The Israel Antiquities Authority released a statement on Wednesday that they found an inscription in a large rock that read “Christ Born of Mary” which was engraved and originally believed to be at the entrance of an early Christian Church from the Byzantine or early Islamic period.
For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork responds.
Galilee was the venue for most of Jesus’ ministry. It was located in modern-day Northern Israel, which in Jesus’ day was part of the Roman Empire. It included the whole northern section of the country, the Jordan River and Sea of Galilee forming the Eastern border. Lower Galilee, with great plain and hill country running down into the Jordan, was “one of the richest and most beautiful sections of Palestine,” according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary Upper Galilee, known biblically as “Galilee of the Gentiles,” was mountainous.
The Times of Israel reported that the discovery was the first proof of Early Christianity found in the Galilee village where Jesus lived.
— Amanda Borschel-Dan (@AmandaBDan) January 20, 2021
“Pray for them.”
The complete inscription reads:
“Christ born of Mary. This work of the most God-fearing and pious bishop [Theodo]sius and the miserable Th[omas] was built from the foundation. Whoever enters should pray for them.”
“The inscription greets those who enter and blesses them. It is therefore clear that the building is a church, and not a monastery,” Leah Di Segni, researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said in a press release. She said that churches, unlike monasteries in those times, greeted visitors at the entrance.
Finding the name of Theodosius, archbishop of the metropolis of Beit She’an to which Taiba belonged in the 5th century, helped archaeologists date the stone.
Aletia.org reported on the story and quote a Bible story:
“As Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem, days before his crucifixion, crowds hailed his arrival, crying out, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord’. The Pharisees on hand didn’t like that and asked him, ‘Rebuke your disciples.’ To which Jesus responded, ‘I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!’
Some 2,000 years later, a stone was unearthed in Taiba, in northern Israel, that indeed seems to cry out. Unveiled this week, it contains the Greek inscription, “Christ, born of Mary.”
We find the story in Luke:
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt of a donkey, the people shouted, “Hosanna! … Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:39-40).
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday that the inscription was engraved at the entrance of a building from the Byzantine or early Islamic period. The stone was discovered in a secondary use in an ornately decorated building.
“The importance of the inscription is that until now we didn’t know for certain that there were churches from this period in this area,” Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Walid Atrash told the Times of Israel.
“There are many signs of ancient Christian life in the region — the Jezreel Valley — but this is the first evidence of the Byzantine Church’s existence in the village of Taiba, Atrash told the Jerusalem Post.