The Ephesus Foundation Inc. USA

The Tomb of St. Luke

This monument is located East of the State Agora and was first excavated in 1865 by J. T. Wood. Apart from a short field campaign in 1908, work on the monument was not re-established until 1997 by the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the Austrian Academy of Science. At present a final publication is in preparation on the results of that work. Originally built as a fountain in the 2nd century A.D., the building was adapted to a church in Byzantine times (5th-6th century A.D.). After destruction in the 7th century, the church and a cemetery located nearby were kept in use until the Medieval Period. The latest finds at this site date into the 12th-14th centuries. The Byzantine church was built on a high podium on top of a crypt. Polychrome frescoes, mosaic floors and marble decoration indicate the originally rich adornment of the monument. The graves in and around the crypt support the hypothesis of this being a memorial church to house the relics of a famous saint. Due to the fact that the southern entrance into the crypt was flanked by two pilasters showing oxen and crosses, the building was originally interpreted as the grave of St. Luke, as the bull has traditionally been used as the symbol of St. Luke.

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  • The “Bull Column” which gave rise to speculation that the church was dedicated to St. Luke, whose traditional symbol is the bull.
  • Father Jean Heroger with the newly discovered “Bull Column” in the 1890’s.
  • Another of the columns of the church, marked with a Cross but no other symbol.
  • The new chain-link fence funded by The Ephesus Foundation, Inc. (2011).
  • Foundation president, Bill Quatman, inspects the new fence.
  • Ruins of the once-great church, awaiting restoration.
  • Ruins of the once-great church, awaiting restoration.
  • Ruins of the once-great church, awaiting restoration.
  • Ruins of the once-great church, awaiting restoration.
  • Entry to the Tomb of St. Luke in Ephesus.
  • Aerial view of the circular church.
  • Likely re-construction of the original church (courtesy of The Austrian Archaeological Institute).
  • Early (unlikely) re-construction drawing of the original church, showing dome-shaped roof (circa early 1900’s).