EPHESUS

I. Historical notes – II. Councils. I. Historical notes. Ephesus, a Lydian city at the mouth of the present-day Cayster river on the Aegean coast, recorded by all ancient geographers see Ptol., V, 2; Strab., XIV, 1, 20ff.; Plin., Nat. Hist. V, 29, 115, was of very ancient origin legendary foundation by Amazons. From the establishment of the province of Asia, Ephesus was its metropolis and seat of the governor: even after its division into seven lesser provinces under Diocletian, Ephesus remained capital of the most important, Asia proconsularis. A city teeming with productive activity and commercial traffic, religious life the local temple of Artemis was one of the wonders of the world and cultural life seat of the Mouseion, a sort of academy of medicine, as well as the famous library of Celsus, it was among the most flourishing centers of Christian propagation and one of the most important episcopal sees of the East. One of the best-known Pauline cities Acts 18 and 19, held to be the home of the aged St. John a church was erected on the supposed site of his tomb in the time of Justinian, it was one of the seven churches of the Apocalypse. Later traditions had it that the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene also died there; its people received a letter from Ignatius of Antioch, written at Smyrna while being taken prisoner to Rome. Much frequented by pilgrims, it was the burial place of the so-called seven sleepers, young men who according to legend went to sleep in a cave where they had sought refuge during Decius’s persecution and awoke two centuries later at the time of Theodosius II H. Leclerq: DACL 15, 1251- 1261. With the creation by Diocletian of the diocese of Asia, of which it was capital, it exercised ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the diocese’s 11 provinces, a jurisdiction recognized by the councils of Nicaea can. 6 and Constantinople can. 2 in 381, when it had 39 suffragans.

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