The Fate of the Cult of Artemis


Just as many of the other ancient religious of the time, The Cult of Artemis was lost with time. For a long time, the cult held precedence within the city of Ephisos. When St. Paul visited Ephesos to preach Christianity in the first century AD, he was confronted by the Artemis' cult who had no plans to abandon their goddess or their temple.(2) The merchants in the temple were making a large profit off the coming of pilgrims to the city, and the people worshipped Artemis as their divine protector. The fierce loyalty of the citizens forced him from the city and, along with the work of the Romans, kept Christianity in hiding among the city inhabitants. The temple was again destroyed by the Goths in 262 AD, and the Ephesians vowed to rebuild, although it would never return to its former glory. By the fourth century AD, however, most Ephesians had converted to Christianity, since it had become the major religion of Rome and the temple lost its religious as well as physical glamor. The last strand of the cult was cut when the Temple of Artemis was torn down by St. John Chrysostom in 401 AD. Ephesos was later deserted, and was not returned to until the nineteenth century when it was excavated.(2)

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