Mt. Nebo’s New Church.

Mt. Nebo is the spot where, traditionally, Moses stood to look across the Jordan into the promised land, where he could not go.  He died there and tradition has it that he is buried somewhere Mt. Nebo.  On a clear day you can see Jerusalem from Mt. Nebo, which sits at 2,680 above sea level and 3,600 feet above the Dead Sea and lower Jordan valley.  Looking over the valley is a serpentine cross designed by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni.

In the 4th century it became a pilgrimage site and there was a Byzantine church.  Mosaics were added to the floors in the 6th century and it remained in use until the mid 1500s.  After that it fell into disuse.  In 1963 the Franciscans bought the site and started excavating the area.  The floor of the original church was uncovered in the 1970s after being covered for hundreds of years.  In 2000 Pope John Paul II visited the site and planted an olive tree.  In 2009 Pope Benedict visited.  Today the site is a Franciscan monastery and home to the Franciscan Archaeological Institute.

The last time I was at Mt. Nebo the mosaics were being uncovered and it looked like the combination of a church construction site and an archeological dig.  The mosaics were shaded with sheets of translucent green corrugated plastic.  Soon after I was at the site in 2007 the Church was closed.  It reopened in October, 2016 with the dedication of the Moses Memorial Church and a museum which, between them, display mosaics from the area.

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