Church of the Transfiguration at Mount Tabor
The Church of the Transfiguration at Tabor Mountain commemorates an event mentioned in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus revealed himself in his divine image before his three disciples in Mount Tabor:
(Matthew 17:1-5) After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, James brother, and led them up a high mountain on their own. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Main Story of the Church
There are two versions as to where the incident took place because it is a high mountain and its name is not mentioned. One version claims that the High Mountain is the highest mountain in Israel, the Hermon, near the Baniyas in a northern portion. The second version began from the time of Byzant because of the fact that Mount Tabor is a round, high and beautiful. Above all, in the region of Galilee where Jesus spent the majority of his life. The event showed the apostles that Jesus is not just human, he is the Son of God.
The event of change is a transitional phase between the time of Jesus' mission in Galilee and his arrival in Jerusalem towards the last week of his life. The meeting with Elijah and Moses is a relationship between the prophecy represented by Elijah and the law represented by Moses (Ten Commandments). Christ brings them divine grace in the form of the New Testament.
According to the story and tradition, the mountain became a center of pilgrimage and three churches were built at its head in honor of Jesus, Elijah and Moses, which were destroyed.
Visiting the Church
The church we see today was constructed in 1924 by the famous Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi for the Franciscan community. When you enter the churchyard, you will be greeted by Pope Paulus the 6th statues that commemorate his visit to the church in 1964.
The church was built in the Florentine style and has two-pointed belfries with two chapels inside.
One is dedicated to Elijah, and the other to Moses, who has access to the interior of the church. Originally the church was designed to be as glamorous as Jesus shone in the story and so special material called “Alabaster” were placed on the roof of the church which were meant to let in a lot of light. Because the material was not waterproof, the material was eventually replaced by copper and, as a result, the luminous effect is less noticeable than it was supposed to be. Within the apse of the church there is a stained glass window where those present in history: Jesus, Elijah, Moses, Peter, Jacob and John. On the floor of the church there is a wooden door below the bedrock of the mountain, where the believers place wishing notes. In the chapel of Moses you can see a picture of Moses with the tables of the covenant. In the chapel of Elijah you can see an original mosaic of the Byzantine church and a picture of Elijah with the prophets of Baal.
If you are interested in seeing the spectacular view of the surroundings climb the stairs inside the church on the observation deck.
Address : on top on Mount Tabor
Christianity order: Roman-Catholic, Franciscan
Year of build 1924
Due to the importance of this place to the Christianity, there are existence of church built during the Byzantine period on the 4rth-6th century and later on during the crusaders on the 11th century. The most important event on the mountains are:
4th-6th century: 3 churches built by Christian believers, devoted to Moses, Elijah and Jesus.
The Crusades came in the 11th century and built a fortress. Later, they gave it to the Franciscan order that constructed a dormitory.
In the twelfth century, Saladin reached that place and destroyed all the Christian churches above. It was only in the seventeenth century that Christians were allowed to go back to the mountains.
The 18th century Greek Orthodox community built a church "Elias" on the north side of the mountain. It is still existing and close by.
In the nineteenth century, a small Franciscan Orthodox monastery was created and it was not until 1924 that the church was finally established.
|Bus lines||You can reach the bottom of the mountain using the #350 bus from the city Afula. Once you reach the bottom of the mountain, you cannot continue by bus because of the narrow road. Take a taxi from the taxi station there.|
|Car||Travel along Highway 65 between Afula and Golani Junction. At the intersection of Tabor, turn left on Highway 7266 following the signs to Dvoria. In the main square in the village turn right following the signs to the top of Tabor and the monastery, and after about 5 minutes’ driving turn right to the top of the mountain and park in the parking space.|
|Taxi||Go to the taxi stand at the foot of the mountain (by Abu Al-Assel) and prepare $10 head for two directions.|
Unfortunately, there are stairs in the church and it is not suitable for handicapped people.
Opening Hour: every day except for Sunday. 8:00-12:00, 14:00-16:00
Phone number +972-4-6620720
Free public restrooms are available but do not suit wheelchairs.
Near site activities
Nazareth is 35 minutes from Tabor Mountain, as is Tiberias. The two locations have numerous Christian sites.
Travelling to Mount Tabor is a unique experience.
The ride in the pastoral landscape around the mountain, the passage through an ancient Ayoub gate, near a Greek Orthodox church and finally arriving at the impressive church makes a visit to the church an unforgettable experience. In any season, you can be impressed by the green environment which changes color. Like all the churches of the architect Barluzzi, the church depicts the history of the place, so you should add it to your list of sites in Israel. If you wish to go hiking, there is a round hiking trail around the mountain, which is 2.5 km long.
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