The Synagogue Church
The Arabs call it"Madrasset El-Massiach" (The Messiah Academy).
In the heart of the Market, between the stores, a small yard is taking us to a special church with a sign above its crossbar: The Synagogue. The unique structure, about 1.5 meters underground, has an arched shape with benches along the walls, a podium and an altar.
According to Christian tradition, this is where Jesus studied and prayed. In addition, this is where he carried his famous sermon on Saturday (Matthew 13, Mark 6, Luke 4), where he declared himself as the Messiah to his Jewish village members. This sermon infuriated the prayers and the dragged him to the Mt. of Precipice planning to push him downhill, but he jumped and disappeared.
During Byzantine Times, Christian believers have started attending the place, and on Medieval Times the synagogue was turned into a church and the Saturday Sermon story was ascribed to it. The Synagogue Church belongs to the Greek-Catholic community. Next to the historical Synagogue Church, a new church was built on 1887 (The New Synagogue Church), decorated with impressive wall paintings of Jesus as a baby, an adolescent and as a king which add a special picturesque, sacred atmosphere.
It seems like attributing this synagogue to the one where Jesus was praying is a late tradition, which started after the Byzantine Times, since all sacred Jewish places were destroyed during the Big Insurrection (67 A.D.), and most ancient Galilee synagogues are from the 3rd to 6th century.
Jesus Synagogue was supposed to be inside the ancient Nazareth village according to the writings as well, while this building is outside of the historical village borders. Years later, the building was destroyed and served as a shed. Only in the 18th century, when the Christians were treated better thanks to the Galilee Governor Daher El Omar, the Franciscans have started its renovation. The have passed it to the responsibility of the Greek-Orthodox who finished the renovation works and built there a chapel.
Mon - Sat: 8:00 am-12:00 pm, 2:00 pm-7:00 pm