Domus Galilaeae, or House of Galilee, is an international Christian meeting place on the peak of Mount of Beatitudes that is run by the Neo-Catechumenal Way, a Catholic movement for Christian formation, and used for conventions and seminars.
Located north of Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee, the Domus Galilaeae is situated close to the ruins of Korazim on the plateau of the same name.
Domus Galilaeae is based on the summit of Mount of Beatitudes, a hill that rises almost 900 feet (300 meters) above sea level in front of Capernaum and Tabgah, the place of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as told in the Bible.
Mount of Beatitudes
The Mount of Beatitudes is believed to be the setting for the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus’ most famous discourse. Overlooking the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee, it is one of the most beautifully serene places in the Holy Land, with breathtaking vistas of the northern part of the lake and across to the cliffs of the Golan Heights on the other side.
History of Domus Galilaeae
On a visit to the Holy Land in the 1980s, Pope Paul VI envisioned a center where Catholic students could study Christianity’s Jewish roots and learn about Israel’s living traditions. He hoped the students would follow in the footsteps of early Christian saints and emphasized the need to appreciate Jewish roots to live-out authentic Christianity. He also endorsed the continuing life and vitality of the Jewish faith and prayed for Jewish continuance.
Building on the center began in 1999, was completed in 2001, and was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II during his Millennium visit to Israel. The design of the complex includes a grand entrance hall, a cloistered courtyard, a sanctuary, a church, a library, and an auditorium facing the Sea of Galilee. An ancient Torah carved out of Pietra Serena limestone, and Pietra Forte Colombino sandstone (traditional Tuscan building stone) rests at the library’s center.
The library specializes in books about the Sermon on the Mount. The chapel has a large painting by Argüello, combining Eastern and Western Christian symbols and paying homage to the Church’s Jewish roots.
Church of the Beatitudes
Built in 1938 for a Franciscan order of nuns, the Church of the Beatitudes was designed by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and boasted an elegant octagonal design with colonnaded cloisters. The light and airy church has eight sides representing the eight beatitudes and are shown in Latin in the upper windows.
The altar is surrounded by beautiful mosaics representing the seven virtues – charity, faith, fortitude, hope, justice, prudence, and temperance. Three altars are provided for group worship in the landscaped garden.
On his pilgrimage to Israel in 2000, he said he hoped Domus Galilaeae would become a place for interreligious dialogue.
Touring Domus Galilaeae
Domus Galilaeae offers a complimentary tour of its campus, including the halls and library. Be sure to stop and take in the spectacular, stunning panoramas of the Sea of Galilee in the magnificent artwork presenting Jesus preaching to the apostles from the balcony.
11.45 am – 5 pm
2.30-5 pm (4 pm Oct-Mar)
Here is a link to their website!