Saints and Their Symbols – Sleepers of Ephesus


A.D. 250, June 27, were seven young men, named Maximian, Malchus, Marcian, Dionysius, Serapion, John, and Constantine, who in the persecution under Decius fled for refuge to a cave in mount Caelian. There they fell asleep for 196 years, without knowing it was more than one night. When they awoke, one of them in fear and trembling ventured into the city to buy food, but was struck with astonishment to find everything changed, and all the people Christian. His strange behaviour aroused suspicion, and he was brought before the bishop, who by questioning him elicited the whole history of the miracle. Now at this time a heresy prevailed denying the resurrection of the dead, and when the Emperor Theodosius with the bishop and many others went to the cave to behold the sleepers, one of them, by the inspiration of God, declared that they had been raised before the day of judgment, that all might henceforward trust in the resurrection of the dead. And then they once more lay down, and their spirits peacefully departed to God.

MLA Citation

  • E A Greene. “Saint Alexander”. Saints and Their Symbols, 1909. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 July 2014. Web. 14 May 2021. <>