Egeria (4th century)

Egeria

Peregrinatio Aetheriae, 381-384 AD

Egeria, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visited Capernaum at some point between 381 and 384, along with the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of the multiplication of the loaves and the primacy of Peter. In her travel journal she describes the house of the Apostle Peter and relates that it had been transformed into a church. The evidence of Egeria is precious because it specifies the type of sanctuary involved, specifically a domus ecclesiae (“house of the Church”). Among other things, she states that despite the transformation the original walls of the residence had been preserved. She also indicates that this was the house in which the story of the healing of the paralytic took place. Her description of Capernaum has arrived to us by means of the 12th century Liber de Locis Sanctis by Peter the Deacon, and represents one of the earliest testimonies of a visitor to Capernaum.

“And in Capernaum, what is more, the house of the prince of the Apostles has been transformed into a church, with its original walls still standing. Here the Lord healed the paralytic. There is also the synagogue where the Lord healed the man possessed by demons; one goes up many steps to this synagogue which was built with square stones.” (ELS, p. 299, 442)