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Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Real Lady of Ephesus

After the Ascension, St. John most likely took Mary to Ephesus when the persecution of the Christians began in Jerusalem.

Ephesus held one of the ancient wonders of the world, the great Temple of Artemis. Artemis, or Diana, was one of the most popular goddesses of the pagans. She was patron of both virgins and childbirth.

The real patron of childbirth and the true matrona of virgins came into Ephesus with a young man, unknown to most of the ancients and revered by a few men, who were now scattered all over the world-the apostles.

God prepared the ancient world for Christ through many sources, including the Diaspora of the Jews in the great Exile.

When the Greeks and Romans met the Jews, a syncretism occurred in several major areas. This syncretism could be one of the reasons why the Three Kings, Magi of the Zoroastrians, sought Christ. There sacred texts were "infiltrated" by Jewish texts in Babylon and most likely, Medea.

John brought Mary to Ephesus, where their house may still stand and such a place is honored. Of course, we hear of Ephesus in the Acts of the Apostles, when St. Paul is threatened by those making money by creating and selling idols of Artemis.

John has to protect Mary from many dangers, and in keeping with the times, when women had few rights, watch over her until God called her home in the Dormition and Assumption.

But, today, on the Feast of St. John, I like to think of them sitting and talking about Jesus, praying together, walking through the streets of the great city, perhaps even looking at the huge temple, so different from their small, sacred house.

The real Lady of Ephesus is Mary, not Diana. And, today, we honor one the Evangelists, the apostle Christ loved dearly and the one to whom He entrusted His own Mother, our Mother. Maybe some of those who met Mary realized that Diana merely prepared them for a real woman of heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary.