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Capernaum is Jesus’s head office of His public ministry.  It is Jesus’ own town (Matt 9:1), and it is located northwest of the Sea of Galilee.

The village of Capernaum expanded in the 2nd or 3rd century BCE.   In the New Covenant, Capernaum had a mixture of people such as religious leaders, a tax collector, fishermen, Roman soldiers, mill stone laborers, and workers. In addition, doctors were in town according to Josephus when he fell from the horse and went to Capernaum for a doctor in 60CE (Flavius Josephus, The Life of Flavius Josephus, Vol. 72).  Jesus’ head office was likely here for geographical reasons such as a border, highway connections, and all types of businesses and people.

Here, Jesus performed many miracles such as healing a demon-possessed man (Mark 1:21-28), restoring a man’s deformed hand (Luke 6:6-11), healing a Roman soldier’s paralyzed servant (Matt 8:5-13), healing a lame man (Mark 2:1-5), healing Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Matt 8:14-15)……. However, like Korazim and Bethsaida, people in town were unresponsive to His miracles and His message.  Capernaum was condemned by Jesus as well!

Today, the ruins of Capernaum are divided into two sites, as they are owned by two different groups: The Franciscans who own two-thirds of the ancient ruins, and the Greek Orthodox who own the rest of the land.  Another part of Capernaum belongs to the Israeli National Park of Capernaum.  The Franciscan site discovered the 4th century synagogue and the house of the Apostle Peter.  The Greek Orthodox’s two acres of land is still untouched without excavation.

Let’s explore the Franciscan site!

inside synagogue

This is the remains of a Jewish synagogue that was built during the 4th century CE.  Obviously, this is not where Jesus taught and healed.  But where is the first century synagogue where Jesus taught?

jesus's synagogue

Where is the first century synagogue in which Jesus taught?  It is under the 4th century synagogue.

early church

An early church was built where the house of Peter was.  But how do we know this was the house of Peter?

When they started excavating this place, they found walls that belonged to the first century time of Jesus.  They also found that these walls had been turned into a church, so it was a house that was turned into a church later.  They found hundreds of graffities on the walls dedicated to the Lord and they found the name of Peter as well.  So based on these findings, they claim this is the house of Peter.

modern church

After the Franciscans bought this land in 1903, they wanted to build a modern church where the house of Peter was.  Without destroying it, they constructed a church over it in a smart way – it is a hanging building!  Pretty Cool!

*Photo was contributed by Dr Rasmussen.

inside modern church

It is an octagonal church and you can walk inside of it.

house of peter

In the middle of this octagonal church, there is a glass where you can look down into the house of Peter.

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