The Seven Saints

August 26,2021

The seven young men were first in the army Emperor Decius, and he appointed them to offices in his government.  When he established the worship of idols, certain men made accusations against these saints to him, and he seized them and shut them up in prison.  But as he wanted to go to another place he released them from their bonds and sent them away until he returned, thinking within himself that they would turn from their good counsel.

When the emperor had gone out of the city, these saints refused to do the work of the soldiers and would not worship unclean idols, and then they went to a cave in the mountain, and closed up the mouth thereof and went to sleep inside it.  They had among them silver moneys on which was stamped the name of the Emperor Decius.  One after another of them used to go into the city every day in the early morning, and buy food for them.  One day one of them heard a rumor of the coming of the Emperor Decius; and when the news reached them that the Emperor Decius had come to the city of Ephesus, they closed the doors of the cave on themselves, and went to sleep.

A certain believing soldier knew the place where they were, and he used to wait for them to come into the city, but after the arrival of the emperor they did not come.  The soldier rose up and departed and came to that cave, and he found that they had shut the doors of the cave from the inside, and he thought that they were dead.  He took a tablet of brass, and wrote upon it the story of their strife, and of what had happened to them, and he laid that tablet in a cavity in the wall of the cave.  And sorrow laid hold upon the saints, and they slept by the commandment of God for three hundred and seventy-two years.

Decius died, and many other emperors reigned after him, and at length came the days of the Emperor Theodosius.  It came to pass in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, that certain men discussed among themselves the words of those who said, “There is no resurrection of the dead,” and many people followed them.  God wished to reveal the truth, and to make men to be certain that the resurrection of the dead would assuredly take place, and He woke up those seven holy young men. They gave to one of their number some of the moneys, which they had, and they commanded him to go and buy them food to eat, and he heard [from] them the story of the wicked Emperor Decius.

When he came into the city, the manner thereof appeared to him to be changed, and he saw crosses on the gates of the city and on the walls thereof, and he heard the people taking oaths in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And he asked one of them, saying, “Is not this the city of Ephesus?”  The man answered and said unto him, “Yea.”  he took out the silver moneys which he had and gave to a certain merchant in the market, in order to buy from him food to eat; and when the merchant saw the silver money, he did not find it to be the silver money with which one could buy in those days; for he found the name of Decius, the wicked emperor, stamped upon it.  The merchant seized him and bound him, and he said unto him, “You art a seeker after ancient treasure, and behold this silver money which is on thee is a proof of it.”

Whilst they were quarrelling together, many men gathered round about them, and they asked him, saying, “Whence come thou?”  He answered and said unto them, “I belong to this city.”  And they said unto him, “Whom dost thou know among the men of this city?”   He said to them, “So and so.”  of those men whom he said he knew, there was not one of them left alive; and they dragged him away, and were wroth with him.  The story of the young man was heard by the bishop, Abba Theodore, and by the Emperor Theodosius, who had that man of the seven brought before him.  The emperor and the bishop asked him, saying, “Tell us what hath happened unto thee, and from what country thou comes”   he answered and said unto them, “We were seven men, and we belonged to the army of the wicked Emperor Decius.

When he departed to another place we went out of the city of Ephesus, and came into a cave, and we closed up the mouth of the cave.  We lay down and have slept there until now.  Behold my six companions are lying in the cave.”  The emperor and the bishop went forth, and all the people with them, and they came to the cave, and they found the saints lying there, and the written and engraved tablet, in the cave.  They read the tablet, on which it was said that it had been engraved in the days of the wicked Decius, that is to say, three hundred and seventy-two years before.  When the emperor, the bishop, and all the people saw this, they marveled exceedingly, and they glorified God greatly; those who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead believed forthwith when they saw this miracle.  When the seven young men had been questioned, and they had made known everything, which had happened to them, they lay down again, and delivered up their souls into the hand of God.  And the emperor made gold coffins for them, and he wrapped them in silk cloths and laid them in the gold coffins, and signs and wonders took place through their bodies.  Now their names were these: Maximanus, Tamukigros, Mardimus, John, Constantine, Antonius, and Dionysius.

Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints;Amen.

Source: The Ethiopian Synaxarium page 709-710