CHURCH OF EPHESUS – ST.JOHN’S BASILICA
The Basilica of St. John, Church of Efes, was constructed on the tomb of St. John the Evangelist, one of the authors of the Bible, during the Byzantine period. Emperor Justinien I ordered its construction from 532 to 537 AD in a cross plan. Until the Selçuk town was siege by Arabic troops in the 10th century AD, the church building served as the church of Ephesus. Today, it is a popular destination for both cruise clients and holiday makers in the Kusadasi area. Three popes from the Vatican City have visited and prayed at the ruins of the church thus far. Excavations are still being conducted under the supervision of the Turkish government. It is the most beautiful Byzantine monument in the region.
This church is located in downtown Selcuk at the base of the Ayasuluk Castle. It is in the center and can be reached on foot in 10 minutes while on the way to the Izmir road. It is a 30 minute drive from the Kusadası port and an hour from the Izmir airport.
JOHN THE EVANGELIST – BIBLE AUTHOR
St. John, the youngest of the twelve apostles of Jesus, was witness to His crucifixion and promised to care for Mary until her passing. After Jesus’ death, John and Mary left Jerusalem and came to Ephesus in 43-44 AD in order to spread Christianity. As Mary was elderly and Ephesus unsafe, John and his disciples made a house for her on top of Nightingale Hill, which is approximately seven miles from Ephesus and 300 metres above sea level, as a sacred place.
Blessed Mary, Mary Magdalene, and two other sisters began residing in the house, and John would pay them visits from time to time. Years later, Roman emperor Domitianus exiled John the Evangelist to the island of Patmos in the middle of the Aegean Sea. While John was staying in his grotto, one day he suddenly heard a sound behind him like thunder, saying, “I am the Alpha and Omega; write down what you have seen and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Sardis, Thyatira, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” As He was the first and the last, He was revealed to be God. John was then dictated to write the Gospel.
After being freed from imprisonment following the assassination of Emperor Domitianus in Rome, John travelled to Ephesus, where he was able to complete his book. He also heard that St. Paul had been martyred in Rome and, as a result, became the leader of the followers of Jesus, teaching them how to be baptised. He strongly opposed the Diana temple and visited the seven churches of the Revelation, delivering letters from God as warnings. In one theory, John passed away at the age of 127 at the end of the first century AD, and was buried on Ayasuluk Hill. Until Christianity was legalized by Constantine the Great in 330 AD, his tomb’s location was only known to church elders, who kept it secret from generation to generation.
HISTORY OF THE BASILICA
In 400 AD, a stone church with a wooden roof was constructed on the former tomb of John. Later, in 537 AD, Byzantine Emperor Justinian added a large basilica in the shape of a cross, with five domes. To protect against Arab raids during the 9th century, the structure was surrounded by a castle. During the 11th century, the Selçuk Turks took over the town and the church was left in ruins at the end of that century. In 1390, the town and the church were taken over by the Selçuk Turks, who established a great empire before the Ottomans.
At the beginning of the 20th century, excavations began and an American company from Ohio called the George Quatman Foundation became the sponsor in the 1960s. The church is considered holy, so it was visited by Pope John Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1995, Pope John Benedict XVI in 2007, and the current Pope is expected to visit soon. Archeologists are still excavating the church today. Today, visitors can see a narthex (outer courtyard), a treasure hall, an atrium, a syntronon, a chapel, the tomb of John under the main dome, Maltese columns with curved crosses, and a beautiful baptismal pool. It is believed that the Church of John in Ephesus is a holy place for Christian believers, so it has been one of the main pilgrimage sites on the way to Jerusalem since the Middle Ages.
WHY VISIT ST. JOHN’S BASILICA IN EFES TURKEY?
The Church of Ephesus is one of the most important and inspiring destinations in the world. Located in southwestern Turkey, this ancient church is among the Seven Churches of Revelations and is believed to be the final resting place of St. John the Apostle. Dating back to the 4th century, the basilica is a remarkable testament to the grandeur and importance of the Christian faith. Visitors to the Church of Ephesus will be awestruck by the beauty and grandeur of the church, which is considered a must-see destination for pilgrims, historians, and tourists alike.
Ephesus Church is one of the few remaining ancient churches in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its intricate and majestic architecture, the basilica is a stunning example of early Christian architecture. Walk through the main nave and admire the impressive columns, frescoes, and mosaics that adorn the walls and ceilings. Take a moment to sit in the peaceful courtyard and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the basilica. The Church of Ephesus is also home to many historical artifacts and religious relics from the Byzantine period. Inside the church, visitors can find the tombs of St. John and the Virgin Mary, as well as other important artifacts related to their lives. Moreover, the church is surrounded by many other significant sites and monuments, such as the Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus, and the Great Theatre of Ephesus.
At Tour Maker Turkey, we offer guided tours to St. John’s Basilica, so that you can experience the beauty and grandeur of this ancient site firsthand. Our knowledgeable and experienced tour guides will provide you with fascinating information about this incredible site, as well as insight into its history and significance. On our tours, you will have the opportunity to explore the basilica and its fascinating artifacts and relics, as well as visit the other important sites and monuments in the area.
Come and discover the beauty and history of the Basilica of St. John with Tour Maker Turkey. Our guided tours are the perfect way to explore this remarkable destination in southwestern Turkey and learn about its fascinating history and significance. With us, you can be sure that you will have a memorable and educational experience!