The Basilica of St. John the Apostle

On a hilltop near the excavated ruins of Ephesus are another set of ruins—a church built in the 500s by Emperor Justinian to commemorate the grave of St. John the Apostle. Our earlier Christian historians say that John left Jerusalem before the city was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. He came to Ephesus and served here as leader of the church (except for a brief exile on the island of Patmos) until his death sometime near AD 100. He was the last surviving apostle, and his grave was venerated by early Christians. It would seem reasonable to assume that somewhere beneath this tomb or this church, the body of John the Apostle really does abide perhaps under this very gravestone, awaiting the promised resurrection.

As I toured this 6th-century church, I found something else very interesting – an ancient baptistery, or “baptisterium,” as our guide called it.