Tag Archives: Magdala

Magdala: the Chapel of the Encounter — Hemorrhaging Woman

For the many who have inquired, this mural is available for purchase Here.

In a recent visit to Magdala the students of the Jerusalem University College were graciously and expertly hosted by the excavator Arfan Najjar and Jennifer Ristine.

I like to visit Magdala for two reasons. One is to visit the antiquities of the First Century Synagogue and the Second is to reflect on the role of women among the first followers of Jesus.

MagdalaEncounterChapel

The Encounter Chapel, in the lower lever of Duc In Altum, is dedicated to Jesus’ encounter of all of us, as illustrated by the hemorrhaging woman.  Note how she touches the hem of Jesus’ garment.  (Mark 5:25–34)

The Encounter Chapel is first of all an archeological treasure: the floor is that of the original first century market place of the Magdala port.

A port market place is about as busy a spot in any town you can imagine – probably the main metro train station or airport in our terms – where people without any discrimination rub shoulders.
Since we have also discovered significant infrastructure for fish processing, it is most logical that fishermen of the Sea of Galilee, many known to us by on a first name basis, who wanted to sell their fish for export to Rome (documented by Flavius Josephus) would have gravitated to Magdala’s port, probably not unfamiliar to Jesus’ fishermen disciples. Jesus´ ease at sitting in their boats and mingling with large crowds helps us to see many people encountering him in this marketplace and he can engage the workers and the traders.

The large painting (titled “Encounter”) gives us a snapshot of the encounter of the hemorrhaging woman who tries to touch Jesus for healing (Mark 5: 25-29).

The Encounter Chapel, in the lower lever of Duc In Altum, is dedicated to Jesus’ encounter of all of us, as illustrated by the hemorrhaging woman. Located on the marketplace of the first century port, the Encounter Chapel is modeled after the structure of the Magdala First Century Synagogue with room for up to 120 people.

As you visit the Sea of Galilee and reflect on Jesus’ ministry in the area, I commend to you a visit to Magdala—about 1 to 1.5 hours so see it all.


Daniel Cariola is the creator of the mural of the “encounter.”  For more information on the mural I suggest that you contact the folk at Magdala directly:
info@magdala.org
http://www.magdala.org

Advertisements

Magdala: The Rest of the Story

MagdalaPanoIn two previous posts I described and posted images of the beautiful chapel and the first century synagogue at Magdala.  Besides these two structures a number of others have been discovered including an “Elite House” (=mansion) that contains three(!) ritual baths, a mosaic floor, etc.

mansion-1

View looking east at a portion of the foundation walls of an elite residence that is located south of the synagogue. Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.

In the center of the image is a doorway and below it to the left are hewn steps that lead down into a miqveh (ritual bath).  The thickness of the walls indicates that there was more than one story to the house.  There is a mosaic under the permanent covering—that is still covered for protection.   Because of the ritual baths found in the house, it seems that wealthy/religious Jews that lived there.

ritual-bath-1

View of one of the three ritual baths that are part of an elite house that is located south of the synagogue at Magdala.

Hewn stairs lead down into the water.  The bath still contains water—actually a spring in the area still supplies the bath with water.

Between the synagogue and the mansion an extensive Market Area has been excavated.

market

View looking east at the market of Magdala.

In the shops, pottery, woven goods, and fresh produce were sold.  In several of the shops there were plastered pools designed to hold fresh fish.  These pools had access to fresh underground water.

In addition, what is being called a “port,” was excavated—although the remains are not too impressive.

Finally, to the northwest is a very large freshwater pool called En Nun.

en-nun

View looking northwest at the large freshwater pool of En Nun.

This pool collects water from the springs that are located to the west of it.  It was apparently used for irrigation as far back as the Roman (= New Testament) Period.  It is possible that water was used in the fields north of Magdala.  Or, maybe it was used by another city that was located to the north of Magdala (Dalmanutha?? Mark 8:10).

 

 

First Century Synagogue at Magdala — Did Jesus Worship Here?

MagdalaPano

Click on Panorama to view descriptive details.

In 2009, in preparation for the construction of a Franciscan Retreat Center on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, excavations took place before the construction began.  Much to the surprise of the excavators they came down upon a first century A.D. synagogue.

INSGMG03

The Interior of the First Century Synagogue at Magdala at the time of excavation
Note the benches around the side, the frescoed columns, and especially the unique stone box in the center of the image
Click to Enlarge — Photo: Gordon Franz

The synagogue measures 33 x 33 ft. and has benches on all four walls.  There is evidence that it was renovated between A.D. 40 and 50.  A coin from A.D. 29 was found among the debris and the synagogue was destroyed in A.D. 67 when Titus (the Roman General, later emperor) leveled the city.

If this dating, and interpretation are correct, it is very probable that Jesus, His disciples, Mary Magdalene, and others worshiped in this structure!!

INSGMG04

The “Stone Box” in-situ
Note the representation of a Seven Branch Menorah (on a tripod) that is flanked by two vases and clusters of columns
Click on Image to Enlarge — Photo: Gordon Franz

This solid “stone box” is totally unique.  Who ever carved the menorah probably saw the ones in the Temple in Jerusalem (prior to its destruction in A.D. 70).

