BAR 33:02, Mar/Apr 2007
Megiddo Church Reburied
Although it is of immense importance to the Christian world, and Israel itself, the Megiddo prison church has been covered up with dirt and tarpaulins until more funding for the project can be secured.
The church, or “prayer hall,” was discovered in late 2005 by an inmate of the prison, Ramil Razilo, during salvage operations to make way for the expansion of the maximum security prison at Megiddo. When the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that it had uncovered what could be the earliest Christian church in the Holy Land, containing the earliest known mention of Jesus Christ in Israel, there was a flurry of media reports around the globe.
The find was considered important enough to Israel President Moshe Katsav that when he visited Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in November 2005, he took pictures of the newly discovered mosaic floor with him to present to the pontiff. The pope expressed a keen desire to visit Israel and see the church.