The House of Virgin Mary

When in 1878 the book The Life of the Virgin Mary” was publisned by {tip ::} Clement Brentano {/tip} in French, it attracted the attention of a great number of mystics. The book contained the narrations of the paralytic nun  who was bedridden and had never in her life been in Ephesus. She began having heavenly visions in her bed which she had not left for twelve years. She recited in detail the remains of the house of the Virgin Mary and the surrounding area. In 1891 a research team headed by a priest called Yung came to the area. The research team was skeptical about the narration of the nun and wanted to prove that it was baseless.

With this thought in mind, they strolled for days in the mountains around Ephesus. In the end they decided that the place called Panaya Kapulu" by the local people was the place narrated by the nun {tip Anne Catherine Emmerich ::} Katerina Emmerich {/tip}. They then believed the story and changed their mind as this place fitted exactly the description.

On the other hand, those who organized the research learned that the Christian Turks living in the surrounding area gathered here on the 15th of August every year to celebrate in large crowds the anniversary of the death of the Virgin Mary and that this tradition went back to very early times.

The place was the ruined structure standing on the hill of Solmissos (Aladag) in the region of Ortygia (the place where Artemis was born). Research on the building by scien tists brought out that the walls had the character of the 6th and 7th centuries and that the burned ashes and other things in the hearth inside the building were from the 1st century. When the building was first found, only the foundations were there. It was restored afterwards and brought to its present state (1950).

The old wall remains and the walls built later were indicated by a line of red paint. The building is a small domed structure with a cross-shaped plan. It has the aspect of a small church. It is entered by the door standing between two door like niches. This place is covered by a vault. A step leads from here to the big hall. Facing the entrance is the apse.

The statue of the Virgin Mary standing in the apse is from the beginning of the century. The part of the floor with the grey paving about two metres from the apse is where the hearth was. The small room to the right of the hall is thought to be the bedroom of the Virgin Mary.

In the present day, to enable the circulation of visitors a door was built in this room to lead outside. As the House of the Virgin Mary is highly esteemed by the Moslems too, they also worship and pray here.

The director of the French College of ?zmir who had not believed the nara- tions of the nun at the beginning of the century changed his mind after seeing the place and replacing his actual name of Eugene Poulin by the pseudonym of Gobrielovich spent the rest of his life until his death in 1928 to propagating the authenticity of this place.

On December 31st, 1892 Sister Marie de Mandat Grancey, the directress of the French Hospital of ?zmir, bought in great generosity the rights of use of the house and the 100 hectares of land surrounding it and gave them to Monseigneur Timoni, the archbishop of ?zmir. After this date, the importance of the place increased gradually. After the restoration of the building such establishments as a post office, restaurants and WCs were built to meet the needs.

Following for 7 kilometres the road forking to the right at the 2nd kilometre of the Selçuk Aydin highway, we reach the Mouse of the virgin Mary. Situated on the seaward slopes of Aladag to the southwest of Mount Coressus, this place is covered by woods and has a beautiful view. Besides the House of the virgin Mary there is here a round cistern dated back to the late Roman period of which the water seems to be coming from a great number of places.

As understood from the remains of foundations in the ground this cistern was once in a closed space. The wall on the slope is built as a pseudo arch.

Before being crucified on Golgotha in Jerusalem by the opposing religious groups, Jesus, the prophet of the new religion, entrusted his mother the Virgin Mary to St. John the Apostle.

When St. john's brother Jacob was beheaded St. John and the Virgin Mary saw that they could not stay in Jerusalem and they moved on to Anatolia (41-42 AD). The Virgin Mary was 64 years old at that time.

There must have been two purposes for their coming to Anatolia: firstly, to move away from danger, and secondly, to profit from the tolerance of Ephesus where people of various religions lived. Ephesus was an important missionary centre, and as a commercial centre it had both a big population and was full of people coming from and going to a variety of places. At the same time Artemis of Ephesus maintained her greatness. They must have worked quite well during the time they stayed in Ephesus because later in time Ephesus became an important centre where one of the seven churches stood.(see the Church of the Virgin Mary)

When in 1961 {tip Blessed Pope John XXIII ::} Pope John XXIII {/tip} made known that ceremonies could be performed in the Mouse of the Virgin Mary discussions about the place were subdued and the number of visitors gradually increased. The house was declared a place of pilgrimage. In 1967 Pope Paul VI and in 1979 Pope John Paul II visited the Mouse of the Virgin Mary and conducted ceremonies there which events show their esteem for the place.

{tip Pope Benedict XVI ::} Pope Benedict XVI {/tip} celebrated Mass at the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, Nov. 29, 2006 as {tip Pope Paul VI ::} Paul VI {/tip} and {tip Blessed Pope John Paul II ::} John Paul II {/tip} did before him. Pope Benedict XVI is the third pope who became a "Pilgrim" by visiting the House of Virgin Mary.

Visitor  Information

Address: Orman Yolu Park, near Ephesus, Turkey
Coordinates: 37.912285° N, 27.332724° E   (view on Google Maps)
Services Mass 7:15am (10:30am on Sun)
References: Our Lady died at Ephesus, in the house called Panaya Kapulu
Parking: Parking lot available at the site.
Photo Gallery The House of Virgin Mary Photo Gallery
Videos. The House of Virgin Video Gallery


Getting There
The site lies 8.5km from Ephesus’ Lower (northern) Gate and 7km from the Upper (southern) Gate. There’s no dolmu?-mini bus service so you’ll have to hire a taxi from the otogar (bus station). Prices are negotiable, or take a private tour.

From both the Upper and Lower entrances to Ephesus, follow the signs to Meryemana, which is in a park and nature preserve. .

Location Map

Below is a location map and aerial view of House of Virgin Mary. Using the buttons on the left, zoom in for a closer look or zoom out to get your bearings. Click and drag the map to move around. For a larger view, see our Ephesus Map.


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