The Cave Church of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus

Although the story of Ephesus’ Seven Sleepers is considered a myth, its popularity is likely rooted in some historical occurrence.

According to tradition, during the Christian persecutions under emperor Decius, seven young Christian men, with their dog, took refuge in an Ephesus cave and fell asleep. When they woke up they were hungry, and went down to town to buy bread. When the people saw their old clothes and coins, they questioned the men and discovered that they had been sleeping in a local cave for around 200 years.

The cave is located on the east side of Mount Pion, which was initially a cemetery, and a church was built over the site. It is believed that Mary Magdalene was buried there. Ephesus’ Cave Church of the Seven Sleepers became a popular place for Christian pilgrims in the early church and can be visited today.