Churches of IsraelNazareth

Mensa Christi Church

Mensa Christi Church: When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. (Matthew 26:20)

 Hours:

Typically locked but can be accessed upon request of the key from the family living next to the church.

Free Admission

Description:

Mensa Christi Church

Mensa Christi Church is located down a narrow alley on road #6126. “Mensa Christi” is a Latin word meaning “table of Christ.” In Hebrew it is “Shulchan Yeshu.” It derives its title from a legend suggesting that the tablet of chalk in the church was originally used by Jesus and his disciples to eat dinner AFTER his resurrection. It is debatable, however, because there is another church in Israel, St. Peter Church on the coast of Kinnereth, which boasts the same thing. So, there are really two tables of Christ in Israel.

Inside the church there is an impressive dome with paintings and a marble altar in an Italian style. In 1876, the Italian Leonardo Di Mango painted a large oil painting on the front of the church’s façade. There used to be a spring next to Mensa Christi Church called “Jesus Spring” or “The Messengers Spring.” The Muslims called it “Ein El-Jadidda” or “The New Spring.” The numerous mentions of this spring suggest it was strongly flowing since the 1600s, but it dried up in 1921.

This church dedicated to Jesus and his disciples lies in a dense neighborhood in the old city part of Nazareth. You can only get there by traveling on foot down a steep path from the Carmelite convent.

History:

The table of Christ located at Nazareth became very popular with the pilgrims visiting Nazareth during the 17th century. Unfortunately, the overzealous followers of Jesus began breaking little pieces of the limestone table off as souvenirs or engraving their names in the table. So, now it has been renovated and protected by an iron fence.

Mensa Christi Church

The Muslims later removed the fence in 1645. There are depressions in the limestone believed to have belonged to Jesus as he placed his hands there during repeated meals. In the second half of the 18th century Franciscan monks built a small chapel over the site. In 1861 there was another renovation of the church, and Mensa Christi Church again began holding regular masses.

The government of Israel, along with the local municipality of Nazareth, participated in a project to restore the old city of Nazareth. This 80 million dollar project commemorated the Millennium Celebration in 2000. As part of this rebuilding endeavor the frescos and the beautifully painted dome of the Mensa Christi Church were refurbished to their former glory.

 

 

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