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Background: Kursi is an ancient Christian settlement, known as Gergessa (or Gerasa) built in the early 5th – 6th century CE (Byzantine era). This is the traditional location of the “Miracle of the Swine” recorded in Luke 8:26-38 and Matthew 8:23-34, where Christ drives out demons from a possessed man and into a herd of swine which then ran to the Sea of Galilee and drowned. Early Christians probably built the monastery, which contains an outer courtyard, basilica, floor tile mosaics, a chapel overlooking the site (and the Galilee), and a “magic bench” that can grant wishes, or something.

Impressions: Kursi was the last sight I really wanted to see on the Galilee, mainly because I liked the story it was built for. The site is different from the other Christian sites around the lake because it’s much older and doesn’t function as a church anymore. It’s still interesting in it’s own way: it seems to be built from the same rocks as Capernaum and the other sites on the western shore but what struck me was more that you could see how old it was. All the other churches around the Galilee were built less than a hundred or so years ago, but this one is from the 5th century. Everything’s different: the layout, the architecture, the atmosphere. You realize just how far back everything goes, and how the early Christians interpreted and viewed the same stories we learn about today.

~ by jonathanmtsai on May 14, 2011.

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