The House of Virgin Mary in Ephesus was not known until Anne Catherine Emmerich's vision. The paralysed German nun who had never been to Ephesus had a vision of the House of the Virgin Mary and described it in detail to the German writer Clemens Brentano who later published a book about it. Catherine Emmerich died in 1884. In 1891 priests and historians from Izmir read about her vision and found a little building which corresponded with Emmerich's descriptions.
Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary Tour
Archeological evidence showed that the little house was from the 6C AD but that the foundations were from the first century AD. Proving that some people restored this home. What was interesting was that every year on August 15th some villagers came here and made ceremonies under the name Panaghia Kapulu. First they were asked why they make these ceremonies. Like so many in the world without knowing what Christmas of Easter means, they did not have any clue. Historians searched the word Panaghia Kapulu and found out that it means Virgin's Door. August 15th, still celebrated as the assumption date of Virgin Mary. From these indications they thought this is the house that Virgin Mary spent her last years.
The house was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage. It has been running as an active chapel over a century. Pope Paul VI visited the shrine on July 26th 1967. After the Pope's arrival approximately 1.5 million people from different faiths and religions visited this house. The other indication that Virgin Mary died in Ephesus is the writing of John of Damascus in the 8th century. John mentioned that in 458 AD Queen Pulcheria requested the Bishop of Jerussalem to transport the skeleton of Virgin Mary to Constantinople. When St. Paul arrived in Ephesus in 53 AD he found there people who had already been evangelized. It is likely that Virgin Mary and St. John arrived in Ephesus between 42-48AD.
There is an underground spring. According to local tradition, before tasting the water or dowsing one`s hands, one must make a wish. The supporters of the belief that Virgin Mary lived her last years and died in her hut near Ephesus base their theory on two main points
The burial site that was described by Kathleen Emerich was not found. According to Christian Tradition not only her soul but also her body was ascended. She was probably 54 years old when she came to Ephesus and assumed at the age of 63. The mountain where the house is located, approximately 1200 feet above sea level. Although Mary's existence in Ephesus is not proved, the site is a very popular spiritual site. Not only Christians but Moslems also visit the House. Name of Mary is mentioned in the book of Koran more than the bible. According to the Koran, Mary is the mother of a prophet therefore she is considered as a holy person. Her name is mentioned as Meryem in the book of Koran which is a very common name in Turkey. Visitors may notice walking sticks, carpets... donated from the people whose wishes came true. Visitors also write their wishes on a tissue and attach them on designated boards. There used to be a tree for it. This is a shaman tradition which became a custom here today. Turks were shaman before being converted to Islam
Pope Benedict XVI visited the House of the Virgin Mary on Wednesday Nov. 29, 2006 as Paul VI and John Paul II did before him. Click below to watch the movie: