Acts by the sea

A Franciscan church dedicated to St Peter overlooks the Mediterranean Sea in Jaffa (Yafo), Israel. Its stepped bell tower rises from the shoulder of a tell (ruin-mound) evincing maritime life on the spot going back to the eighth-millennium BC.

The church is, by such standards, brand new. The footprint dates to the time of the crusader King Louis IX (13th century), while the structure seen today was largely constructed in the late 19th century. Curiously, the old citadel of St. Louis served as a temporary home for Napoleon during his Eastern Campaign with the the Armée d'Orient in 1799. The fingerprints of empire are everywhere!

Jaffa's association with St Peter is drawn from two stories found in the book of Acts. In the first (read it here) Peter raises a disciple of Jesus to life. In the second, Peter has a dream that eventually leads him up the coast to Caesarea Maritima (read it here).