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Christians Traveling to Israel Visit The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter

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The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter is a Franciscan church situated in Tabgha steps away from the Sea of Galilee, and traditionally marking the spot, of Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter (John 21) after a fish breakfast on the shores of the lake.

From the Bible, Jesus appears on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to his disciples after His resurrection for a third time. Peter and a few other disciples where out fishing at the lake, and not catching anything. In the morning, Jesus appeared on the shores but they did not recognize Him, asking the disciples to cast their nets to the other side of the boat. Doing this, they caught so many fish the disciples couldn’t drag the net back into the boat.

This is when Peter recognized Jesus, jumping into the water to meet Him, the other disciples followed on the boat, dragging the net full of fish behind them. When they arrived on shore, Jesus had prepared a fire with charcoal for the fish, and why the church was referred to as the Place of the Coals in the 9th century.

Jesus and His disciples had breakfast together (John 21:9). Taking place on the mensa Christi or “table of Christ,” that today incorporates a large portion of stone at the Church’s altar.

After having breakfast, Jesus reinstated Peter (after Peter’s three denials of Jesus at His crucifixion) saying to Peter “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-19). This is the Biblical event the church is named after. The modern building was built in 1933 incorporating parts of the earlier 4th century church. Here you’ll also find the “Twelve Thrones,” heart shaped stones commemorating the Twelve Apostles, the series of stones were first mentioned in the year 808.

The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter survived longer than any other in the area, and was finally destroyed in 1263. After being rebuilt in 1933, the church has been visited by Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, as well as by the thousands of Christians traveling to Israel on a annual basis.

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