In Jerusalem, Israel, a recently uncovered 1,300 year-old-church complex is revealing the history of Christianity in the Galilee.

Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority, in conjuction with the Kinneret Academic College, unearthed the church in the Circassian village of Kfar Kama.

“The church, measuring 12 × 36 m, includes a large courtyard, a narthex foyer, and a central hall,’ stated Nurit Feig, the archaeologist who spearheaded the excavation.

“Particular to this church is the existence of three apses (prayer niches), while most churches were characterized by a single apse. The nave and the aisles were paved with mosaics which partially survived. Their colorful decoration stands out, incorporating geometric patterns, and blue, black, and red floral patterns. A special discovery was the small reliquary, a stone box used to preserve sacred relics,” Feig further explained.

The team also uncovered three adjacent rooms next to the church, pointing to proofs that the large complex could have been a monastery.

Mosaic floor of the ancient church. Image by: Alex Wiegmann, Israel Antiquities Authority

Prof. Moti Aviam presumes the newly discovered church may be linked to another church discovered nearby in the 1960s.

The church found, decades ago, was probably the village church, “whilst the church now discovered was probably a section of a contemporary monastery on the outskirts of the village,” said Aviam.

Experts remark that this church complex was possibly important to the Christians who settled this area during the Byzantine period. The site is located near Mount Tabor, where, according to Christian tradition, Jesus was transfigured and spoke to Moses and Elijah.