Also known as the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, it is situated in Tabgha on the north-western shores of the Sea of Galilee. The modern church was built on the ruins of 4th-5th century churches with a beautifully preserved mosaic. The site is associated with the feeding of the five thousand described in the New Testament. According to tradition, Jesus had set out by boat with his disciples for some peace and quiet, but was followed by crowds of people who ended up having nothing to eat in this remote spot. Jesus then multiplied his disciples' bread and fish to feed them all.
A church to commemorate the miracle was established here in c.350, and was enlarged in the following centuries. In the 1930s the church was excavated and the mosaics received a special protective cover. The church was rebuilt in the 1980s in the same design as the original.
Highlights of the church include a block of limestone designated as the Table of the Lord, and in front of the altar is a restored mosaic depicting two fish and a basket of bread. The mosaic floor is the earliest known figured pavement in the history of Palestinian Christian art.
The images of the mosaic are in the center of the floor with geometric shapes surrounding them. The rich mosaic shows plants and birds, with a particular emphasis given to the non-local lotus flower which indicates Hellenistic and Roman influence. The rest of the subjects are of fauna and flora indigenous to the Galilee, with each species identifiable by the great detail. You can see ducks in love, a water level measuring device, and the Greek words for the numbers 6 to 10.
The Church is open every day from 8am-5pm, and can be easily accessed from Tiberias.