Tel Megiddo, Israel, August 10, 2018
Israeli authorities have agreed to move a maximum security prison in Megiddo, housing many jihadists, to allow for excavations to continue on an ancient Christian church found on its territory.
Half an hour’s drive south of Nazareth, Megiddo is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. The Book of Revelation prophesies that the Megiddo Valley will be the location of a gathering of armies for a battle in the end times.
Excavations in one of the oldest cities in the world have been underway for several decades already. In 2005, during the expansion of the dilapidated prison, the remains of a third-century Christian church were discovered, with a mosaic depicting the Lord Jesus Christ, reports Sedmitza.
The ruins were excavated and then conserved, although it then required several years to resolve all the legal issues involved.
The prison is now set to be moved to another location, and the full-scale excavations on the ancient church are scheduled for 2021.
“The prison, designed to contain 1,000 dangerous prisoners, will be moved and a new complex will be built, which will open the mosaics and provide people from all over the world the opportunity to see Megiddo,” said the Press Secretary of the Prison Service Nicole Inglander.
“When the Christian prayer hall was first found under the prison building, we were all excited. Oh, it’s a maximum security prison—we’ll never be able to continue the dig. Now that the government has decided to move the prison, we can explore the amazing and interesting period of the development of early Christianity in a way we never hoped for,” said Matthew Adams, the Director of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.
According to the researcher, the Megiddo District was a cultural melting pot of Jews, Christians, and pagans 2,000 years ago, suggesting that the interaction between early Christians and the Roman Empire were more complex than previously thought.
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