Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Baptistery of the Basilica of Saint John in Ephesus, Turkey

Wednesday morning greetings from Dallas, Texas and the annual meeting of FDLC (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions).

I wanted to share two Turkey experiences with you, one today and one in the next few days. And, to no one's surprise, they have to do with baptisteries and baptism fonts.

One of the final stops on the tour of Turkey was the ancient city of Ephesus. I visited the ruins of the Basilica of Saint John.




It is believed that John the Evangelist spent his final days here; his remains were buried here and a basilica was eventually built over the site of his grave. There was a model of the church, encased in plexiglass, that showed what the church looked like when it was built.




Here is the sign beneath the model, which gives a brief history of the site.



This was an enormous structure and included a large eight-sided baptistery. All of the ruins are exposed to the air and elements, which is unfortunate. Here is a photo of what remains of the font in the crumbling baptistery.


A closer photo of the pool; note the stairs going in and the stairs coming out.



I took a typical "Jerry" video of the baptism space.


video


It was pretty amazing to stand in this ancient place and to behold the final resting place of Saint John. I imagined those who would have been born anew in baptism in this massive space and felt connected to them in this sacrament, only a few miles away from where Saint Paul preached to the Ephesians.

Next up will be the baptistery at the Church of Mary in Ephesus. I hope these images help you in your understanding of the history and significance of the way baptism was celebrated in the early centuries of the Church.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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