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Can the mind move objets ?
And thy fear of nothingness
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Pain as offering for Lord Murugan
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What killed the young pharaoh ?
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Bible and Religion (29)

Who Wrote It ?
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The Book That Lit The Pyres
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The Lost Colony
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The Mystery Lingers
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The Oldest Civilization of Meso America
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France (37)

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Impostors (3)

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Archaeology (9)

Where Is He Buried ?
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Ephesus Ancient City : The House of Virgin Mary

Temple of Artemis in Ephesus

Between Artemis and Mary

“The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus is the only house of the gods. Anyone looking at it will be convinced that a change of location has occurred: that the celestial world of immortality has transferred to Earth, after the Giants and sons of Aloads, who attempted to reach the heavens, made a leapt from the mountains and built not a temple, but Olympus. With these words, Philo offers a very vivid image of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today, of this masterpiece that has made people think that the gods had transferred part of Olympus to Earth, few traces remain that have withstood the ravages of time.

The cult of Artemis, true mistress of the place, lost its vigor and its strength in the wake of decadence. In addition, the image of the goddess was gradually erased by another great female figure in the history of religions, the Virgin Mary. It was in fact in this city, capital of ancient cults gradually replaced by Christianity, that Our Lady spent the last years of her life, after the death of Jesus. She lived a little apart, say the hagiographies, from the chaotic religious and cultural "metropolis" of the Aegean Sea, shutting herself up in memory and meditation inside a poor popular house, a building destined to become one of the most important places of Christianity and of international pilgrimages.

Let us try to relive the fascinating stay of the Virgin in Ephesus. Eusebius of Caesarea informs us that, between 37 and 42, John, the beloved apostle, reached Ephesus with Our Lady, where he wrote his Gospel until his death (although popular tradition held him immortal); he was buried not far from the city, and on his tomb was then erected a chapel (in the 4th century, when the Christian community of Ephesus had reached a certain solidity, a large basilica was built in the same place, basilica day after day highlighted by archaeologists). The evangelist and the Virgin lived for a time in a house located under the ruins of the “Church of the Madonna”, or “Church of the Council” (afterwards, John is said to have prepared another house for the Madonna on Mount Koressos. ). The church, whose construction dates back to the 2nd century, measured 260 meters long and 30 wide: in the 4th century, the construction was transformed into a basilica with three naves, with apses and a baptistery, and, then, in particular under Justinian I (527-565), it undergoes new transformations.

Panaya Kapulu: the other house of Mary

Under the foundations of the basilica should therefore be concealed the remains of the ancient dwelling which, a few years after Christ's death, served as a refuge for the evangelist and the Virgin. But, while this abode sleeps the sleep of the righteous, the other house of Our Lady, the one which sheltered her only during the last years of her life - where, as FM William writes, “pain consumed Mary like everybody else, and as she had suffered a physical and spiritual torment more intense than any other human torment, the consequences must have had exceptional proportions”- is clearly visible.

After Mary's death, the house fell into ruin. In the Middle Ages, due to insistent requests from the Western clergy and at the instigation of the Council of Ephesus, the desire to recover the House of the Virgin Mary became more and more intense. A few centuries later, Clemens Brentano (1778-1842), in his book The Life of the Holy Virgin Mary, further explains, based on objective data, the importance of finding the remains of the house, not only by fideism, but above all to correctly link a historic place to a mythical event related by historians who have drawn extensively from oral traditions.

Then, the declaration of Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) proved to be decisive. In one of her visions, although she had never left Germany, she saw the exact location of Our Lady's house. The revelations of the German visionary and the historical substratum gathered over time pushed Eugene Paulin, of the order of the Vincentians and director of the college of Smyrna, to continue the research: the charge of investigating in the region was entrusted to a team led by Father Young. The group of archaeologists identified the site in the locality of Panaya Kapulu and, to everyone’s surprise, this place exactly matched the description given by Catherine Emmerich. Naturally, the Church was cautious in recognizing the significance of the find, and it was not until 1892 that the Archbishop of Smyrna authorized religious ceremonies there.

In 1961, Pope John XXIII recognized Panaya Kapulu as a "place of pilgrimage", thereby formalizing its religious importance.

