An ancient synagogue unearthed on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee may have been a temple where Jesus preached, according to the Christian organisation that owns the site.
Archaeologists have been excavating the 2,000-year-old ruins, which date from the 1st century, in the town of Migdal in northern Israel.
During excavations in preparation for the construction of a new hotel on beachfront on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, archaeologists uncovered a delicately carved stone featuring menorah, a seven branched candelabrum that is a symbol in Judaism.
Now the Legions of Christ, the Catholic organisation which owns the land where the synagogue was discovered, are now claiming that Jesus himself may have preached there.
Father Eamon Kelly, vice chargé of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Centre, told Israeli news website Haaretz that there was now strong evidence that Jesus had preached there.
He said: ‘This is the first synagogue ever excavated were Jesus walked and preached.
‘He was a clever rabbi. He knew where to set up shop. If you walk from Nazareth to Bethsaida to Capernaum, you’re going to come out here.’
Father Kelly said that although Jerusalem and Bethlehem are more commonly associated with Jesus, he actually spent 80 per cent of his life in what is now northern Israel.
The book of Matthew in the bible also mentions Jesus setting food in Magdala, saying: ‘He took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.’