Church of the multiplication
A church of the Feeding of the Five Thousand was first built on this site in c.350. The church was small (15.5m x 9.5m) and on a slightly different orientation than the later versions. The Spanish pilgrim Egeria visited this church in the 380s, and reported: “By the sea is a grassy field with plenty of hay and many palm trees. By them are seven springs (heptapegon), each flowing strongly. And this is the field where the Lord fed the people with the five loaves and two fishes.
The church was significantly enlarged around 480 — an inscription attributes its building to the patriarch Matryrios (478-86) — which included the addition of the splendid floor mosaic. The mosaics were repaired in the 6th century and the church was destroyed around 685 AD. The site was bought by the Deutsche Verien vom Heilige Lande and excavated in 1932; a protective cover was built over the mosaics in 1936. In 1982 this was replaced by the modern Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes that stands today, which is a faithful reconstruction of the original.