Cana Wedding Guest House

Welcome to the wedding church

History

History records that a church was built in Cana by Empress Helena (mother of Constantine) in the 4th century, and this was identified with the remains of a large building found by travellers to Kafr Kanna in the 17th century. Recent excavations have uncovered ruins of houses from the 1st-4th centuries AD, of a 5th-century atrium with portico, a Christian funerary building from the 5th or 6th century, and a medieval building. The land at Kafr Kanna was sold by the lord of Sidon to the Knights Hospitallers in 1254. The Franciscans became established here in 1641 and began building the present church over an older church in 1879. It was consecrated in 1883.

In the Bible

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine". "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 to 30 gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (John 2:1-11)

What to See

The Franciscan Wedding Church at Cana is small and fronted by a courtyard. The facade has angel figures and is flanked by two bell towers and over an arcaded narthex. Inside, the church has two levels. The upper church has a chapel surmounted by a simple dome. In the nave just before the stairs is a fragment of a Byzantine mosaic dating from the 5th or 6th century and preserves the name of the donor in Aramaic: "In memory of the pious Joseph, son of Tanhum, son of Bota and of his children who made this table, may it be for them a blessing, Amen." The lower church has a chapel and a small museum with artifacts from the site, including a winepress, a plastered cistern and vessels of various dates. One old jar is said to be one of the six jars used for the miracle. Opposite the Franciscan church is a Greek Orthodox church, which is usually closed. Two 13th-century capitals are displayed near it. The ruins of ancient Cana are on top of a small rounded hill rising 60m above the plain. They can be seen on the eastern slope (Byzantine and early Arabic), around the top slopes, and on the peak (mostly Greek and Roman). The local shop in Kafr Kanna sells "wedding wine" and related souvenirs.


Follow us

Links