Parting of the Ways between Christianity and Judaism – St. Michael Greek Orthodox Church in Jaffa
Today we taking a video tour to visit a beautiful Greek Orthodox church in the old city of Jaffa, which, according to tradition, marks the house of Simon the tanner where the Archangel Michael spoke to St. Peter and permitted him to eat unclean, non-kosher, animals.
According to the Acts of the Apostles, as described in chapter 10, Peter had visited his friend Simon, a tanner, who lived in Jaffa by the sea – the place which we are visiting today.
During his visit, one evening, Peter went up on the rooftop to pray and as he was hungry he fell into trance and had a vision of a vessel full of animals being lowered from heaven and the voice of the angel Michael telling him to kill and eat them.
There was one problem: among these creatures were “unclean animals” that are not allowed for eating by the Bible (Book of Leviticus) and thus considered non-kosher by Judaism. Peter, who at that time was a Jewish-Christian, immediately declined.
Then the angel’s command was repeated twice. “What God hath made clean, that call not thou common.”
This story suggests that God permitted Peter and his fellow Jewish Christians to eat all animals and by that revoked the Jewish law (Kashrut) that specifies which foods are allowed or forbidden to Jews. This act of eliminating the “Kashrut” law can be seen as the final separation in the Parting of Ways between Christianity and Judaism.
Moreover, the idea that everything that was created by God is CLEAN is being expanded even further. At the time when Peter was in Jaffa, Cornelius the Roman Centurion sent messengers to bring Peter to meet him in Caesarea. When Peter meets Cornelius, he describes the vision that he had and goes further with his interpretation that God has decided to remove all barriers that separate his chosen people from the surrounding nations. After hearing Peter, Cornelius converted to Christianity and became the first gentile to do so.
It is important to note that the early Christian church was first formed around the original disciples and followers of Jesus, all of whom, including Jesus himself, were Jewish. All males in that community were circumcised and they observed the law of Moses.
The acceptance of Cornelius as a member of the church without being first Jewish opened the way for spreading Christianity among the gentiles all over the world.
That’s it for today and until we meet in our next video let’s live the Jerusalem Experience!!