Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ephesus...


The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that the Virgin Mary be proclaimed Theotokos, literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations used by most Christians, especially Catholics, are Mother of God and Queen of Heaven (names often associated with ancient goddesses).

Is it just a coincidence that she was given these titles in the very city famed for the Temple of Artemis one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? The temple was destroyed in 401 CE by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, and an important Early Church Father. All that is left now is one huge pillar with a giant nest on top of it... some of the other temple pillars are said to have been taken to Constantinople and used in the reconstruction of the Hagia Sophia.

It also is a very strange coincidence that Ephesus is still a major religious pilgrimage site, but now for the so called House of the Virgin Mary.

I loved Ephesus... it was warm and welcoming after the freezing temperatures of northern Turkey. It was also full of life, from the orange trees along the avenues to abundant animal life... ducks played in the swampy water around the old site of the temple to the Lady Of The Beasts, a white horse roamed near by, and huge flocks of black birds screeched at night and swarmed from tree to tree as you walked down the streets...
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