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The Seven Sleepers of Ephĕsus

Seven Christians of Ephesus who, according to the story related by Gregory of Tours (Mirac. Lib. ch. 92), fled to a cave at the time of the persecution under the emperor Decius in the third century, and there fell into a sleep that lasted for nearly two hundred years. Returning to the city, they experienced the surprise that Rip Van Winkle felt on his famous return, and at last discovered the truth regarding their sleep. Having had an interview with the emperor and convinced him of the life beyond the grave, they sank into a second sleep that is to last until the Resurrection. Their names as usually given are Maximianus, Malchus, Martinianus, Dionysius, Johannes, Serapion, and Constantius. Gregory states that the story is of Syrian origin. The Seven are commemorated by the Roman Catholic Church on June 27th. See Koch, Die Siebenschläfer-Legende (Leipzig, 1882).

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