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David Martin
David Martin

Capernaum Image UPDATED

Astronaut photograph ISS020-E-31066 was acquired on August 15, 2009, with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera fitted with an 400 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 20 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, NASA-JSC.

Capernaum image


With our view to the north, the property on the right of the Franciscan property belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church. You will see their little red-domed church near the middle of our image. The property between that church and the Franciscan property was excavated after 1978 under the direction of Vassilios Tzaferis but is not open to the public.

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  • See Also

  • House of Saint Peter in Capernaum

  • Pilgrimage Church of St. Peter in Capernaum

  • Saint Peter's Byzantine Church (Capernaum)

  • Sea of Galilee Boat

During pilgrimages, guides habitually ask the accompanying priest to read a Gospel passage related to the place the pilgrims are visiting. At the basilica of the Annunciation, the Grotto of the Nativity, or the Church of the Transfiguration, to cite three examples, it is easy to choose the passage. But what should one read in Capernaum, where Jesus spent the majority of his public life?

My experience accompanying groups of pilgrims leads me to recommend one particular reading: the beginning of the Gospel according to Saint Mark, from verse 14 of the first chapter until verse 12 of the second. Read there, under the shade of the sycamore trees, among the ruins of Capernaum, it all suddenly makes sense, gains relevance, comes to life. It is one of the best examples of how the Gospels are read with different eyes after one has made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

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Meanwhile, the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Aquilea Italy features a very well preserved 4th century floor mosaic, chock full of all kinds of early Christian imagery. This very colorful peacock is but one of the elements in this massive work: 041b061a72


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