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TABGHA (Ar. Al-Ṭābigha), ancient site on the N.W. shore of the Sea of Galilee. Tabgha is an Arabic corruption of the Greek name Heptapegon ("the seven springs"), a site described by various Christian hagiographers and pilgrims as situated 2 mi. (3 km.) both from Magdala and Capernaum on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. According to Cyril of Scythopolis, it was situated between Paneas and Chorazin (Vita Sabae, 24). It is possible that the spring described by Josephus as that of Capernaum (Wars, 3:519–520) is really that of Tabgha. In Byzantine times, the miracle of the loaves and fishes and that of the last appearance of Jesus on the shores of the lake (Matt. 14:17; 15:32ff.; John 21) was located there.

At present, five of the springs are identifiable. They rise 164 ft. (50 m.) from the lake and have a temperature of 29–30° c (84–86° f), and were once used to run mills. In excavations at Tabgha in 1932, a church which had been built in two stages was uncovered. The floor of the later church (mid-fifth century) was paved with a mosaic representing two fish and a basket of bread, as well as two panels, first laid down in the earlier building phase (late fourth century), showing the fauna and flora of the Sea of Galilee. These mosaics are among the finest found in the country and mark a complete change in the style of mosaic art in churches. Over these remains and partly using some of the ancient mosaics on its floor is built the modern Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. Close by is a Benedictine monastery and, overlooking the area, the church and convent of the Mt. of Beatitudes. The present name of the site is Ein ha-Shivah.


A.M. Schneider. The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha (1937). add. bibliography: Y. Tsafrir, L. Di Segni, and J. Green, Tabula Imperii Romani. IudaeaPalaestina. Maps and Gazetteer (1994): 142, s.v. "Heptapegon."

[Michael Avi-Yonah]