Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Check out these photos of the Holy Land

Fr. Ilya has just posted many, many photos of the Holy Land on his FaceBook page.

Go to this site to see them.

 He has made my job very easy and I will put all of you that have been following this
journey on my BlogSpot in his hands.  These are wonderful pictures.
Have fun looking at them.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 6 - Saturday, November 3, 2012

Our first day in Galilee will begin by exploring the vicinity of “sea” of Galilee. We plan to visit a number of sites around the lake. To cover the territory in one day is impossible, but some of the most important sites are definitely on the list: we will visit Capernaum, where Jesus made his home during the years of His earthly ministry; the Mount of Beatitudes where Our Lord taught His followers the New Testament “ten commandments” Tabgha, with church of multiplication of loaves and fishes; and Kursi, the place where Lord healed the Gadarine demoniacs and where the herd of swine rushed into the sea and drowned.

The Sea of Galilee:

The Sea of Galilee lies on the ancient Via Maris, which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans founded flourishing towns and settlements on the land-locked lake including Gadara, Hippos and Tiberias. The first-century historian Flavius Josephus was so impressed by the area that he wrote, "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." Josephus also reported a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake. Archaeologists discovered one such boat, nicknamed the Jesus Boat, in 1986. The native talapia fish is called "Peter's Fish" in honor of the apostle.

Jesus picked four of his apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew and the brothers John and James. One of Jesus' famous teaching was the Sermon on the Mount, which was given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, his calming the storm, and his feeding five thousand people and other stories from the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 


 Inhabited from 150 B.C. to around A.D. 750 Capernaum is mentioned in the book of Matthew and is thought to be the birthplace of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John.  In the 4th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew he refers to Capernaum as the home of Jesus.  It is know that Jesus taught in the temple located there. The temple is located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and takes its name from the Hebrew for 'Nahum's village' (Kfar Nahum)

There also Jesus healed a man afflicted with an unclean devil, restored Simon Peter's mother-in-law to health, and granted the wish of a Roman centurion to cure his servant. 

The area of the Gardarine Demoniac:

John MacGregor, The Rob Roy on the Jordan (p. 378-380, c1869,c 1904 ) describes this location.

Between Wady Semakh (at the Kursi Junction) and Wady Fik (near Kibbutz En Gev) there are at least four distinct localities where every feature in the Scripture account of this incident may be found in combination.  Above there are rocks with caves in them, very suitable for tombs, and farther down there is ample space for tombs built on sloping ground--a form of sepulture far more prevalent in Scripture times than we are apt to suppose.  A verdant sward is here, with many bulbous roots which swine might feed upon.  And on this I observed--what is an unusual site--a very large herd of oxen, horses, camels, sheep, asses, and goats, all feeding together.  It was evident that the pasturage was various and enough for all--a likely place for "a herd of swine feeding on the mountain."
Khersa, near this, in ruins, was probably the Gergesa of old, and, as has been observed repeatedly by authors, this might well be in the "country of the Gadarenes," though a considerable distance from the town of Gadara.  We are told that, "the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place."  It does not say a "high" place, but "steep," and that they "ran" (not, they "fell") down this "into the sea."  There are several steeps near the sea here, but only one so close to the water as to make it sure that, if a herd "ran violently" down, they would go "into the sea."  But the place which I regard as most likely for the site of this event is at the end of the short plain under some rocks, and near the green plateau, where the swine could feed.  Here, for a full half-mile, the beach is of a form different from any other round the lake, and from any I have noticed in any lake or sea before.  It is flat until close to the edge.  There a hedge of oleanders fringes the end of the plain, and immediately below these is a gravel beach, inclined so steep that, when my boat was at the shore I could not see over the top even by standing up, while the water alongside is so deep that it covered my paddle (seven feet long) when dipped in vertically a few feet from the shore.  Now, if the swine rushed along this short plain towards this hedge of underwood (and in the delta of Semakh, their usual feeding place would be often amount to thick brushwood of that kind), they would instantly pass through the shrubs, and then down the steep gravel beyond into deep water, where they would surely be drowned. 

Information and photos from the following sources: