Mount of Beatitudes
Overlooking the fields of Gennesaret located between the town of Tabgha and Capernaum stands still the mountain called Mount of Beatitudes. Also known as Mount Eremos, this small mountain sits near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. This mountain is known as a place where Christ told the Sermon on the Mount. And near the mountain, you can find the Sower’s Cove, where it is said that Jesus told the tale of the sower (Mark 4:1-9).
The Sermon on the Mount
The story behind the mountain’s name can be found in Matthew 5:3-11 and Luke 6 when they speak about Jesus gathering his followers and doing his Sermon with eight blessings, or beatitudes in Latin. He said: “Blessed are the poor/they who morn/meek/they who hunger and thirst for justice/merciful/pure of heart/peacemakers/ they who suffer persecution for justice sake.” Despite being small, the mountain was large enough to shelter all of the followers, and it formed a perfect natural amphitheater where Christ delivered the Sermon.
The Mount of Beatitudes as the location of the Sermon on the Mount
The Mount of Beatitudes wasn’t explicitly titled the place of the Sermon on the Mount. Still, there is no doubt because many Christian pilgrims visited this location and started talking and taking notes about it in the 4th century AD. Jesus lived for a few years in Galilee when he did his ministry work, and that’s another reason why it is believed that this mountain was the location of the Sermon on the Mount. Because of that, this location is one of the most meaningful locations from the New Testament. Another great miracle happened near the mountain when Jesus managed to feed around 5,000 followers with only five loaves of bread and just two fish. The 4th century was a significant period in time for this site, and you can still see the remains of the church, the monastery, and its cistern from that time. Pope Paul VI visited the site in 1964, and he left his cloak that hangs in the church all these years. And in 2000, Pope John Paul II held a mass here. The Mount of Beatitudes is included in the Jesus Trail that retraces the steps that Christ did. The trail goes through many villages and locations that Jesus visited while he was doing ministry work in Galilee.
The Church of the Mount of Beatitudes
In 1938 a church was constructed on the Mount of Beatitudes by A. Barluzzi, it was done in the Byzantine style, and it’s a Roman Catholic Franciscan church. The church was primarily made for Franciscan nuns, and Mussolini partly financed it. The symbolism behind the church’s shape is beautiful because it has an octagonal shape representing the eight beatitudes. Around the altar, there is a mosaic portraying the seven virtues. The most stunning dome is the inner dome, which has gold mosaics, and the arches supported by columns give the whole facade an appealing and astonishing feel. Peaceful gardens surround the church, and you will stay in awe after seeing the mosaic floor created in 1984 by Italian artist Vasco Nasorri, which lies in the courtyard. Justice, prudence, fortitude, charity, faith, and temperance are portrayed in the mosaic. And one more thing that gives this place the idyllic atmosphere it has is the gorgeous natural surroundings.