Capharnaum et ses ruines, Parigi 1922
Gaudenzio Orfali, Friar Minor who beginning in 1900 was in charge of the excavations at Capernaum, has left us an account of the state of the archaeological site, and in particular that of the synagogue, at the same time offering an image of the person of Jesus, who in those streets carried out his public life:
“Lying on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, Capernaum was situated on the last rise of the hills which, from Chorazin, descended to the shore. Located at the center of the north shore, it dominated the view of the lake, whose great ring of mountains, of variable aspect according to the time of day and the play of light, served to imprison the coast.”
“The ruins, which will be the subject of our investigation in the pages that follow, tell us that fourteen centuries have passed since the death of Capernaum. The great synagogue, the pride of its inhabitants, lies prostrate on the ground, stripped of everything that made it alive; it has been reduced, to express it in somewhat different terms, to the state of a disarticulated skeleton. Its streets full of dwellings, its site still buried beneath the rubble, remain eloquent testimonies of Capernaum’s ancient glory suddenly obscured the day a terrible catastrophe spread desolation and ruin there where once the sweet figure of the Savior had passed to pray, to teach and to heal the crowds that gathered around him to acclaim the Messiah son of David.”
Capharnaüm et ses ruines, Paris 1922, pp. 2, 8.