House of Virgin Mary
House of Virgin Mary is a popular shrine located on top of the Bulbul Mountain (Mt. Koressos), just 9 km ahead of Ephesus. Located in a magnificent atmosphere among the greenery, the house was discovered in 19th century based on the visions reported by a Roman Catholic nun and visionary, Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). The House of Virgin Mary has maintained a steady flow of pilgrims since its discovery and Anne Catherine Emmerich was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004. Catholic pilgrims visiting the shrine believe that Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus accompanied St John to this place and lived in this stone house until her Assumption. The shrine has merited visits from popes. The first among them was in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII and the recent papal visit was in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Roman Architecture in the House of Virgin Mary
The original two storey house consisted of a front kitchen, an anteroom, bedroom, the prayer room and a fireplace as well. This original stone building date back to the Apostolic Age and has a typical Roman architecture. In the 4th century AD, the existing house and the grave of Virgin Mary were combined to rebuild a church. Much of the building had fallen into ruins, but was restored in 1940s. The pilgrims are allowed to visit only the central part and a room right to the altar. The restored house now serves as a small chapel where Christian pilgrims offer their prayers.
Papal Visits to the House of Virgin Mary
The House of Virgin Mary has merited by several visits by Popes. The first of the visit was in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII. Pope Paul VI visited here in 1967, and Pope John Paul II visited this place in 1979. The more recent visit was in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. During his visit, Pope John Paul II declared the place as the Shrine of Virgin Mary and a pilgrimage center for Christians. The place is also visited by Muslims who revere Mary as mother to one of their Prophets. On August 15th of every year, the Assumption of Mary is celebrated at this place.
Water of Mary and the Wishing Wall
Another interesting place here is the “Water of Mary”. This is the place of source of some holy water that has healing properties. The pilgrims visiting here revere this place and drink this water for its miraculous powers.
Just outside the shrine, the “Wishing Wall” is one popular attraction where pilgrims tie their personal wishes on paper or fabric.