Have we finally found the ancient Bethsaida, the birthplace of christianity? Archaeologists israelis have assured Friday to have discovered a church in the Galilee region, which would have according to them been built on the site of the former home of the apostles Peter and Andrew. This byzantine church was found at El-Araj, between the lands of the bible Capernaum and Kursi, announced Mordechaï Aviam, head of the archaeological excavations.

According to him, it would be a matter of Bethsaida, a fishing village where Peter and his brother Andrew were born, according to the Gospel of John. Saint-Pierre, a former fisherman, is considered by the christian religion as one of the first disciples of Jesus. For the catholic Church, he is the first pope. The church’s discovery corresponds to the description that in fact the archbishop of the bavarian Willibald, on his journey to Bethsaida 725: it was said that a church had been built on the place where had lived, Peter and Andrew.

“Between Capernaum and Kursi, there is only one place that this visitor of the Eighth century, described as a church,” says Mr. Aviam. “And we have” discovered ” this church. “We have uncovered that a third of the church, or even a little less, but it is indeed a church, we are safe. The structure is that of a church, dates ( construction, editor’s note ) are from the byzantine era, the mosaics on the floor are typical of the period.

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research is still necessary

The excavation, which began two years ago, have discovered a roman village, with “the pottery, coins, dishes in hard stone characteristic of the jewish homes in the first century ad,” adds Mordecha├» Aviam.

other sites may, however, be identified as the place of birth of Saint-Pierre. Two kilometers from El Araj, the site e-Tell is the object of excavations since 1987, which has allowed them to discover the ruins of an old roman temple. For the american professor R. Steven Notley, associated with the excavations at El-Araj, further research is needed before determining with certainty that El-Araj is well Bethsaida. “Find an entry (…) describing the memory of which (the church) has been built” would be a good way to be sure, he declared to the israeli newspaper Haaretz .

archaeologists working on the site of El-Araj keep a diary on Facebook, which gives an account of their discoveries to the day-to-day.

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