Church on the Mount of Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
Hours: 8:30am to noon, 2:30pm to 5pm (4pm in Winter)
The Church on the Mount of Beatitudes is located near Tabgha (off highway 90), overlooking the Sea of Galilee. To reach the Church on the Mount of Beatitudes, walk up the road from the Tabgha junction, via Via Hagalil, toward Rosh-Pina. This scenic place was traditionally thought to be where Jesus Christ delivered his most famous sermon, The Sermon on the Mount or The Beatitudes. The sermon got its name because each statement of Jesus Christ began with “Blessed are the” or “Beati” in Latin. Ever since the 4th century, Christian pilgrims have visited the place of this famous oration.
The Church on the Mount of Beatitudes is a Catholic Church built in the Neo-Byzantine style by A. Barluzzi. It is octagonal in shape to represent the eight beatitudes expounded on by Jesus Christ. In fact, each of the beatitudes is inscribed on each of the eight windows. Beside the entrance there are mementos left by the visiting Popes (Paul IV and John Paul II). The lower walls are marble and the dome is gold mosaic. The simple repeating arches accentuate the pastoral setting of this hill top retreat. On the interior of the sanctuary verses and symbols from the famous sermon are in mosaic form on the floors and around the altar.
Outside the Church on the Mount of Beatitudes are lovely gardens overlooking the peaceful Sea of Galilee. The beautiful view provides a scenic look at the landscape so integral in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. There is a gorgeous garden walkway with marble signs engraved again with the beatitudes.
There is really no evidence that the Sermon on the Mount actually happened where the Church on the Mount of Beatitudes now sits. It would be a logical conclusion, as the hill was a famous picnicking spot during the Byzantine Era. It would naturally follow that the events involving food (feeding of the multitude and commissioning of Peter after eating fish) would be attributed to this area. Over the years, the Sermon on the Mount was likewise associated with this popular hill.
When describing the Church of the Loaves and Fishes (down the hill from the modern site Church on the Mount of Beatitudes), Spanish pilgrim Egeria (381 AD) wrote of the hill where Jesus reported climbed up on a cave to deliver the beatitudes to the adoring crowd.
Ruins of a small church from around the 4th century have been found down the hill from where the Church on the Mount of Beatitudes is now built. It has a cistern cut out of stone beneath it. The remains of a small monastery to its south have also been uncovered. Part of its mosaic floor was also found and now is on display in Capernaum. The Church on the Mount of Beatitudes, in its current location and form, was built in 1938.