Ephesus and Christianity
We can not skip connection of Ephesus and Christianity. Ephesus is vividly alluded to in Acts 19-20 in connection with St. Paul’s extended ministry at Ephesus. Apostle Paul probably spent two and a half years in Ephesus during his third missionary journey, until a riot forced him to leave the city rapidly. Some authorities believe that St. Paul was imprisoned in the so-called Prison of St. Paul in Ephesus. Eventually the belief in Christ and the veneration of his Blessed Mother replaced the worship of Artemis and the other deities.
Ephesus was the city of the third ecumenical council of 431 AD at which the question of the Virgin Mary being the Mother of God was debated. In this council it was decided that Christ had a double nature as God and man, and the Virgin Mary was theotokos, god-bearer. It is easy to see Mary’s Church with Izmir Ephesus Tours.
Ephesus, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation
All the Seven Churches of Revelation in Asia minor are all located around this are. These are; Ephesus (Efes), Smyrna (Izmir), Laodicea ad Lycum (Goncali), Sardis (Sart), Pergamum (Bergama), Philadelphia (Alasehir) and Thyatira (Akhisar).
These churches are associated both with Saint Paul and with Revelations (the Apocalypse); letters written in c.95 AD to the Seven Churches by John. For some people John is a visionary who lived on the island of Patmos. But some people say he is the Apostle John. This is a big question.
There should have been more than seven cities with major Christian congregations in Anatolia at the time that John wrote and it is unknown why he addressed only these seven. These were possibly the most important ones at that time or letters to other churches were lost.
TThese churches were not church buildings as such but congregations of each cities. These early congregations had their meetings in private homes as there had been no original church buildings until the 3C AD. St. Paul possibly founded some of the Seven Churches on his missionary journeys between 47-57 AD, as he was thought to have visited all seven cities.
(1) "Write a letter to the leader of the church in Ephesus and tell him this:
"I write to inform you of a message from him who walks among the churches and holds their leaders in his right hand."
(2)"He says to you: I know how many good things you are doing. I have watched your hard work and your patience; I know you don’t tolerate sin among your members and you have carefully examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but aren’t. You have found out how they lie.
(3) You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
(4) "Yet there is one thing wrong; you don’t love me as at first!
(5) Think about those times of your first love (how different now!) and turn back to me again and work as you did before; or else I will come and remove your candlestick from its place among the churches.
(6) "But there is this about you that is good: You hate the deeds of the licentious Nicolaitans, just as I do.
(7) " Let this message sink into the ears of anyone who listens to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: To everyone who is victorious, I will give fruit from the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God.
Basilica of St. John
According to Holy Bible, before Jesus was crucifided, he faced to his mother and showed John and told” This is your son” , then he told John for Mary” this is your mother “ So, Jesus intrusted his mother to John the Apostle. We are sure, John the Apostle came here, even today his tomb is in Saint John Church. So, we do have an idea, most probably John and Mary came here together since Jesus in trusted them each other. John the Apostle looked after his mother. It is estimated that John and the Virgin came to Ephesus between 42 and 48 AD and lived there. John the Apostle is the only the apostle who was not murdered by Pagans or Romans. He lived until his old age. When he died, he was burried at the top of Ayasuluk Hill. Then a small church on the Ayasuluk Hill was dedicated to him in the 2C AD. This church was replaced in the 6C by a huge basilica built by the Emperor Justinian, the impressive ruins of which are still visible during the private tours in Ephesus.
Virgin Mary’s House
It is known with certainty that the Virgin Mary came to Ephesus and passed her last years of her life here. Whether or not she died in Ephesus was not known until Anne Catherine Emmerich’s vision. The stigmatized German nun who had never been to Ephesus had a vision of the House of the Virgin Mary and described it in all details how we could find this house. On the other hand, Jesus entrusted his mother to John the Apostle. We know definitelly that John the Apostle came to Ephesus, died here an deven today his tomb is here. If Jesus inturested his mother to John, how John came here alone. This is a big evedent about here too.
This place was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage. Pope Paul VI visited the shrine in 1967, Pope Jean Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. When they visited here, they left some gifts to this shrine that you can visit in one of the Izmir Ephesus Tours program.
Church of Mary - The Double Churches
Church of Mary is the first church in the history that was dedicated for Virgin Mary. This Roman building is dated back to the 2nd century A.D as the ‘Hall of the Muses’. It was used as an education and cultural center. After the Christianity became the official religion of Rome, they converted this building into a basilica. It is also called like the Double Churches. The baptistry of this church is the best preserved in Asia Minor.
The Third Ecumenical Council was held in this church in 431. This council is also known as the Council of Ephesus. Approximately 200 bishops attended. They discussed here who was Mary. Was she mother of God or mother a human. After big discussings, they accepted that Christ had a double nature as God and man, and the Virgin Mary was theotokos, god-bearer. The visitors can learn more informations about Christianity in Ephesus during our Izmir Ephesus tours.