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The Church
The church consists of a rectangular hall laid out in an east/west direction, with a semicircular apse to the east. There is an entrance to the west which is not in the center of the western wall. West of the entrance is a narthex or porch. To the north is a cave and, to the south, a rectangular room which may have led to a second entrance into the church.

The main hall is divided into three parts by two rows of three columns standing on square bases. The columns are of a conglomerate stone and were topped with Corinthian capitals. Both the columns and the capitals were obviously reused from an earlier Roman monument. The hall of the church measures ca. 14.8 meters by 12.5 meters, while its central part (the nave) is about 6.8 meters wide and the two side aisles are about 3 meters wide.

Normally in such churches the spacing between the columns is equal, but in this case it is not. The first two columns at the east (in front of the cave) are 6.8 meters apart while the distance between the columns to the west is 4 meters.

The eastern part of the church was separated from the rest of it by a chancel screen running the whole width of the church and attached to the two eastern columns. The chancel, which is about 3.4 meters deep, is divided into three sections. The central part has colored marble tiles, while the side ones have the remains of mosaic floors. The semicircular apse has a diameter of about 5.8 meters.

South of the apse is a room which was probably a sacristy. It measures 3 meters by 3.3 meters and had a mosaic floor. North of the apse, and at about 4.3 meters east of the chancel screen, there is a plastered surface which seems to be covering the wall of another cave which was left unexcavated due to the presence of a modern terrace and staircase.

In the western part of the northern aisle there is a baptismal font. The location of this font is unique as fonts are normally located either in apsidal spaces or towards the ends of rooms (Ben-Pechat 1989: 170). It consists of an oval cut into the floor and has some plaster remains within.

A fragment of mosaic remains just north of it. The font measures 1.5 meters by 0.8 meters. A similar oval font is found in a church in Kursi (Ben-Pechat 1990: 502) and it is dated to A.D. 585 by an inscription in the mosaic floor.


The cave to the north has four niches, one in its eastern wall, another in the northern one, while the remaining two are in the western wall. The northern niche of this wall is broad, shallow and taller than the others, whereas the southern niche, the largest of the four, has what may be the remains of a sarcophagus. The cave measures about 8 meters east/west and 8.7 meters north/south. About 2.2 meters inside of the cave, there are two steps going down to the main part of the cave. Within the cave, there is a room built of rectangularly cut stone blocks and measuring about 2 meters by 4 meters (walls included). The western wall of this room is aligned with the eastern columns in the church proper. In front of the cave, there is a mosaic floor. In the mosaic, a squarish outline, devoid of any tesserae, can be traced. This may mark the position of the pulpit.

The rectangular room on the opposite side of the church measures about 3.7 meters by 6 meters and apparently had a mosaic floor. Only a small sectionof this richly-colored pavement was found in the northeast corner of the room.

The narthex to the west is about 13 meters wide and 2.8 meters deep, with a colonnade to the west. Again, there are remnants of a mosaic floor.

At first glance, the church appears to be of the basilica type with the standard division into nave with two aisles and an apse to the east. On closer examination, however, we see more than a basilica since a cross shape is given to the structure by the alignment of the cave, the southern room, and the wide spaces between the first and second columns. The intercolumnar spacing was determined by width of the cave. In order to have the transept as a uniformly-shaped rectangle, the walls inside the cave were built, so that the structure would be more or less symmetrical. This north/south axis creates an emphasis on the northern part of the structure, an emphasis which is further enhanced by the presence of the ambo or pulpit as well as the baptismal font in the northern aisle.

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