The so-called “Sermon on the Mount” is recorded in Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6. The alleged discrepancy between Matthew’s version being on a hill and Luke’s being on a level place is easily reconciled with observation of many level places on the Galilean hillsides. Scripture gives no indication of the exact location of this event, but the Byzantines built a church to commemorate it at the bottom of the hill. Some of Napoleon’s men placed it on the nearby Arbel mountain.
Mount of Beatitudes
Sermon on Mount
The suggestion of this hill for the location of the Sermon on the Mount is a good one. Once known as Mt. Eremos, this hill is located between Capernaum andTabgha and is just above the “Cove of the Sower.” This spacious hillside provides much room for crowds to gather, as evidenced by preparation for 100,000 Catholics to observe mass nearby with the Pope’s visit in March 2000 (it rained and fewer came, but the space was available).
The mountain is topped by a Catholic chapel built in 1939 by the Franciscan Sisters with the support of the Italian ruler Mussolini. The building which was constructed by the noted architect Antonio Barluzzi is full of numerical symbolism. In front of the church, the symbols on the pavement represent Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, Charity, Faith and Temperance. Inside the church hangs the cloak from Pope Paul VI’s visit in 1964.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessedare the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessedare the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessedare they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matt 5:3-11 KJV).
Plain of Gennesaret
The Mt. of Beatitudes overlooks the four-mile long Plain of Gennesaret, an area famed for its fertility. Josephus said this plain was the location of “nature’s crowning achievement.” Several times the New Testament records that Jesus was in this area including when he healed the multitudes here and faced Pharisaic condemnation for ritual impurity (Mark 6-7).
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Mount of Beatitudes (Christian Travel Study Program) Limited text and photos.
Mount of Beatitudes (Catholic Encyclopedia) Extensive article, but locates the sermon at the Horns of Hattin.
Mount of Beatitudes (Bible Walks) Presents many high quality photos of the area, including several of the basilica.
Homily to Youth on Mount of Beatitudes, Pope John Paul II, March 24, 2000 (Catholic Information Network) Original text.
Mount of the Beatitudes (Travel Experience International) Photo by Zola Levitt.
Mount of Beatitudes (Personal Page) A picturesque description of one man’s visit.
Mount of Beatitudes (Virtual Travels, Personal Israel Diary) Lessons from another sojourner.