Monday, November 27, 2006

The House of Mary in Ephesus

Most scholars agree that the Virgin Mary lived for a time in Ephesus. The evidence in favor of Mary having spent her last years in Ephesus is both factual and logical. There is no dispute among historians that John, after the death of Jesus, went to Ephesus. While one might argue that Mary would not leave her homeland, with all its memories of the Apostolic life of her Son, it is much more plausible to believe that when the persecutions broke out against the Christians in Jerusalem her safety would be paramount and that she would obey the command of her Son and follow John to Ephesus.

The third Ecumenical Council of the Church was held in Ephesus. This council, which met in a large cathedral known as the Double Church of St. Mary, was primarily called to formalize the doctrine known as “Theotokos”, Greek for “Mary, Mother of God.” In a letter from the Council Fathers, addressed to all the clergy announcing this doctrine, it added that the Council was conducted in Ephesus “in which place John the Theologian and the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God were.”

The house of the Virgin was first discovered in 1881 by Abbe’ Gouyet, of Paris, through the use of Anne-Catherine Emmerick’s descriptions. His discovery went unpublished and was generally discounted. Ten years later, inspired by the detail of Emmerick’s accounts, a group of explorers again followed her descriptions to relocate the Virgin Mary’s home. The explorers were amazed how closely their discoveries conformed with the description of Emmerick.

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