Near the house, recent archaeological studies have brought to light ancient tombs whose excavations have shown that they were oriented towards habitation: this indication tends to confirm that, in the time of Constantine and Justinian (probably in the time of the sarcophagi, due to the discovery of certain coins struck by these emperors), the place perhaps enjoyed a certain notoriety and had its place in the cultural context of the time. On the ruins of the Madonna's house, in the 6th-7th centuries, a church was erected and restored in modern times following the original architectural organization, that is to say a cross plan with a dome.

In the apse doorway, where a 19th century statue of the Virgin stands, was the ancient kitchen, while the other part of the building would have been the bedroom. The house consisted of two rooms, a water cistern 100 meters away, a wall with arches and a staircase, far from the building, and which archaeologists have not yet succeeded in determining the precise function. It is interesting to note that, at the time of the excavations, the remains of a hearth, with traces of charcoal and wood (as Catherine Emmerich indicated) were discovered: thanks to carbon 14 dating, we succeeded in determining that these elements date from the 1st century.

Inside the house, on the east side, there is now a niche facing Mecca: Muslims indeed consider Our Lady to be a saint and venerate her as such. Separating the eminently religious aspect from the historical aspect, one cannot help but notice how the house of Our Lady is still today an open archaeological "problem", a set of complex questions which, in structure of faith, do not always succeed in finding objective answers.

Loreto, another house ...

Among all the places where the Virgin lived, we must not forget another very famous house in Christendom: the one where the mother of Christ was born and had the apparition of the angel Gabriel during her stay in Nazareth. This small house (10 meters x 4 without foundations) is located in Loreto (in the Marches) and would have been brought there by angels. According to tradition, in 1291, when Palestine fell to Muslims, the angels seized the house without its foundations and on May 10 transported it to a safer place, in Raunizza, in Dalmatia, between Tersatto and Fiume ( tradition does not provide an explanation as to the reasons for choosing this place); then, on the night of December 10, 1374, the angels moved it to Recanati, in a wood that belonged to a lady of the nobility called Loreta (the etymological origin of Our Lady of Loreto perhaps comes from this name). However, this place proving to be insecure because of the repeated thefts that the house undergoes, the angels moved it to a hill belonging to two brothers in perpetual struggle, then to Loreto. The building, without foundations, had a single door on the north side, and a small window on the opposite side: inside, even today, we can see a small altar with a crucifix that is attributed to Saint Luke. The upper part of the wall was covered with frescoes depicting the Virgin, Saint Catherine, Saint George, Saint Anthony and King Saint Louis.

During the reign of Clement VII, the building underwent numerous modifications: the original door was condemned and three doors were drilled there to facilitate access for the faithful; then the altar, along with the statue of the Virgin Mary, was moved to another side. In 1463, Cardinal Pietro Barbo, seriously ill, was taken to Loreto, who asked the Virgin for healing there. She appeared and, in addition to healing him, told him that he would become Pope. The vision proved to be correct, as he recovered and became pope in 1464, under the name of Pius II.

As early as 1468, construction began on the large church with three naves, inside which the Santa Casa de Loreto still stands today.

The Assumption of Our Lady

There is no biblical indication of the death of the Virgin, nor specific information on her burial place. Despite the absence of written information, a number of successive interpretations have emerged, generated mainly by religious bodies. Already between the 3rd and 4th centuries, texts appeared on the circumstances of Mary's death. Although these texts remain apocryphal, they were nevertheless decisive in the tradition of the Assumption, that is to say the removal of the Virgin into heaven by the angels.

The first concrete reference to the Assumption of Mary appears in the anonymous text Transitus Beatae Virginis, written in Syriac and dating from a period between the 3rd and 5th centuries. In 754, the Emperor Constantine V promulgated the obligatory worship of the Virgin Mary, denying the accession to heaven to anyone who "does not admit that the Holy and always Virgin Mary, who is authentically and truly the mother of God, is the most high of all creatures, visible or invisible, and do not seek intercession with sincere faith, believing in his accession to God. However, the Assumption did not become an article of faith until 1850 because objective biblical testimonies capable of confirming such a belief did not exist, it was difficult to make a decision. In fact, the rebirth of the Assumption is certainly due to the popular will: indeed, the pontifical document referring to it was issued following a petition which collected eight million signatures among Catholics. Four years later, Mary was officially declared "Queen of Heaven", a designation already widely used, even if it was not recognized by the Church.