Descenting from the hill of Acropolis in Ephesus and following the path which turns to the right ; one, in a few minutes, reaches the Double Churches of Ephesus ( so called Mary's Church ), the most important building of the Christian era in Ephesus.
At the beginning of the second century, whenEphesus was still under Roman rule, a very impressive building called " Museion " (where the word ' Museum ' comes from ) was built in the
middle of Ephesus. This building, which was 98 feet wide and 883 feet long, was either the meeting place of professors and doctors or some sort of a Basilica (a stock-exchange place ) .
The western part of this building was transformed into the first Christian Basilica and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. When the basilica, which was supported by high columns and adorned part of the Museion was turned into a domed church. It is for this reason that these ruins are called as the Double Churches.
In the northern part of the courtyard of the basilica, there is an octagonal and domed baptismal section which is believed to have been built together with the Church of the Virgin Mary.
In the early period of Christianity, pagan people willing to accept the new faith used to gather in the vestibule of this section and, turning towards the west, shouted three times " I leave you, O Devil ! ". Then they would go into another room to undress and anoint themselves with " krisma ", a sacred and blessed oil. Having done this, they entered the baptismal room properly where there was a pool. A priest would ask them whether they believed in the Trinity or not. When the new convert affirmed his belief in this doctrine, he would be dipped into the pool once. He would then be wrapped in a white cloth symbolizing purity and then he would be taken to the church.
The baptismal section of the Double Churches was a fine building adorned with many works of art. While complete immersion was the rule fot the baptism of pagan converts, merely sprinkling water over the children of Christian parents was regarded as sufficient.
The Ecumentical Council of 431, attended by 200 bishops met there in Ephesus and proclaimed the three dogmas of Catholicism :
1) Christ's personality is one and divine.
2) The Virgin Mary is the Mother of Christ.
3) During the execution of his religious duties the Roman Pontiff acts with a high and divine authority.
It is on account of this council that Ephesus will shine forever as a bright star in the history of Catholicism.