The common Christian belief is that Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, came to Ephesus with St. John after the Crucifixion of Christ and the two lived the rest of their lives near the city.
The House of Virgin Mary was discovered in 1812 in the visions of a bedridden German nun with stigmata wounds on her wrist. The nun was able to describe the house of Mother Mary in great detail. She mentioned the domes on top of the house and the fireplace and apse on the rear wall.
The German nun told the story of how Mother Mary and John the Apostle came to Ephesus where St. John built her a house. When Mary died at the age of 64 she was buried in a cave near her house and when the tomb was opened it was found empty. After this miracle the House of Mother Mary was converted to a small chapel.
The nun told her visions to a man named Brentano who wrote them in a book. A French clergyman named Gouyet read the book and came to Ephesus where he found a house matching the nun’s descriptions. The clergyman sent word to Rome. On June 27, 1891 two Lazarist priests and two Catholic found the small stone house among ruins with a statue of Mother Mary.
The House of Mother Mary has been a Catholic pilgrimage site since 1896 when the first Pilgrimage was made. Popes such as Paul VI and John Paul II visited the House of Mother Mary, and Pope Benedict XVI held mass there on November 29, 2006. The House of Mother Mary is a sacred site for both Christians and Muslims. Lazarist Fathers hold a mass at the house every day.
The spring flowing nearby the House of Mother Mary is believed to have healing properties. Miracles have been reported there and in the house are crutches and canes said to have been left by the healed. A liturgical ceremony is carried out by Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim clergymen every year on August 15 commemorate the Assumption of Mary.