Tomb of the Seven Sleepers

I came across an extremely interesting account while researching the city of Ephesus last week. The legend goes like this...

Around 250AD, when Christians were being fiercely persecuted, seven young men refusing to recant their faith, gave their worldly goods to the poor and retreated to a mountain cave to pray (and await capture, followed by execution I presume), where they fell asleep. The emperor, seeing that their attitude towards Christ had not improved, ordered the mouth of the cave to be sealed, and effectively sealed their fate.

Two centuries passed and the landowner decided to re-open the cave, thinking to use it as a cattle pen. He did so, and to his astonishment, found seven men sleeping inside. They awoke and believed they had only slept one day. They wandered into the city of Ephesus, and were utterly bewildered at the many churches and the freedom of worship for Christians. The Sleepers later died naturally (and this time permanently) and were buried in the cave in which they had slept.

The 'Cave of the Seven Sleepers' became a major place of pilgrimage from the 5th to 15th centuries, and as often happened with venerated sites, a church was built above the seven original tombs. The site was excavated in 1927, and brought to light many hundreds of graves which were dated to the 5th and 6th centuries. Inscriptions dedicated to the Seven Sleepers were found on the walls of the church and in the graves.

And so ends my history lesson for today.

The story reminds me of the Templar Knight in Indiana Jones 3. The Last Crusade was a fictional story... The Seven Sleepers possibly isn't. Although seemingly impossible, early Christian documents are strewn with this legend (a similar story even appears in the Quaran), and may I remind you, that stranger things than this have been known to have happened...

Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:50-53 Holy Bible (NLT)
Once again, the truth is quite possibly stranger than fiction.

The Seven Sleepers at Wikipedia here.

10 comments:

lesmondj said...

Awesome story...might have to include a sooped up version in my bedtime story repetoir. Nice one Mandrake.

sewfunky said...

interesting to my tired old brain...

Rachel Kate said...

lovin this story! thanks symz

Rhys said...

How long defore a movie is done on it, they've just about covered everything else.

Rachel Kate said...

maybe you should write the script rhys and send it in to disney...

PaisleyJade said...

Reminds me a bit of a part in "The Voice" by Bill Myers... your little links thingy is very cool!

Jonathan said...

I love how you can relate just about anything to Indy!

Symon Burton said...

Thanks... I try my best!

jacksta said...

how cool is your "label" box. That thing is phat!

Jon Dylan said...

Wow, cool post!