16-Aug-2000 -- ZENIT News Agency
MUSLIMS PRAY TO MARY IN EPHESUS SHRINE
EPHESUS, (ZENIT.ORG) - The feast of the Assumption, which
for centuries has been celebrated with great solemnity in Ephesus, the shrine
next to the house in which, according to one branch of tradition, Mary spent
the last years of her life, has taken on special importance during this
The Church In Ephesus has been declared a Jubilee Church by
the Turkish Episcopal Conference. More than 2,000 people attended Mass
there today, celebrated by Archbishop Luigi Conti, Apostolic Nuncio in Turkey.
Among the faithful were pilgrims from the United States, France and Italy.
A liturgy of the Word was also celebrated, under the
direction of diocesan Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini, during which the first
fruits of the harvest were blessed. It is interesting to note that
Turkish Muslims, who are a majority in the country, attach great importance to
this blessing. Consequently, thousands of them went up to Meryem Ana to
pray to the Virgin, for whom they have a special devotion.
The Qu'ran mentions Mary 44 times in delicate poetic terms.
The Ephesus shrine is one of the few where Muslims and Christians pray
together daily. Devotees arrive from all over the world, numbering over
one million annually.