The House of Virgin Mary
According to the Gospel of John, as Jesus was hanging on the cross, He presented His beloved disciple John with the care of His mother, Mary. Four of six years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, St. John and Mary are thought to have come to Ephesus and stayed on the site of what is not the Church of the Council of 431. Later, John took Mary to a house he had built on Nightingale Mountain. This house where Mary is thought to have spent her last days was forgotten in time and fell to ruin. In the Middle Ages it was often claimed that the house was found but to no definite result.
In 1878 German nun Katherina Emmerich talked about the location of the house in a book by Clementi Brentado and interest was revived. In 1891 the Lazarist priest Eugene Poulin, who was head of Izmir College, sent a group under priest Yung to find out if what was being claimed was true. The group explored the mountains south of Ephesus and came upon the house now know as the House of Mary.
Katherina Emmerich (1771-1824) had never left her hometown in all her life, was in a trance when making her explanation of ht house's location. After this discovery, Eugene Poulin printed a number of things to increase interest in the find. The event was heard around the world. Many religious investigators shared the same conclusion. Izmir Patriarch Monsignor Timoni visited the site and gave permission for conducting services on the site in 1892. Pope John XXIII proclaimed the house a pilgrimage site, quieting all controversy over the site. In 1967 Pope Paul VI came, and Pope John Paul II came in 1979, both adding to the significance of the site.
There is a small, cross-shaped, domed church built at the end of the road leading from the cistern. This is the structure known as Mary's House. This structure dates from the 6th or 7th century, and was repaired to its present condition. There is a red line marking where the ancient wall stops and where the newer wall begins. Inside the entrance with door-shaped niches at either end, there is a vaulted platform area. There is a statue of Mary in the apse which has been there for centuries. There was a fireplace at the front where gray marble separated it from the rest of the house. During excavations coal and house utensils were found dating to the 1st century AD. Because Mary is also honored by Muslims, the ritual Muslim prayer (namaz) can be performed in the house. The writings on the wall are translations of Kur'anic verses relating to Mary. There are even Kur'ans in a cabinet for those who wish to read more about this.
To view the interior
of the house along the lines of the diagram above,
tic here or the small picture below.