Undoubtedly one of the most influential contributors to early Christianity, and the ultimate traveller, carrying the word of Christianity to lands such as Cyprus, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), mainland Greece, Crete and Rome, St Paul was born to a Jewish family in Tarsus in what is now modern-day Eastern Turkey.
St Paul visited Ephesus twice, and on the second visit stayed for at least two years in Ephesus as part of his missionary work in Asia Minor. It was from Ephesus that Paul wrote his famous First Letter to the Corinthians. While in Ephesus Paul worked with new converts to Christianity and worked hard to get more.
Eventually Paul’s preaching caused trouble. The local silversmiths made their living selling effigies of the Anatolian fertility goddess Artemis (Cybele/Diana) to pilgrims and tourists coming to visit the gigantic marble Temple of Artemis. The more the Ephesians listened to Paul, the less they believed in Artemis—and so the sale of effigies rapidly decreased. Eventually the silversmiths started a riot against Paul which resulted in dramatic scenes in the Great Theatre
As you walk the streets of Ephesus, it is easy to imagine Paul walking them too, thinking about what he might write in his letters, and appearing in the theatre trying to defend himself against the silversmiths.
At some point during his time in Ephesus Paul was imprisoned, possibly in a cave which was discovered in 1906 and contains some frescoes of St Paul, the Virgin Mary and Thecla, who was a female disciple who accompanied him on some of his journeys. It is unclear what charges he was arrested for. It appears that at some point the cave was also used as a place of worship. Unfortunately, the grotto is not generally open to the public, although at times it is available to visit by special arrangement.