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Center in Galilee uncovers only well-preserved synagogue from Jesus' times

2013-03-28

FR. JUAN SOLANA
Director, Magdala Center
"As we prepared to start construction, we had to do several archeological excavations prior, and that's where God's providence overflowed. I was afraid  we would find something, and we did. But my fear went away because it was an extraordinary thing which has given tremendous value to the project. I think it will also give a lot of value to the center in the future.”

They uncovered half of the village of Magdala, and along with it, a synagogue in an excellent state of preservation. They discovered the altar, floor mosaics, and part of the frescoes on the walls that remained buried for 20 centuries.

FR. JUAN SOLANA
Director, Magdala Center

"It is the only synagogue uncovered in Galilee from the time of Jesus. There is no reason to doubt or to deny that Jesus had been there. We know that a good part of his public ministry took place in the synagogues, and this synagogue is very close to Capernaum.”

Along with the pilgrims center, workers are also finishing work on the city's church, which will also become another stop on pilgrims' lists.

Organizers hope that the Magdala Center, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, will become not just an archeological preserve. They would like to see it become a convention center, to help deepen understanding of Christian doctrine, and take better advantage of the visits to Holy places.

FR. JUAN SOLANA
Director, Magdala Center

"The Holy Land is the fifth Gospel that adds ambiance, adds color, adds distance and adds life to the other four. Really, of all the people that have gone to the Holy Land, and I've met thousands, they end up loving it, they want to return and bring their loved one. I think the Year of Faith is a great time to visit these places here Jesus lived.”

That is precisely one of the suggestions the Vatican made at the start for the Year of Faith, to visit the Holy Land. Christians are in the minority and in need of help.

FR. JUAN SOLANA
Director, Magdala Center

"In addition to the presence of the Christian world on pilgrimages, who they say as their brothers, Christians in the Holy Land, for the most part, live off of religious tourism, off of the pilgrimages. So if there are pilgrimages, they have work.”

Magdala is the hometown of Mary Magdalene, a women who played a large and important role in the Gospels. As a result, the convention centers will also organize events on the role of women in the Church and society.


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