Israel, birthplace of Saint Peter discovered: A mosaic from 1500 years ago reveals the position of the biblical

Israel, birthplace of Saint Peter discovered: A mosaic from 1500 years ago reveals the position of the biblical

They now call it the Mosaic of St. Peter. A floor decoration from 1500 years ago that has attracted the attention of scholars from around the world because today it would indicate the exact location of the lost biblical city Bethsaida where the apostle was born. The mosaic preserves an inscription of great value to archaeologists: translated from ancient Greek and interpreted as a prayer of intercession to the “chief and commander of the heavenly apostles”. That is, Peter, the first of the followers of Jesusreported as the “leader of the group” of believers, Simon Peter, who lived as a fisherman until he met Jesus: so he left his homeland to follow him.


The mosaic was found a year ago during excavations in an ancient church from the 1st century AD north of Israel. But only now has the entire text been interpreted at once and brought to light from the layers of earth and mud. And what is now called “the Church of the Apostles” becomes the most important archaeological evidence: The church would actually have been built to commemorate the birthplace of St. Peter in the city of Bethsaida. In short what it is today El-Araj in the north of the country it would be the lost biblical city of Bethsaida on the north shore of the Sea of ​​Galilee.

A Discovery dubbed “extraordinary” by scholars, not least because it could end a long argument as to whether Peter was born in Bethsaida or Capernaum, both of which are mentioned in the Bible. As the English Chron reports, it all started with the excavation carried out in 2021 in the ruins of the Byzantine church in el-Araj. Here, in the sacristy room, the decoration of the floor with black and white tiles with decorative floral motifs framed by a round medallion began to reappear. However, the interest of archaeologists was piqued by the letters of the inscription.


“This discovery is our strongest indication that Peter had a special connection to the basilica and was likely dedicated to him,” Steven Notley, an archaeologist at Nyack College in New York, told the Chron. He usually identified Peter’s house at Bethsaida, and not at Capernaum, as is often assumed today, it seems likely that the basilica evokes his homeland ». The church appears to have been destroyed by an earthquake in AD 749 and thus forgotten by the seismic event. “One of the aims of this excavation – said excavation director Mordechai Aviam – was to verify whether we have a first-century stratum at the site, which will allow us to propose a better candidate for identifying biblical Bethsaida . Not only did we find important remains from that period, but also this important church and monastery around it.”