Beyond Ephesus and on Bulbul Dag (mountain), 8km southwest of Selcuk, the monument is believed by some to be where Virgin Mary died, and for some where she lived almost the last decade of her life here at Bulbul Dag which surrounds Ephesus Ancient City with the City Walls built over it.
The Chapel today is visited by Christian and Muslims from all around the world.
Discovery of the Chapel
The small stone house is now a chapel today, and probably dates back to the 4th century AD, although the foundations are thought to be 1st century.
It was not until a German nun, Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) claimed that she had visions of Mary living in ‘a small, stone house’ in even though the nun had never left Germany. Anna Catherine Emmerich described the area as she was present here giving the smallest details such as the Pine Forest and the Olive Groves that surround the House.
According to the Nun, the House was overlooking to the Aegean Sea and close tothe Ancient Roman City of Ephesus.
And she mentions about a Spring water source that runs via the Valleys that lead to Ephesus.
After Anna Catherine Emmerich died, it took about 60 year for her visions to be discovered in a book by a Priest around 1890.
In 1891, 3 Priests discovered the exact location as it was mentioned in the Book that covers the Visions of Anna Catherine Emmerich.
In the Gospel of John, The Crucifixion Section has an additional paragraph that Jesus says "Mother, here is your son, behold thy son. And son here's your Mother behold thy mother."
These words were from Jesus to Mother Mary and St. John the Evangelist.
From here we can understand that St. John and Mother Mary were clearly entrusted to each other.
And many scholars agree that St. John spent a remarkable portion of his life in Asia Minor hence nearly %85 of Book of Revelation is written from/to the cities in Asia Minor around Ephesus. There is also a very important Church (one of the largest of all Pilgrimage Churches ) near Ephesus named after St. John.
So if John the Evangelist was around Ephesus before he was exiled to Patmos Island, he must have taken Mother Mary with him during that period.
Relation in Early Christianity
After Christianity was accepted as the Official Religion in 396 AD by Eastern Roman Empire, a series of Ecumenical Councils were convened to decide the main doctrine that the Empire will follow.
Nicaea Council was the First one and mainly the bishops participated on Nicaea Council tried to find an answer to the Nature of Christ.
The main Question was
"Does Jesus have only Divine character? "
or "Does Jesus have both human and Divine Character?"
The answers were vague but they still stuck to the second idea.
And in the 2nd Council was held in Ephesus in 431.
And the one of the main questions was if Jesus is both Divine and human, then Mother Mary is the Mother to which of them?
Is she the Mother of Christ the Human (Christokos)?
or Is she the Mother of God (Theotokos)?
First time in Christian History Mother Mary was titled as Theotokos, the Divine Motherhood of Mary was officially crowned to her at Ephesus.
This historical fact also relates Mother Mary with Ephesus.
After the discovery of the Chapel's foundations in 1891, The Balkan Wars were followed by Worl War I, so nothing much could have been done.
Post World War 2 period, the ruined Chapel was reconstructed in 1959 by the Christian Community in Smyrna (Modern day İzmir).
Around Mid 60s the community decided to issue an official invitation to the Papacy and in 1967 Pope Paul VI paid a visit to the Area, this was followed 12 years later by John Paul II and lastly in 2006 by Pope Benedict.
The Use of the House Today
Today there is an Outdoor Mass Facility beside the Church and also an Indoor Monastery where 5-6 Nuns and Priests live here year around.
The Feast of Assumption, on August 15 is celebrated here by the Orthodox Greeks, and Mass is held daily.
The church can only be accessed by car, as no public buses come through the dense forest surrounding it.