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Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor 3 kilometers from the town of Selçuk, near Izmir Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire aside from Rome. Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it the second largest city in the world. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis, completed around 550 BC, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple was destroyed in 401 AD by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom. Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. The town was again partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Menderes River (Turkish: Küçük Menderes).Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John may have been written here. The house of the Virgin Mary lies about 7 kilometers or 4 miles from Selçuk and is believed to have been the last home of Mary the mother of Jesus. It is a popular place of pilgrimage which has been visited by three recent popes. The Church of Mary close to the harbor of Ephesus was the setting for the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, which resulted in the condemnation of Nestorius. A Second Council of Ephesus was held in 449, but its controversial acts were never approved by the Catholics. It came to be called the Robber Council of Ephesus or Robber Synod of Latrocinium by its opponents.
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