For brief comments on Magdala see below
For 12 images of the Stone Box, Frescos,
and Mosaics of the Synagogue Click Here.
Many of these images are courtesy of Gordon Franz who publishes
articles on his website Life and Land

The site of al–Majdal (Arabic for “tower”) is located 4 mi. northwest of Tiberias, along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.  This is evidently the site of New Testament Magdala (from migdol “tower”) that is the same as Taricheae (“the place of salted fish”) mentioned by Josephus where a bloody naval battle took place between the Jews and Romans during the first Jewish Revolt (ca. A.D. 66–70; War 3.10.1–10 [462–542]).

It was evidently the home of Mary Magdalene, one of the followers of Jesus who is mentioned 12 times in the NT.  It actually may also be the site of “Magadan: (Matt 15:39) and/or “Dalmanutha” (Mark 8:10).

The site was excavated in the 1970’s and more recent (ongoing) excavations have found the remains of an early Jewish Synagogue dated to the first century A.D. as well as ritual baths, streets, houses, and even the wharf.

Magdala: Home of Mary Magdalene — Chapel

During several visits over the past few years I have been excited to see the archaeological work on the synagogue, market, dwellings, and harbor of Magdala—home of Mary Magdalene on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

This past June we visited the site under the leadership of one of the Magdala guides and although we were pressed for time, she urged us to visit the Chapel at Magdala.  I am so glad that we did!

INSGMGNS01

View looking north northwest at the entrance to the chapel called “Duc in Altum.”

This chapel is called Doc in Altum that is Latin for the words of Jesus addressed to Peter as recorded in Luke 5:4 where, after preaching from his boat, Jesus tells Peter to “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” After a large catch Peter and his partners left all behind to follow Jesus—to become “fishers of men” (5:10).   The chapel is a call for present day followers of Jesus to become “fishers of men.”

INSGMGNS02

View looking east at the “Women’s Atrium” of Duc in Altum.

As we entered the atrium we were informed that it is dedicated to the women who followed and supported Jesus (Luke 8)—especially Mary Magdalene.  On seven of the eight columns the names of women mentioned in the Gospels are engraved.  The eighth column is not inscribed and represents women of faith through the ages.  Here our guide encouraged women in the group to pray at the eighth column.  A number of them, especially those who had experience trauma as women, did in fact do that—and later shared that this was a very moving and important experience for them.

From the Atrium of the Women, we moved east into the Chapel of the Boat.

INSGMGNS21

View looking east at the “Boat Chapel.” To view details on this Panorama you are invited to Double Click on the Image.

This chapel commemorates Jesus preaching from the boat of Simon Peter (Luke 5:1-11).  The chapel seats 300 and along the sides of the chapel are pictures of the 12 male disciples of Jesus.

INSGMGNS04

View looking east at the boat altar in the “Boat Chapel.”

The altar’s design is based upon the 1st century boat that was excavated in 1986 along the shoreline near the chapel.  The altar is made out of cedar wood.  The “tabernacle,” that contains the elements for the Eucharist, to the right of the mast, was blessed by Pope Francis on May 26, 2014 during his pastoral pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The glassy floor, the reflecting pool behind the window, and the Sea of Galilee itself give the impression of the boat resting on the sea.


As usual, I was very impressed with the antiquities at Magdala, BUT I am so glad that we set aside time to visit this chapel to experience the symbolism and testimony that the Legionaries of Christ are sharing with the world–at–large!  If you visit the site, please budget 90 minutes for a complete visit—it will be very worthwhile!

Additional information can be found at the Official Magdala Web Site.

Tuesday’s Travel Tip 2 — Notre Dame Wine and Cheese Restaurant

Almost all tour groups will spend several days in Jerusalem.  If you wish to get away for a private/intimate dinner alone, or with friends from Jerusalem, you may want to consider a late afternoon meal at the relatively new “Wine and Cheese Restaurant” on the rooftop of Notre Dame (just north of the New Gate).  The view to the east from there is spectacular: Dome of the Rock, Domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Bell Tower of the Redeemer Church, a full view of the Mount of Olives, and even the Hills of Moab in Transjordan!

View from the “Wine and Cheese Restaurant” on the terrace rooftop of Notre Dame.

I suggest arriving in the late afternoon/early evening to enjoy the soft light of the setting sun.

After dinner, check out the “antiquities” on display at the Notre Dame.

Model of artifact from Magdala – on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. In the lobby of Notre Dame. Note the menorah in the center.

Gabi Barkay inspecting an ancient olive press

Detail of ancient olive press

Stone from the “siphon” portion of the aqueduct in the Bethlehem area that led to Jerusalem

Prices (summer of 2012) $17.00 for a steak, $6.00 glass of Merlot, $4.00 for dessert.  On Saturday nights, be sure to call ahead for reservations (actually, you may want to avoid the crowd on Saturday night!).

To view recent additions to http://www.HolyLandPhotos.org Click Here.