Basilica of St. john in Ephesus
Basilica of St. John, was built in the 6th century, under emperor Justinian I & his wife Theodora over the supposed site of the St. John Apostle's tomb. At his crucifixion, Jesus asked his beloved disciple, John, to look after his mother. John and the Virgin Mary travelled to Ephesus between 38 and 47 AD and lived there. John was exiled to Patmos for 8 years by Emperror Domitian. Later he came back to Ephesus and continued writing the Gospel. John was martyred at the age of 98 under the rule of the Emperor Trajan. John who was buried here, is the John the Evangelist who is also known as the John the Apostle or John the Gospel writer. He is commonly mixed up with John the Baptist. John the Baptist has never been to Asia Minor.
The hill that John lived after coming from the island of Patmos was named as Hagia Theologos, meaning the "Holy Theologian". It is also the name given to the city during Byzantine period., Turkish name first for the town and later only for the hill is Ayasuluk. A small church on the Ayasuluk Hill was dedicated to John the Apostle in the 2nd century AD. This church was replaced in the 6th century by a huge basilica built by the Emperor Justinian.
Justinian is also the Emperror who ordered the construction of the Church of Hagia Sophia which was the largest church of the world until 1453, till the Ottoman Empire conquered the city of Constantinopolis. Basilica of St. John was the second largest church of Anatolia when it was actively used. The impressive ruins of the basilica are still visible. The basilica had a cross plan with six domes. Under the central dome was the sacred grave of St. John. Pilgrims have believed that a fine dust from his grave has magical and curative powers. In the apse of the central nave, beyond the transept is the synthronon, semicircular rows of seats for the clergy. To the north transept was attached the treasury which was later converted into a chapel. The baptistery is from an earlier period and now located to the north of the nave. Mosaics used by Byzatines are smaller than Roman mosaics. Examples can be noticed in the
treasury. Baptistry pool is in the shape of Jordan river. Jordan meaning the fast meandring river nothing related to the country of Jordan. First baptises were practiced by John the baptist in Jordan River. John the Baptist baptised Jesus in th river of Jordan.
Pope Paul VI visited the Basilica of St. John
Visitors can also notice a writing saying that Pope Paul VI prayed in this place on July 26th 1967. Having Pope's arrival to the ruins, made the site a popular one. Today the site have been restored by American foundations like Quatman foundation from Lima, Ohio and Grand Circle Foundation.
Who is John that lived and died in Ephesus?
The Gospel of James, also known as the Protoevangelium of James, is an apocryphal gospel probably written about 145 AD. This gospel contains: the story of Mary's own unique birth and childhood and assignment to the temple, her assignment to Joseph as guardian and the tests of her virginity, hiding of Jesus from Herod.
According to Gospel of James, Joseph was a widower, with 4 sons (Judas, Justus, James, Simon) and 3 daughters from his first wife, at the time that Mary is entrusted to his care. According to the Orthodox church, Salome was one of the daughters of Joseph who was married to Zebedee and became the mother of the two Apostles: James and John. Salome brought spices to Christ's tomb and found it empty, Salome was mentioned in the bible four times. In other words John the Apostle could be the grandson of Joseph.
John the Apostle and Evangelist John, also known as John the Theologian or John the Divine was one of the original twelve Apostles, and wrote the Gospel and the book of Revelation. He was the youngest of the twelve apostles, and especially closest to the Jesus. This closeness is often portrayed in icons of the last supper, where St. John leans on Jesus. He was present for the Transfiguration of Christ with Peter and his brother James.St. John was exiled to the island of Patmos by Emperor Domitian around 90-95 A.D., and it was there that he received and wrote the Book of Revelation. Among the 12 apostles, he is the only one who is not martyred but died in normal circumstances. He possibly died at the age of 98.
Places to visit: