Cana Of Galilee

At Cana in the Galilee, Jesus performed his first miracle, changing water into wine at the request of Mary, his Mother. In this way, Jesus manifested his divine glory and kindled the faith of his disciples........

At Cana in the Galilee, Jesus performed his first miracle, changing water into wine at the request of Mary, his Mother. In this way, Jesus manifested his divine glory and kindled the faith of his disciples. This is also where we commemorate the vocation of the apostle Bartholomew (Nathanael), of whom Jesus said, admiringly, "Here is a true Israelite."

"(Having left Sephoris) after three miles we came to Cana, where the Lord attended a marriage; and we sat on the same seat; unworthy though I am, I wrote there the names of my parents… Two jars remain. I filled one with wine, carried it on my shoulders and offered it at the altar. We piously washed ourselves in that very fountain. Then we went to the city of Nazareth.” The testimony of the anonymous pilgrim from Piacenza (circa 570) is the most detailed of those that tell us about a Christian sanctuary close to Sephoris and Nazareth that commemorates Jesus’ first miracle. At various times local tradition placed this evangelical memory at different sites.

From the 17th century until now, Kafr Kenna has been the site most visited by pilgrims. The pilgrims were shown an underground room on the inside of the columned building, thought to be the first church built in the time of the emperor Constantine and his mother Helena. When the new church was built, blessed in 1881 then enlarged in 1897-1905, ancient remains of a Jewish building from the Romano-Byzantine period (third to fourth centuries), whose columns and capitals were reused in the present portal, were discovered. Of particular note is the Aramaic inscription found about 90 centimeters below the church’s floor tiles: "Blessed be the memory of Joseph son of Talhum son of Butah and his sons, who made this picture (mosaic). Blessings be upon them."

The Franciscans, who had already been present with a small property at Cana for three centuries, were able to buy the site back only in 1879, thanks to the tireless work of Father Egidio Geissler, who was the pastor of Nazareth.

The archaeological excavations conducted in 1969 by Father Stanislao Loffreda in the northern courtyard of the church and its adjoining rooms led to the discovery of a flagged courtyard, more mosaics, and ancient stonework belonging to a synagogal reality that extends beyond the Franciscan property. In 1885, a chapel in honor of Saint Bartholomew (Nathanael), one of the twelve apostles and a native of Cana, was built about 100 meters from the church. During recent restoration work, archaeological excavation permitted concluding that the Aramaic inscription had been placed in the synagogue porch. The porch was a portico; there was a cistern at its center.

Cana of Galilee


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