On Saturday the 29th of June/12th of July 2013, the feast of the glorious heads of the apostles, Sts Peter and Paul, was celebrated at the Monastery dedicated to them in Capernaum, near the West Bank of the Tiberian Sea.

The Monastery and church in its present-day form was built in 1935, as attested by the inscription on the iconostasis, by the ever-memorable Patriarch Damian of Jerusalem, on the ruins of ancient Capernaum, which had received many miracles of the Lord, and in fact became His second hometown, after He had left his hometown of Nazareth (Matthew 2, 23). In spite of this, Capernaum did not repent, as according what the Lord had foretold, it descended into Hades: And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day” (Matthew 11, 23).

To this monastery, well preserved for years now by monk Eirinarchos, H.B. Patriarch Theophilos arrived on the morning of the aforementioned day, to lead the Matins and Divine Liturgy. Co-officiating were Metropolitan Kyriakos of Nazareth, and Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina; Hieromonk and Hegoumen at the Monastery of Mount Tabor, Archimandrite Hilarion; Arab-speaking and Russian-speaking priests from the region of Upper Galilee and Accra-Ptolemais. Archimandrite Philotheos directed the choir. In attendance were Greek pilgrims as well as Arab-speaking and Russian-speaking faithful from the Patriarchate’s Communities in Northern Israel.

During Communion, His Beatitude preached the word of God in Greek. In Arabic, His speech may be read here:

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, supervising monk f. Eirinarchos courteously hosted the Patriarchal retinue at the Hegoumen’s quarters. At noon, lunch with fish from the Tiberian Sea was offered to all.

From the Secretariat-General