This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After being rejected in Nazareth (Luke 3:23; 4:16-30), Jesus went to Capernaum and stayed with Peter (Mt 4:13; Mk 2:1). Capernaum continued to be his base of operations for the rest of Jesus’ ministry.  Many important events occurred in Capernaum, some of them in the synagogue there. Capernaum is where:

  • Jesus taught in the synagogue (Mk 1:21; 3:1; Jn 6:59).
  • Jesus healed the man with the withered hand in the synagogue (Mk 3:1-6)
  • Jesus cast out a devil from a man in the synagogue (Lk 4:31-37)
  • Jesus said one must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have life (Jn 6:48-60)
  • the man with palsy was lowered through the roof (Mk 2:1-12)
  • the coin was found in the fish’s mouth to pay the tribute (Mt 17:24-27)
  • the centurion’s servant met Jesus to seek healing for his master’s beloved servant (Lk 7:1-10)

In 1866 Captain Charles Wilson discovered the remains of a 4th or 5th century limestone synagogue in Capernaum.  He thought it was the synagogue of Jesus’ day, but the Franciscans who eventually took over the site more accurately dated it to the 4th/5th century in the late 1960s.

Archaeologists dug beneath the floor of this synagogue and discovered the remains of a previous synagogue that dates to the 1st century.  Its foundation is made of black basalt, which is typical of the buildings in Capernaum.  Parts of the foundation from this 1st century synagogue were used to construct the newer synagogue in the 4th/5th century.

The ancient synagogue measures 79’ long and 60’ wide, making it the largest synagogue of its day (that we’ve discovered so far at least).


  1. This may have been the very synagogue at which Jesus ministered.