Friday, January 25, 2008

Bush traces footsteps of Jesus in Galilee

Bush traces footsteps of Jesus in G
CAPERNAUM, Israel (AFP) — US President George W. Bush traced the footsteps of Jesus on Friday as he wound up his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a tour of Biblical sites.
Bush flew by helicopter from Jerusalem to the village of Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Christ delivered many of of his most famous teachings.
Led by two Franciscan monks, Bush walked down to the lake shore and then visited the ruins of Capernaum, the village where Christ lived and taught after moving from nearby Nazareth, his home for the first 30 years of his life.
Capernaum is close to where Jesus is said to have miraculously fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish and where he anointed Peter -- the "rock" on which he would build his new church.
The black-gowned monks then read Bush verses from the Bible and pointed towards the different holy sites in the area, just several kilometres (miles) north of the town of Tiberias.
The three were then joined by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and went on to tour the ancient limestone ruins of the village of Capernaum and its excavacations of an ancient synagogue.
Archeologists have uncovered a nearby fifth century church that was built over the ruins of what is believed to have been the home of the apostle Peter.
An ultramodern octagonal Franciscan church now dominates the site.
Bush, a devout Christian who once called Jesus Christ his favourite philosopher then headed to the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus is thought to have given his Sermon on the Mount in which he summarised the law of God.
He was welcomed by several priests and nuns from the Chapel.
One of the beatitudes -- "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God" -- has been invoked by past leaders attempting to resolve the decades-old Middle East conflict.
Bush predicted on Thursday that Israel and the Palestinians could sign a peace treaty by the end of his term in January 2009