Ancient Mosaic Found in 'Burnt Church' May Depict Miracle Described in the New Testament | 9/19/2019 | Yasemin Saplakoglu - Staff Writer
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A colorful fifth-century mosaic that depicts one of Jesus' most famous miracles has been unearthed in Israel, perfectly preserved beneath the ashes from an ancient fire.

The mosaic, which likely shows Jesus feeding the masses with loaves and fishes, once adorned the floors of a church built in the late fifth or early sixth century in an ancient city called Hippos. This city, built on a mountaintop overlooking the Sea of Galilee, was prominent during the Roman and Byzantine times, according to a statement.

Burnt - Church - Structure - Ground - Conquest

Now referred to as the "Burnt Church," this structure was likely burned to the ground during a Sasanian conquest of Hippos in the beginning of the seventh century. (The Sasanian empire was the last Persian empire before the emergence of Islam). Its mosaic floors, however, were well preserved in the ash.

The mosaic was very colorful and had two Greek inscriptions that describe the ancient church fathers, who built the church for a martyr named "Theodoros." The mosaic was also covered in geometric patterns, birds, fish, fruit and baskets. Some of the baskets were filled with loaves of bread and fish, likely in reference to one of the "Feeding the Multitude" miracles described in the New Testament, according to the statement. The scripture describes Jesus multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish in order to feed 5,000 men.

Mosaic - Portions - Loaves - Bread - Fish

Similarly, the mosaic has portions depicting five loaves of bread and two fish. The mosaic also shows the 12 baskets of bread and fish that the scripture says Jesus' disciples were left with after feeding the hungry.

While there may be other explanations for the mosaic, "You cannot ignore the similarity to the description in the New Testament," Michael Eisenberg, head of the excavation team in...
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