Saturday, September 6, 2014

Day 6: A visit to the Virgin Mary's House

What a beautiful morning we had!  We started the day docking in the Turkish port city of Kusadasi.  From there we traveled by bus to Ephesus, where St. John the Evangelist took Mary after Jesus' crucifixion.  We entered the small brick home that was awe-inspiring to know that Mary and some of the Disciples had been in those rooms.  After visiting the home, Fr. Anthony concelebrated Mass with the Bishop of Corpus Christi and two other priests from the diocese. It was a beautiful Mass as we sat right next to Mary's home and reflected on some of Jesus' last words from the cross; those of a Son taking care of his Mother and asking John to care for her.

Our next stop was the ancient ruins of Ephesus, a vast city of ruins that were amazing.  This site dwarfed any other set of ruins we've seen.  We walked the marble roads rutted by chariots, where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians and where he was arrested and cast out of the city.  We finished out the morning with a visit to a Turkish rug factory and witnessed the artists at work.  Many of the rugs they hand weave take over a year to complete, with some rugs having as many as 5 million hand-tied knots.  What beautiful artistry!

After getting underway once again, we docked in the Grecian port city of Patmos.  From here we took a bus to visit the Cave of the Apocalypse, the cave where St. John captured his visions in writing that became the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelations.  Again, what an experience to see first hand where the Word of God was first shared with us.  To finish out the afternoon, we visited the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, a breathtaking site set high upon a hill that now houses early manuscripts of Mark and other Disciples' writings dating back into the 5th Century and many other beautiful icons and artifacts.

I'll post pictures of these last few days soon--wifi is limited and slow on the ship.

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