Arkeologar har denne veka informert om funnet av ei stor bysantinsk kyrkje nordaust for Gennesaretsjøen. Funnet er gjort i El-Araj, éin av to stadar som kan vera lokaliseringa av den bibelske byen Betsaida. Utgravingane er avslutta for i år og held fram neste år.
Den israelske avisa Haaretz har eit stort oppslag om saka:
Church of the Apostles Found by Sea of Galilee, Archaeologists Claim
A bishop trekking around the lake in 725 saw and described the Church of the Apostles — exactly where this one has been found, archaeologists say
Archaeologists believe they have likely found the Church of the Apostles, which Christian tradition says had been built over the home of Jesus’ disciples Peter and Andrew in the village of Bethsaida, today part of the Bteikha Nature Reserve, by the Sea of Galilee.
Finding a Byzantine-period church is one thing, but why do the archaeologists, whose work is supported by the Israel Antiquities Authority, think it’s the Church of the Apostles, no less?
«It’s the historical tradition we possess, and there is no good reason to question it,» Notley tells Haaretz. Namely, in the year 725, a Bavarian bishop named Willibald was touring the Holy Land and wrote about walking from Capernaum to Kursi, and on the way seeing the church of Peter and his brother Andrew, Aviam explains.
“No other churches have been found between those two towns,” Aviam clarifies. And the el-Araj church seems to be from the appropriate period.
The ruins have not been precisely dated yet, but based on more than 100 coins, the church seems to have been built in the fifth century, nearly 500 years after the apostles would have lived, and to have been abandoned in the late seventh century or eighth century.
Sjå også arkeologane si heimeside med fleire bilde: elarajexcavations.com
Biskop Willibald sin omtale av kyrkja er elles relativt kort. Han reiste i fleire år i Hellas og Midt-Austen, og dikterte ei bok på dødsleiet sitt om kva han hadde opplevd. Her står det:
Then they went to Bethsaida, the native place of Peter and Andrew. A church now occupies the site where their home once stood. They passed the night there, and on the following morning set off for Corazain, …
(via Agade og BiblePlaces Blog)