Old Jaffa and Caesarea Christian Sites
Old Jaffa and Caesarea
The old city of Jaffa (Yafo, Jaffo) has a Biblical history beginning with King Solomon who received cedar wood from Hiram in Tyre to build the First Temple in Jerusalem. The prophet Jonah (Yonah), commanded by G-d to go to Nineveh to demand it repent, tried to run away, sailing from Jaffa.
Several events important to Christians took place here and in Caesarea that are mentioned in the Book of Acts. You can combine a visit to these sites to other places of historical and cultural significance in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area.
According to the Christian Book of Acts, Shimon Peter, a disciple of the Christian Savior, stayed in the town of Lydda (Lod), located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, close to the beautiful Biblical nature reserve Neot Kedumim and Ben Gurion Airport. Here Peter is reputed to have prayed for a cripple named Aenias who was healed.
Christian text records that Peter received news here that a righteous and charitable woman named Tabitha had died in Jaffa; he then went to Jaffa and prayed for her, whereupon she arose. Today the Russian Orthodox Church of the Tomb of Tabitha located off of Ofer Cohen Street in the Abu Kabir neighborhood marks the spot where a miracle is reputed to have taken place. For further information phone: (03) 682-1241.
Church of St. Peter
Another church to commemorate Peter is the Franciscan Church and Monastery of St. Peter that was built in the Baroque style at the end of the 19th century with ornate stained glass windows. The church was built on top of Jaffa Hill at the same place where there were ruins of the Crusader fortress of Jaffa.
The Crusaders at some point after landing in Jaffa in 1099 built their fort over the ruins of a Byzantine church. The Church of St. Peter in Jaffa is also where Napoleon Bonaparte stayed in 1799. The church faces west toward Rome and is located at 51 Yefet Street. For further information phone: (03) 682-2667. The same year Napoleon also stayed at the Franciscan Parish Church of St. Joseph in Ramla near Lod.
Simon the Tanner
While Simon Peter was in Jaffa he stayed at the home of Simon the Tanner. This house can be viewed from the outside and is marked by a lighthouse that was installed there in 1875. Members of the Zakarian family, who are Armenian Christians, have lived in this house for generations and also operate the lighthouse.
On the roof of this home, Simon Peter is reported to have had a vision where he was shown that he should accept Gentiles who wanted to join them. As a result of the vision, Simon Peter converted the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea.
Caesarea was also the place where Shimon Peter was imprisoned for two years and from there sailed to Rome. Paul was also imprisoned here and sailed to his home in Tarsus, Turkey. During his many travels Paul visited Caesarea several times. Also the apostle, Philip resided in Caesarea. Eusebius the first historian of Christianity was the Bishop of Caesarea in the 3rd century of the Common Era.
Caesarea National Park is in a very beautiful location on the Mediterranean Sea and offers all kinds of unique experiences from archaeology, history, to recreation. Don’t miss the computerized multi-media experience where you can literally feel yourself going back in time to Biblical days.
Old Jaffa and Caesarea Christian Sites: Did You Know?
Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to conquer Acre, enter Jerusalem, and give the Jews their own state. He even had a proclamation made ready on the first day of Passover, April 20, 1799 that he planned to deliver but was stopped by the British. Napoleon also said on August 16, 1800 that if he did govern a nation of Jews, he was prepared to rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.