A church in northern Israel where Christians believed Jesus performed a miracle has reopened almost two years after an arson attack by Jewish extremists.
The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, which is located in Tabgha on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, was burned in a fire in June 2015.
Many Christians believe that the Roman Catholic church is the site of the feeding of the 5,000, where Jesus multiplied loaves of bread and fish to feed a large crowd. The church was built in the 1980s but contains mosaic floors dating from the fifth century.
The church’s renovation has taken eight months and cost around $1 million, with the Israeli government contributing $400,000 towards the costs, the Times of Israel reported.
The church held an interfaith ceremony to reopen the church on Sunday. The service was attended by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who gave a speech defending religious freedom.
“We stand up for religious freedom because, as a people, we know very well what it means to suffer religious persecution,” said Rivlin, who is Jewish.
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SOURCE: Newsweek – Conor Gaffey