A team of U.S. and Israeli archaeologists believe they have unearthed the Church of the Apostles, a Byzantine-era structure reportedly built over the house of Peter and Andrew, two of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles.
The scientists believe the dig, near the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is the site of the ancient Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida, which Philip, another of Jesus’ apostles, also called home. Jesus went there often, and the New Testament mentions Bethsaida several times. Mark 6 describes Jesus walking on water to the disciples as they floated toward the village in a boat.
So far, archaeologists have excavated only the southern rooms of the church. The ornate mosaic floors, a fragment of a marble chancel screen decorated with a wreath, and gold gilded glass tiles in a wall mosaic all suggest a grand and impressive structure once stood at the site.
Until the recent discovery, many scholars questioned the existence of the Church of the Apostles, even though it is mentioned in Byzantine pilgrimage reports, Steven Notley, director of Nyack College’s Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins program in New York City, told Fox News. He said the building of a church over the home of Peter and Andrew shows the early Christian community maintained a “living memory” of the location of Bethsaida. —J.B.