On Friday the 29th of June/12th of July 2013, the feast of the glorious saints, Apostles Peter and Paul, was celebrated at the Church dedicated to them in Capernaum. The church, which invites admiration both outside and inside, was built by the late Damianos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 1935, on an archeological site with ruins of ancient Capernaum on the west bank of the Tiberian sea.

As is well known, the Lord taught in Capernaum and there performed many of His miracles, after he had left His birthplace of Nazareth. Of them he said: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee…” (Matthew 11, 21-24).

In this holy Church, His Beatitude Theophilos, Our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem led the Diving Liturgy. Co-officiating were the Most Reverend Kyriacos, Metropolitan of Nazareth, the Elder Chancellor Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina, the Elder Sacristan Isidoros, Archbishop of Ierapolis, and priest-monks of the Holy Sepulcher, as well as the Hegoumen of the Monastery of the Apostles in Tiberias f. Timotheos, of the Monastery of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, f. Ilarion, the Hegoumen in Fhes, Archimandrite f. Ieronymos, presbyters from the Patriarchal Community in the region of Galilee and Accra and many faithful from the Patriarchate’s Arab-speaking, Greek-speaking and English-speaking flock, mainly from its northern jurisdiction, participating in piousness and devoutness.

During the Koinonikon of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude preached the word of God to the pious congregation, an excerpt of which is cited here:

A joyful feast shone today over this holy biblical land of Capernaum, the most sacred memory of Sts Peter and Paul, carriers of the spirit and heads of the apostles. They are the sources of pride the benevolent God, the Father, offered to His Church. And this, as Peter became the stone of faith, and Paul the orator of Christ’s Ecumenical Church. The apostolic preaching of these two leading luminaries of the Church had as its source and point of reference the cornerstone of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God and Saviour of the World, as attested in their epistles. Peter says: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him”, come closer and closer to the Lord, who is a stone of life and gives life, and though he was rejected of men who crucified him, before God he is special and honoured (1, Peter: 2-4). And Paul avows that: “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11) for none other may place a different cornerstone over the one now lying immovable and unshakable on the foundation of the construction, and this cornerstone is Jesus Christ.  

In Arab, the speech may be read here: https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/ar/2013/07/13/2555

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy and the procession, the diligent renovator of the Monastery, Hegoumen f. Eirinarchos invited everyone to a fish lunch.

From the Secretariat-General