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Rome Reports

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The synagogue of Mary Magdalene

This is the city of Mary Magdalene. Christ's disciple probably passed through these streets and this synagogue. It is the only one of its time found in the region of Galilee. DINA AVSHALOM-GORNI Archaeologist "It was a beautiful synagogue, the walls were decorated with beautiful frescoes, with red and yellow and green colors, it was beautiful colors. The floor was like a beautiful mosaic, it has six columns holding the roof, it was quite big. And benches around it, what is the benches? For the community that came in to learn, to study they were sitting around the wall on these benches, listening to the leader, the rabbis.� This synagogue has a very special meaning, and not just for Christians. For Jews, it is a symbol of the unity that existed between Jerusalem and the most remote communities. The proof is in the devotion that they felt for the Temple, with the most valuable piece of the excavation serving as evidence. It was this stone, where surely the rabbis would put the sacred texts that they were going to explain. The Menorah is carved in it, which is the candelabra of seven arms that was in the holiest place of the Temple of Jerusalem. DINA AVSHALOM-GORNI Archaeologist "The person who did it, he saw the temple in Jerusalem, he knew from his knowledge, not from his grandfather story. Till today this is the first item, the first art piece that we found like this. The importance is not just artistic it's also spiritual." Most interesting of all is that this excavation led by the Antiquities Authority of Israel began by only by chance. In fact, the Legionaries of Christ were going to build a site for pilgrims. When making the previous excavations, they discovered the old city of Magdala, and had to modify the original project. Now, for the first time, the stone is exposed to the public in the place that few could have imagined: the Vatican. It is an unprecedented gesture that hopes to demonstrate the harmony and dialogue that exists between Christians and, as John Paul II said, their "older brothers in the faith." JRB/JC CTV FL -PR Up:AC