The famous and scenic Church of the Beatitudes chapel stands a top of Mount of Beatitudes, constructed between 1936 and 1938 by the noted architect Antonio Barluzzi, and it honors the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, Matthew 6, Matthew 7,Matthew 8). You’ll visit this beautiful holy site during our 5th day of our signature Christian pilgrimage Holy Land Tour of Israel, and it’s often described by pilgrims as one of the more memorable moments when visiting the Holy Land.
The beautiful Byzantine style of the church also features in the entrance front, mosaic symbols on the pavement representing Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, Faith, Hope, and Charity. The floor-plan is octagonal in shape, with the eight sides representing the eight Beatitudes. Inside you’ll find marble veneer casing the lower walls and a gold mosaic dome, and in display is a cloak worn by Pope Paul VI from his visit to the holy place in 1964, and in fact both Pope Paul VI and John Paul II celebrated mass at the church during their Holy Land pastoral visits.
The location of the church has been known to be commemorated by Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land since the 4th century. In her long letter of her journey in 381-384 the pilgrim Egeria writes after describing the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, "Near there on a mountain is the cave to which the Savior climbed and spoke the Beatitudes." The current Church of the Beatitudes sits near the ruins of a small Byzantine era church dating to the late 4th century, which contains a rock-cut cistern beneath it and the remains of a small monastery nearby. Part of the original mosaic floor has also been recovered and is now on display in Capernaum.
Priest Jeromer Murphy-O’Connor leading professor of the New Testament and St. Paul describes the selection of the site of the church; "It was perhaps inevitable that this well-watered area with its shade trees on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where Byzantine pilgrims ate their picnics, should have been identified as the location of two episodes involving the consumption of food, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the conferral on St. Peter of the responsibility of leadership after a fish breakfast. Then it became convenient to localize the Sermon of the Mount on the small hill nearby." Never the less of whether this is the very spot, the Church of the Beatitudes stands in the general-area and in a similar setting to where Jesus would have stood as he delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount. You can not stand in this Church overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and just imagine your self hearing the sermon. Many Holy Land Church groups make time of prayer in a group setting at the chapel to reflect on the teaching of the Lord.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessedare the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessedare the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessedare they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake" (Matt 5:3-11 KJV).