Saints

ST. THEODOSIUS THE KING AND THE HOLY CHILDREN OF EPHESUS

On Thursday, January 20, the Armenian Church commemorates Theodosius, the Roman Emperor who put an end to the last of paganism and the Arian heresy in the empire during his reign in the fourth century. He was recognized as a “just and mighty Christian emperor,” and was called “the Great.” He devoted considerable time and energy to the establishment of the universal and orthodox faith. He is also remembered for his pious behavior. When Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, forbade his entry into the cathedral as punishment for the massacre he had ordered in Thessalonica, the king obeyed and only after repenting for eight months he walked into the church, taking part in the holy liturgy.

The legend of the Seven Children of Ephesus dates back to the 3 rd century A.D. during the rule of Emperor Decius, who persecuted Christians. Seven youths, all children of notable men, secretly got baptized and were named Maximian, Marcian, Jamblichus, Dionysius, Constantine, Antonius, and John. When they were exposed as Christians, they fled Ephesus in 250 and hid in a cave outside the city walls and fell asleep for a century and a half. An earthquake opened the cave and awakened them in 389 during the reign of Theodosius. When people became aware of that divine miracle, the king and the residents of Ephesus met the persecuted Christians with great respect and honor. The seven young men returned to the cave, where they passed away and were entombed, with the site becoming a shrine.

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