Archaeologists continue to find new Biblical sites to explore and uncover.
And their work always points back to the unfailing truth of God’s Word!
In fact, their most recent find points back to one of the most important events in the New Testament.
An archaeological team affiliated with the Israel Antiquities Authority recently uncovered a 1300-year-old church in the Circassian village of Kfar Kama, about two hours north of Jerusalem.
This site is only a few miles from Kfar Tabor, or Mount Tabor, which is historically regarded as the place of Jesus’ Transfiguration!
This is the place where Jesus allowed a few of His disciples to witness His transformation and His relationship with the Father.
“Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves” (Matthew 17:1).
“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him” (Matt. 17:2-3).
“Behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’” (Matt. 17:5).
On this mountain, Jesus communed with His Father and showed the disciples His glory!
And now, archaeologists have confirmed that a house of worship once stood near the site.
When the team excavated the church, they found “ornate mosaic floors” covered with beautiful and colorful tile patterns, as well as other religiously significant pieces.
“The church, measuring 12 x 36 m [about 118 feet by 39 feet], includes a large courtyard, a narthex foyer, and a central hall,” said Nurit Feig, the lead archaeologist on the team.
Feig noted that the church, which was most likely built during the 6th century A.D., possesses certain features that make it stand out from other similar discoveries.
“Particular to this church is the existence of three apses (prayer niches), while most churches [of that time period] were characterized by a single apse.”
According to Feig, however, it’s the church’s decorations that really stand out.
“The nave and the aisles were paved with mosaics which partially survived.”
“Their colorful decoration stands out, incorporating geometric patterns, and blue, black, and red floral patterns,” Feig described.
The church has been made beautiful in every detail and the team continues to find more gorgeous mosaics and decorations as they keep working.
“A special discovery [was] a stone box used to preserve sacred relics,” added Feig.
This reliquary speaks of the care taken in constructing and preserving the church.
Feig and several other archaeologists including Professor Moti Aviam of the Kinneret Academic College believe that the church was once part of a historic monastery.
The team has discovered an additional series of rooms that were once partially attached or adjacent to the church.
“It is quite possible that this large complex was a monastery,” said the team, adding that they have confirmed the existence of even more rooms to explore underground.
Past archaeological teams have excavated other sites near this church, uncovering two chapels in the same region.
Professor Aviam believes this new discovery fits well with past excavations and confirms the presence of a Christian village in the area.
“[These past discoveries were] probably the village [churches], whilst the church now discovered was probably part of a contemporary monastery on the outskirts of the village,” Aviam suggested.
“The new discovery hints at the apparent importance of the Christian village settled in the Byzantine period close the Mount Tabor,” added the team.
“[This was] a site of primary religious significance for Christianity, identified as the site of the Transfiguration.”
Professor Aviam expressed excitement about the significance of this new site in the history of the region as a whole.
He and others have been working hard for the last few years to piece together a complete history of the Mount Tabor area.
“Our research is trying to find the connection between the…village and the hinterland,” said Aviam.
“If Kfar Kama in antiquity was an important town, what is the connection to villages around it? What is the connection of the town to the monks?”
“We’re trying to collect all the evidence from the field. All the information is important to build the story of… the Byzantine period,” Aviam concluded.
Stay tuned for more updates on this discovery! It’s always exciting to see Biblical history come to life.