Visit The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes on an Israel Tour


The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
, or simply known as the Church of the Multiplication is a Catholic church situated in Tabgha along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It commemorates the miraculous feeding of five thousand people as mentioned in the Scriptures in Mark 6:30-44, right before Jesus walked on water.

According to Mark, Jesus and his disciples had sailed to a remote place for peace and quiet, however the crowds followed “from all the towns,” and met them as they landed on the shore. By this time it was dinnertime and they weren’t near a village that could provide food. This is when Jesus fed them by miraculously multiplying from five loaves and two fishes.

The New Testament narrative of the loaves and fishes does not specify where the biblical event took place; only that it was a "remote place" (6:32-35) along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It is possible however that the site of the Church of Multiplication is the actual or nearby the site of the Feeding of the Five Thousands which has been associated traditionally by Christian’s traveling to the Holy Land.

The Spanish pilgrim Egeria visited and made historic accounts of the Church in c.350, mentioning the splendid floor mosaics. Eventually the church was destroyed around 685 AD. The site was purchased and excavated in 1932 by the Deutsche Verien vom Heilige Lande; a protective cover was built over part of the excavations and mosaics in 1936. In 1982 this was replaced by the modern Church of the Multiplication that stands today; a faithful reconstruction of the original.

Beneath the alter table of the church is a block limestone venerated as the table of the Lord. During the 4th century Christian pilgrims visiting the holy site were allowed to chip away at the altar which stood during that time. This is of course no longer permitted. In front of the altar is a stunning mosaic of two fishes and a basket of loaves restored from the original mosaics. Besides the sacred importance of the site of the miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, the main attraction of the church is the amazing 5th century mosaic floor. It is the earliest known figured pavement in Palestinian Christian art.

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