By Heather Abraham….
Unlike the Marian shrines of Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe and Knock, which are held to be the locations of apparitions of Mary, Our Lady of Ephesus is a shrine connected to Mary’s physical historical presence. Pilgrims who journey to Nightingale Mountain to visit the shrine believe it to be the site of her last earthly residence, the place of her death, and, for some, the location from which she was bodily assumed into heaven.
Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University…..
After Christmas and Easter, what’s the most important Christian holiday? It’s not really a very Protestant question—since you need saints and Mary, and the whole ritual calendar they entail, to pose it—and even in the Catholic or Orthodox Christian world it depends very much on where you put the question. In Greece the question has a pretty clear answer: it’s August 15, the feast day of the “All-Holy” (Panagia) Virgin Mary. And in Rome it’s equally clear: it was June 29, the Feast of Peter and Paul.
By Erik Eckholm, New York Times….
On Dec. 8, after a two-year investigation by theologians who found no evidence of fraud or heresy and a long history of shrine-related conversions, cures and other signs of divine intervention, Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay declared “with moral certainty” that Ms. Brise did indeed have encounters “of a supernatural character” that are “worthy of belief.”
A U.S. Catholic interview….
For the Spaniards, the most important value was salvation of the soul through individual character, both in making a name for oneself and in the hereafter. They understood their salvation came through the sacrifice, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Indians’ most important value was the salvation of the group and its wellbeing and preservation. Indian religion valued the individual only for his or her contribution to collective activities designed to preserve the cosmic order.
In this atmosphere of tension, it may be prudent to attempt to find common ground between these two clashing Abrahamic traditions. Christianity and Islam are in some ways, intimately connected; sharing many sacred stories, devotion to one god, ethical standards, and scriptural figures. Illuminating commonalities between these two mega religions, whose adherents make up almost fifty percent of the world’s population, may be the first step in building an understanding and hopefully, a bridge between the two.
While most Muslim Turks labored to complete their first week of Ramadan during a record breaking heat wave, two branches of Christianity celebrated the August 15th Feast of the Assumption at prominent Christian pilgrimage sites. In Western Turkey, Capuchin Catholic Priests celebrated the Feast of the Assumption at the Our Lady of Ephesus Shrine (Meryem Ana) and in the Black Sea region, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of some 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, presided over the Assumption Mass at Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, Turkey.
Mary has become Christianity’s most versatile, utilized, and venerated figure. Images of Mary are often depicted on t-shirts, purses, murals, wallets, yard art, jewelry, graffiti, and on the bodies of her devoted followers. Tattoo images of Mary range from small devotionals to enormous masterpieces— covering an entire human back.