The Magdala Church
Duc In Altum: Reflecting on personal faith
The words Duc In Altum appear above the Magdala Church entrance, which is Latin for “put out into the deep.” Jesus spoke these words to Simon Peter after he and the other fishermen toiled all night without success (see Luke 5:4 KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV).
The entry to the Magdala Church is called “The Women’s Atrium” and is dedicated to all women followers of Jesus Christ. Around the Atrium are four chapels. Each one is dedicated to an event from the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. You see the outside of two of the oval chapels in this photo.
Eight pillars surround the Atrium. Seven are engraved with the names of women mentioned in the Gospels. The eighth column, without a name, is dedicated to all women who visit the church. The four small chapels around the Atrium are places of reflection.
Mary Magdalene was one of the women who followed Jesus, “which ministered unto him of their substance.” Other women included “Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others” (see Luke 8:1-3 KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV).
Mary Magdalene (c. 1524) by the Italien Renaissance painter, Andrea Solari, showing her as a myrrhbearer.
Mary Magdalene (c. 1548) by the Italian Renaissance artist, Paolo Veronese, showing her conversion.
Mary Magdalene (c. 1435) by Rogier van der Weyden, showing her weeping at the crudifixion of Jesus.
The mosaic artwork inside this chapel depicts Jesus telling Simon Peter to “put out into the deep.” Peter did as Jesus directed and caught “a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake” (see Luke 5:1-10 KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV).
The mosaic artwork inside this chapel depicts Jesus walking on water. He saves Peter after the disciple takes his eyes off the Master, becomes fearful, and begins to sink (see Matthew 14:22-33 KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV).
The altar at the end of the main hall is shaped like a 1st-century fishing boat. It is situated on a raised apse paved with green marble.
The main hall faces east, looking out over the Sea of Galilee toward the eastern shore. The reflection on the apse makes the boat appear to be on the lake itself.