Selcuk, a town in western Turkey where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days, plan to erect a giant statue dedicated to her in the fashion of the notable statue in Brazil depicting her son.

The Virgin Mary House, a stone structure on the outskirts of Bulbul Mountain, is a popular spot among Christian pilgrims since its discovery in the 19th century. Looking to boost faith tourism revenues, Selcuk Mayor, Zeynel Bakici said they would erect “a splendid statue” depicting the sacred figure.

He also announced they were seeking to host an international faith tourism event next year. He continued by saying that the “Virgin Mary House receives 2.5 million visitors every year” referring to the town where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to three children in 1917, making it a revered pilgrimage site.

The mayor said although they had not made up their minds on the size of the statue, “it would be as splendid as Christ the Redeemer in Brazil or the Statue of Liberty in the United States.” Bakici said the municipality was in talks with investors to fund the construction and the location was not decided upon yet though it is thought that it will be erected high on the outskirts of Bulbul Mountain to make it more visible to visitors.

The Virgin Mary House was discovered after a series of visions by 19th century nun Anne Catherine Emmerich led priests to Ephesus, an ancient settlement in Selcuk. The house was built by the apostle John for Mary, according to Emmerich who was later beatified by the Vatican. The Catholic faithful believes she underwent her Assumption -her death – in the house, which dates back to the Apostolic Age. Though the Vatican never openly acknowledged the place as the dwelling of the Virgin Mary, it was visited by three pontiffs in the 20th century and recently by former Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

Source:  Daily Sabah

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