THE HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY. THE MEETING POINT OF THE CELEBRATION OF JESUS 2007
Most scholars agree that the Virgin Mary lived for a time in Ephesus although some dispute that she died there. The evidence in favour of Mary having spent her last years in Ephesus is both factual and logical. The first factual evidence is the biblical historical documentation of Mary's relationship to St. John the Apostle. The Beloved John, brother of St. James, was the youngest of the twelve Apostles and, from John's own modest testimony, "the one He loved the most." The fact that he was favored is evident from his place next to Jesus at the Last Supper, and his being asked by the other Apostles to inquire of Jesus as to which of them would be tray Him. He was the first to identify Jesus after His Resurrection on the shore of Lake Tiberias. He is the only Apostle known to have been present at the Crucifixion. 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. Further evidence that Mary lived in or near Ephesus is the fact that the third Ecumenical Council of the Catholic 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 word "were" is interpreted as meaning "until death".
The first Pilgrimage to Virgin Mary took place in 1896, five years after the discovery of " The House of the Virgin". Two tarins brought pilgrims from Izmir to Ephesus. Most of them made the ascent on foot or on horseback or by donkey. The first pilgrims from abroad came in 1906 led by Prof. Miner and Fr. Kayser. There were 47 people of whom 10 were Protestants. Between 1914 and 1927 nu mass was celebrated at the shrine and in 1929, Fr. Euzet found that the chapel floe was covered in cow dung. Between 1937 and 1949 there were no pilgrimages to Virgin Mary. In 1949, Archbishop Descuffi and a group of Children of Mary celebrated mass in the roofless chapel. A new period in the history of Meryem Ana Evi began in 1950. The dogma of the Assumtion of Mary was defined in Rome. Dr. Karl Gshwind of Basle, who had been trapped in Istanbul by the war and who had used the time to make a study of the antiquities of Asia Minor, planned to lead a pilgrimage to the shrine on 1st November 1950, the day of the definition of the dogma. This pilgrimage was also announced in the Turkish press and the Turkish Ministry of Tourism had a road constructed so that vehicles could go up to the chapel. Since then the number of tourists, and pilgrims has increased.