Marys House: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Discovery of the House Where the Virgin Mary Lived and Died

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9780870612275: Marys House: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Discovery of the House Where the Virgin Mary Lived and Died
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In the years immediately following the Crucifixion, the little sect of troublemakers known as Christians enjoyed a period of relative tolerance in Jerusalem. But as their numbers and influence expanded, the patience of the Jewish authorities shrank until, in 37 AD, it disappeared altogether. That year saw the martyrdom death of St Stephen, and with it the beginning of active persecution of Jerusalem's Christian community. Over the next five years the persecution became more intense, reaching its climax when Herod Agrippa I ascended the throne in 42 AD and ordered the imprisonment of St Peter and the beheading of St James, the brother of St John.

By then, however, most of the Christians, including St John and the Virgin Mary, had fled. The majority escaped into Judea and Samaria, but those who like St John were charged with spreading the message of Jesus went much further afield. In St John's case, he went to Ephesus and, true to his commitment to the dying Jesus, took Mary with him - and Mary Magdalene, and several others of the faithful.

One can scarcely imagine the hardships that must have accompanied a journey of that length, in those conditions, over that terrain. Mary especially must have suffered during their long flight out of the Holy Land; she would have been in her sixties by this time. Nor can one imagine the reaction of this little group of refugees when they first beheld the splendour of Ephesus. Here was the greatest city of the East, the financial centre of the Roman Empire, home of the world's first bank, a city of vast wealth and a quarter of a million citizens. The effect must have been overwhelming

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Carroll, Donald
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