January 10, 2008 / 11:13 PM / 12 years ago

FACTBOX: Five facts about the Church of the Beatitudes

(Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush is to visit the Church of the Beatitudes on the shore of the Sea of Galilee on Friday.

Here are five facts about the church, built on the site traditionally believed to be where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.

* The Catholic Franciscan chapel marks the spot where Jesus is believed to have preached his Sermon on the Mount laying out core teachings including the Lord’s Prayer and his call to “turn the other cheek”.

* Its octagonal shape represents the sermon’s eight Beatitudes, which are listed in the Gospel of Matthew and include the oft-quoted line “Blessed are the peacemakers”.

* Built in 1938 with the support of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, the modern chapel stands near the site of a 4th century Byzantine church which was used for some 300 years.

* The chapel overlooks the Sea of Galilee and the ancient city of Capernaum where Christians believe Jesus performed some of his miracles. Bush is also expected to visit the Capernaum ruins.

* In 2000, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass in the church, which stands at the northwestern end of the Sea of Galilee and is also close to the area where Jesus is said to have chosen his 12 disciples.

Writing by Rebecca Harrison; Editing by Robert Woodward

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