According to the Bible, the Mount of Beatitudes, located on the North-Western shore of the Sea of Galilee known today as Mount Eremos.
It is the site of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) given to the masses who had assembled to hear him.
This is where the poor, the meek and all those who had heard about this speaker came from surrounding villages to listen, searching for something more.
More than one site has actually been suggested for this sermon, one higher up and one lower.
The knowledge that Jesus went there straight from Capernaum, the nearby fishing village where his disciple Peter grew up, helps lead us to this spot. The passage also states that He went up a mountain.
The area, in the shape of a bowl, has strong winds that serve as a natural sound amplifier. So when Jesus preached on a mountain near the Sea of Galilee, the wind is likely to have been blowing toward the Sea of Galilee and would have easily carried the sound to the crowd gathered in below Him. There have also been international surveys done of the area to find the exact spot that would have had the reach and the acoustics for one man’s voice to carry to so many thousands.
Pilgrims and tourists have been visiting this site for almost two thousand years in reverence.
In 381 AD, Spanish pilgrim Egeria wrote: “Near there on a mountain is the cave to which the Savior climbed and spoke the Beatitudes.”
There have also been ruins found downhill from the present church dating from the 4th century AD.
In his most famous speech, Christ clarifies and reinterprets what the Old Testament says, discussing issues such as murder, adultery, and values of life, and renews the covenant with God in his sermon here.
This complete sermon has become a general guideline for Christians in how to live, how to act and what values to live by.
The Beatitudes, or Blessings, (Matthew 5:3-11) are as follows:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
His famous sermon discusses the importance of obedience, humility, righteousness, mercy, faith, and action for God’s followers to his disciplines and all others gathered to hear his words.
The Catholic Chapel of Mount Beatitudes
This mountain is topped by a Catholic chapel overlooking the Sea of Galilee built-in 1939 to commemorate this exact site of the sermon. The Basilica of the Church of Mount of Beatitudes was built for an order of Franciscan nuns from a design of the Italian church architect Antonio Barluzzi and was actually commissioned by Mussolini.
The church itself was built at the site where it was decided that Jesus must have spoken.
Berluzzi’s design was meant to integrate Jesus’ sermon in different ways.
The materials included black basalt as the local rock Jesus stood on, white limestone arches from Nazareth as Jesus was from Nazareth, and the marble walls of the church interior from Rome to make a statement that he was the head of the Church of Rome. Its octagonal shape represents the eight beatitudes, with each one inscribed around the octagon. Those wishing to stay and soak up the powerful atmosphere in this place can even stay in one of the guesthouses on property.