Since at least the 4th century, this landscaped hillside is believed to be where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), whose opening lines – the eight Beatitudes – begin with the phrase ‘Blessed are…’. The sermon also includes the Lord’s Prayer and oft-quoted phrases such as ‘salt of the earth’, ‘light of the world’ and ‘judge not, lest ye be judged’.
An octagonal Italianate Roman Catholic church, built between 1936 and 1938 with help from Mussolini, is looked after by Franciscan nuns. The Beatitudes are commemorated in stained glass just below the dome, while the seven virtues (justice, charity, prudence, faith, fortitude, hope and temperance) are represented around the altar. The balcony and tranquil gardens have breathtaking views of the Sea of Galilee. The pilgrims hostel is open to visitors of all faiths.
Monte delle Beatitudini (as it’s known in Italian), situated on the Jesus Trail, is a 3.1km drive up the hill from Tabgha’s Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves & Fishes. Walking is also an option – from just outside the mount’s entrance booth, a 1km path leads down the hill to Tabgha, hitting Rte 87 at a point about 200m east of the Church of the Primacy of St Peter.