Located in Israel’s northern region, overlooking the majestic Sea of Galilee (or Kinneret in Hebrew), is the Mount of Beatitudes, aptly named after the blessings mentioned at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The eight beatitudes, or blessings, are outlined in the Gospel of Matthew, while four of the beatitudes also appear in Luke. They are Jesus’ prayers for those who follow Him and obey His teachings.
The Mount is also believed to be the place where Jesus met His apostles after His Resurrection and sent them out to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:16-20).
The Mount of Beatitudes is central to Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee region. Surrounded by Tiberias to the east, and Nazareth and Mount Tabor to the south, this location is truly ideal for its variation in altitudes and its plain-like valley between its two peaks, making it a natural amphitheatre for the multitudes who would gather at Jesus’ feet.
Ascend the Mount of Beatitudes, and you will find a beautiful 8-sided church that shares its namesake. Founded and built by the Franciscans, the octagonal Church of the Beatitudes is located above the small town of Tabgha, the place where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Its eight sides represent the eight beatitudes and are also depicted in the upper windows.
From the outside, the site affords a windswept vista of the Sea of Galilee. Be sure to walk through the church’s adjacent gardens as well. On the inside, visitors can take in the delicate beauty of the mosaic floors, which consist of the 7 virtues—justice, charity, prudence, faith, fortitude, hope, and temperance.
Appropriately, the ceiling welcomes visitors with Jesus’ first words of the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
– Matthew 5:3
Immerse yourself in the place where Jesus taught on your next trip to Israel!
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