EPHESUS
(Revelation 1:11, 2:1-7; Acts18:19-28, 19:1-41; Ephesians)


The second pilgrimage center for Christians, also home to the Virgin Mary and St.John. In 431 A.D., the second ecumenial council convened in the church of the Virgin Mary. The same church is also known as one of the "Seven Churches of the Apocalypse". There is also a Basilica where St.John was buried and nearby is Bulbul mountain where the house of the Virgin Mary is located.

There is a foundation in front of the Odeum of the city. It is thought to be the foundation of an ancient temple that was later converted into a church. A bull's head carved in the doorjamb once led people to believe that this was the tomb of St.Luke since the bull's head was an ancient symbol for him.

When Paul returned from Corinth toEphesus, he stayed briefly in the city and talked the people of Ephesus in the synagogue where he was asked to stay longer. He promised and said : "I shall come back to you is it is God's will" (Acts 18:18-20) and he left Ephesus for Phoenecia and Jerusalem.

On his next journey to Ephesus, Paul stayed longer and taught to his followers all the details of the Christianian faith, during this two year period. His relations with the locals started to go bitter when he preached that "gods made by human hands are not gods at all" (Acts 19:26). After a public speech he was reacted by the angry citizens of Ephesus, led by Demetrius, a leader of the silversmiths. Paul was saved from the uproar of the people by the city clerk. However, it was apparent to Paul that he had better leave the city as soon as possible. Calling his followers together, he said goodbye to them with words of encouragement and set off for Macedonia (Acts 19:28, 20:1).

St.John came to Ephesus in 40 A.D. with the Virgin Mary. They lived here until their deaths. He presided over the churches of Asia in the later years of his life and was buried where the church of St.John now stands in Ayasuluk hill. Durign the reign of Byzantine's emperor Justinian, the church was converted to a cathedral. Some of its collapsed columns have been set up again recently. Besides the nave, there is a baptistery and a small chapel with some frescoes.

The home of Virgin Mary, is now visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. The pilgrims come to drink the waters of the sacred spring, to meditate, to pray for health, and to breathe the holy atmosphere of this ancient place of worship. Pope Paul VI visited the place in 1967 and recently Pope John Paul II came to celebrate the mass here and prayed in both churches and Ephesus itself.

In Revelation, St.John wrote the following words to the people of Ephesus and the church in Ephesus :
Revelation (2:1) "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks among the seven gold lampstands. (2:2)I know what you have done; I know how hard you have worked and how patient you have been. I know that you can not tolerate evil man and that you have tested those who say they are apostles but are not, and have found out that they are liars. (2:3) You are patient, you have suffered for my sake, and you have not given up. (2:4) But this is what I have against you : you do not love me now as you did at first. (2:5) Think how far you have fallen! Turn from your sins and do what you did at first. If you don't turn from your sins, I will come to you and take your lampstand from its place. (2:6) But this is what you have in your favor : you hate what the Nicolaitans do, as much as I do. (2:7) If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches! To those who win the victory I will give the right to eat the fruit of the tree of life that grows in the Garden of God."


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