On June 16, 2010, we visited the ruins of the village Capernaum in Galilee. The ruins of the once busy Jewish fishing village of Capernaum are located on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee, west of Bethsaida and east of Gennesaret. It is 20 miles from Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. Jesus began His ministry in Galilee after being baptized by St. John the Baptist in the River Jordan and facing the temptations of the devil in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. Capernaum became the center of His Galilean ministry. Jesus worked many miracles in this region and large crowds gathered when He was teaching. One such is example is when He preached the Sermon on the Mount, traditionally believed to have occurred on a hill just south of Capernaum.
According to St. Mark, the first four disciples (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) were gathered by Jesus as He walked along the Sea of Galilee (Mark 1: 16-20). He then continued by teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath in Capernaum, casting out an unclean spirit from a man and healing Peter’s mother in law of her sickness. Soon, crowds gathered and “they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.” (Mark 1: 32-34). Capernaum is also the location of the house through whose roof a paralytic was lowered in order to bypass the crowds and reach Jesus.
Today Capernaum is in ruins. We were able to view the house of Peter and Andrew from a windowed floor in the Catholic church built just above. We also visited the ruins of the synagogue and the still active Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles.