On his return journey from Corinth, Paul came to the city of Ephesus to fulfill his promise after a short visit, and he came back and Paul stayed in Ephesus about 2.5 years between 53-56AD.
Cave of St. Paul in Ephesus
During the excavations at Ephesus, more than 3,500 inscriptions have been found. Some of the most interesting are in a small cave on the slope of Bülbül Mountain (Nightingale Mountain). According to a local legend, when St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus from Jerusalem, they had no place to stay. John found this cave and hid Mary there for her safety. It was not until some time later that John located a more suitable home for Mary higher up on the mountain, known as Panaya Capoulu. In more recent years, the cave has been re-named “the Cave of St. Paul” due to the frescoes and inscriptions on the walls which refer to St. Paul.
The cave has been a Christian sacred site since the 1st or 2nd century. The walls were decorated with frescoes and inscriptions and white-washed several times, then re-painted with new images. Discovered under plaster on the walls are important 5th-century frescoes, with inscriptions, depicting the Virgin Mary, St. Paul and St. Thecla (a female disciple of Paul). This is the only known depiction of St. Paul at Ephesus and the earliest known appearance in the world of Paul and Thecla together.
The cave was discovered by a group of priests in 1892, while looking for the tomb of the Virgin Mary. Under the layers of plaster on the corridor walls are Greek phrases such as “the hidden of Mother of God” and “Paul help your servant”-written in charcoal and chalk. To protect these delicate and ancient wall frescoes, the cave is not open to the public. Unfortunately this site can not be visited during the tours of Ephesus.
What did St Paul do in Ephesus?
The first Christian congregation in Ephesus was founded by St John the Apostle and expanded by St Paul. On his return journey from Corinth, Paul came to the city of Ephesus to fulfill his promise after a short visit, and he came back and stayed for about two and a half years between 53-56AD. Most likely St. Paul wrote the Corinthians No.1 letter in Ephesus at this time period. When Paul came to Ephesus, he preached the gospel in the synagogue of Ephesus and the hall of Tyrannus. Tyrannus was an owner of a lecture hall at Ephesus. All this information is mentioned in the New Testament, in the book of Acts of the Apostles (19:9). The Ephesus Church, leaded the Seven Churches in the Asia Minor (Western Turkey today).
What happened to Paul at Ephesus?
By St. Paul’s efforts, in a short time, Ephesus became the third important city of Christianity after Jerusalem and Antioch. Christianity quickly gained popularity in Ephesus. The popularity of this new religion concerned some people in Ephesus. The silversmith Demetrius and others, who made a living by selling and making silver statues of Mother Goddess Artemis, were very upset. Demetrius and his colleagues provoked thousands of people and met them at the Ephesus theater and started a big riot in 56AD. The crowd was shouting "The Great Artemis of Ephesians". St Paul wanted to face the crowd, but the disciples didn't let him. Finally, the city clerk calmed down the crowd. Probably St. Paul was jailed in Ephesus for a while before he departed to North.
It is obvious that Ephesus had an important role in Christianity. Both St. John and St. Paul was in Ephesus but neither of them were in Ephesus at the same time.
In the New Testament, there are 13 letters of St. Paul. During his house arrest in Rome in 61 AD, St. Paul mailed 3 letters to the city of Ephesus: Timothy No.1, Timothy No. 2 and Ephesians. Paul's letters tended to be written in response to certain crises. Ephesus Church, most probably was facing major difficulties and St. Paul was aware of these.
Timothy was one of the disciples of St. Paul. St. Paul met with Timothy during his missionary journeys in Lystra. Afterwards Timothy joined Paul and Silas, and they travelled together to the city of Ephesus. After Paul had to leave the city of Ephesus. Timothy became the head of the Christian Community in Ephesus. He is considered to be the first bishop of Ephesus. Although not stated in the bible, according to some apocryphal gospels, Timothy was martyred in Ephesus in 97AD when he was 80 years old. Probably Timothy met with St. John the Apostle , although there is no mention of this in the New Testament.
We offer private biblical tours of Ephesus, focused on St. Paul and conducted by expert Ephesus tour guides. For more information, please contact us.
Documentary of Cave of St. Paul in Ephesus:
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