Meryemana or The House of Mary – A Sacred Shrine in Ephesus:
Meryemana or The House of Mary is a sacred shrine that is much venerated by both Christians and Muslims. Located on Mount Koressos or ‘Nightingale Mountain’, as the locals refer to it, the House of Mary is about 8 km from the centre of Ephesus.
Meryemana Sacred Shrine
According to the scriptures, when Jesus was crucified, he asked St John the Baptist to look after his mother Mary. It is believed that St John brought Mary to Ephesus and that she remained here for the rest of her life, living in a small stone house.
The Catholic church confirmed the authenticity of the legend after a visit by Pope Paul VI in 1967. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI also visited in 1979 and 2006 respectively.
It seems that Muslims have a similar belief and on August 15, Assumption Day, thousands of Muslim and Christian pilgrims come to the House of Mary to attend a commemorative service.
We arrived at the House of Mary to see a queue of people lining up to see the Blessed Virgin. The church is only very small and you have time to just file past the statue.
No pictures are allowed inside the Virgin Mary House. When you enter the shrine, you will notice that the very small statue of the Virgin Mary has no hands. According to our guide, a nun was once asked why they haven’t replaced the Virgin Mary’s hands and her reply was that people like her (the nuns) are the hands of Mother Mary.
On exiting the church, there are altars in the courtyard where the faithful can make offerings by lighting candles. On the path to the exit there is a sacred fountain and a wall of supplications to the Blessed Virgin, placed by believers hoping to have their wishes granted.
We visited the Virgin Mary House as part of our tour of Turkey. There is no regular public transport to reach the site and to get here you will need to drive or take a taxi.