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  * 2000 - 2003

  * The House
  * Pictures 1
  * Pictures 2
  * Pictures 3
  * Pictures 4


foundation stone

24.01.82 - Laying the foundation stone
of the Memorial on the House of St. Peter

The house of St. Peter, often mentioned by the Synoptic Gospels in relation to the activity of Jesus in Capharnaum, and recorded later on by pilgrims, was rediscovered in 1968 under the foundations of the octagonal church some 30 m south of the synagogue. The history of that house where Jesus lived, can be summarised as follows:
1. the house was built in the Late Hellenistic period;
2. in the late first century A.D. it was changed into a "domus-ecclesia", i. e. became a house for religious gatherings;
3. in the fourth century A.D. the same "domus-ecclesia" was enlarged and was set apart from the rest of the town through an imposing enclosure wall;
4. in the second half of the fifth century A.D. an octagonal church was built upon the house of St. Peter and remained in use until the seventh century A.D.;
5. the identification of the house of St. Peter is based on the combination of archaeological data and literary sources which run side by side in a wonderful way.


The Memorial under construction on the remains of the House of Peter
Large image

The new Memorial upon the traditional House of St. Peter was built by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in order to shelter the archaeological remains of the Insula Sacra, and to make the same ruins more accessible to the visitors. The inside of the edifice is primarely reserved to religious services.


The Memorial under construction

The Memorial was planned by the Italian architect Ildo Avetta. The main bulk of the building, which is hovering over the remains of the House of Simon Peter the fisherman, conveys in some way the image of a boat. The same idea is suggested by the wall decorations made up of stylised fish, waves and nets.


The Memorial - a blend of architecture and history

The four wooden panels inside the church are the work of the artists Raoul Vistoli (the Blessed Virgin entering the House of Peter, and St. Peter on a boat) and of Giovanni Dragoni (the Crucifixion and Jesus in the House of Peter). More panels are expected to embellish the interior surfaces of the Memorial. The mosaic of the altar (of Enzo Rossi) combines the biblical theme of the manna in the desert and of the multiplication of loaves. Some passages of the fourth Gospel relating the famous speech on the bread of life, made by Jesus in the synagogue of Capharnaum, are engraved on the walls of the presbytery. The central tabernacle (of Igino Legnaghi) reproduces the biblical taw letter. The artistic bronze railing (of Tavani) around the central oculus of the Memorial and along the entrance staircase, is a combination of Christian symbols.


The interior of the Memorial

The daring and ultra-modern project of Ildo Avetta entailed lengthy and complex studies conducted by the engineer Cesare Pocci and by many specialists of the Israeli Technion. The execution, through the Israeli building contracting company Solel Bonneh was supervised by the Engineer Anis Sruji of Nazareth.

on site

Fr. Loffreda, Architect Ildo Avetta and Fr. Corbo
inspecting the House of St Peter

The Memorial was dedicated by Card. Lourdusami on June 29th, 1990. That date was engraved on the plinths of the facade: BEATO PETRO APOSTOLO - A.D. MCMXC DICATUM. (Dedicated to the blessed apostle Peter on June 29, 1990). In that memorable occasion the Holy Father John Paul II sent a special message, part of which has been engraved on both sides of the entrance.


29.07.90 - Consacration of the Memorial

The ancient texts of Egeria and of the Placentinus, together with the new dedicatory inscription, stress the continuity of the Christian tradition on this holy place which was at the same time the house of Peter, the house of Jesus, and the cradle of Christianity.


Another view of the interior of the Memorial

© copyright 2001. Text written by Fr. Stanislao Loffreda ofm. Reproduction, retrieval or redistribution of this material is not permitted without prior permission of the author reachable at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (sbfnet@netvision.net)

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Created / Updated Monday, December 17, 2001 at 18:35:01 by John Abela ofm
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