Church of the Apostles may have been unearthed near Galilee sea

A group of archaeologists believe they may have uncovered the much-searched-for Church of the Apostles near the Sea of Galilee.


NSFW    BEIT HABEK, ISRAEL — Archaeologists have discovered an early Christian church rumored to be built over the house of the apostles Peter and Andrew.

According to a press release from the Center for the Study of Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins, a large church from the Byzantine period has been unearthed at Beit Habek, near the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Archaeologists believe the structure is the Church of the Apostles, which Christian tradition indicates was built over the home of Jesus' disciples Peter and Andrew in the village of Bethsaida.

A Bavarian bishop named Willibald had written about the church in 725 C.E., having seen it while traveling from Capernaum to Kursi.

According to the press release, the church is part of a monastery complex, but only the southern rooms have been excavated.

So far, the team has uncovered ornate mosaic tiles, marble fragments from a chancel screen, and a fragment of a chalk carving showing a cross.

They also unearthed a Roman-period home about 100 meters north of the main excavation area, which contained Jewish stone vessels, oil lamps, and over 20 Roman-era coins and lead fishing weights.

R. Steven Notley, a New Testament professor at Nyack College who blogged about the excavation, says the archaeologists have been digging at the site for four years, and will need another year to completely excavate the remains of the church.
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