. Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret Académic College on the sea shore of Galilee, northern Israel.
The Byzantine church, found near remains of a Romanesque town, matched to the location of Bethsaida as the Roman historian Flavius Josephus described it in first century AD, said Aviam.
In addition, the newly discovered church fit the accounts of Willibald, the Eichstaetan Bavarian bishop, who visited the area approximately in 725 AD and reported that a church was built on the grounds of Peter and Andrew’s home in Bethsaida.
Willibald says that Bethsaida was situated in between Capernaum and Kursi’s biblical sites, according to Aviam.
“We excavated only one-third of the church, a bit less, but we have a church and that’s for sure,” Aviam told AFP.
“The design of a church, the dates are Byzantine; the mosaic floors are typical… screens of the chancel and all that is typical of a church.” “There is only one place between Kursi and Capernaum where the visitor of the church in the eighth century tells us and we found it.
Christians recognized Saint Peter as one of the first followers of Jesus, originally a fisherman, and the leader of the early Church after the ascent.
El-Araj is not the only applicant to Bethsaida, known in Hebrew as Beit Habeck.
Approximately two kilometers from the e-Tell digging has been taking place since 1987 and, according to the National Geographic website, major fortifications in the Ninth century BC were discovered and’ Roman-period homes with fishing equipment, including iron anches and fishing hooks, and the remains of what could be the Roman temple.’ Steven Notley, academic director of New York City’s Nyack College, are digging in the right location.
“We have a Roman village, in the village, we have pottery, coins, also stone vessels which are typical of first-century Jewish life, so now we strengthen our suggestion and identification that El-Araj is a much better candidate for Bethsaida than e-Tell,” he said.
“It has been excavated for the past 32 years. We started digging two years ago because we thought it’s the better one and now we have the proof.”