17 August 2020 (MIA)
Macedonian Orthodox Church Calendar
The Seven Youths of Ephesus
These saints lived in the third century. Saint Maximilian was the son of the Ephesian city governor; the remaining six youths were the sons of other notable Ephesian citizens. The youths were friends from childhood, and all were in military service. When the Emperor Decius (249-251) arrived in Ephesus, he commanded all the citizens to appear for the offering of sacrifice to the pagan deities; but torments and the death penalty awaited the recalcitrant. Upon denunciation by those who sought the Emperor’s favor, the seven Ephesian youths were also called to account. While standing before the Emperor, the holy youths confessed their faith in Christ. Immediately, their military insignia – their military belts – were taken from them. However, Decius set them free, hoping that they would change their minds while he was on a campaign. The youths left the city and hid in a cave on Mount Ochlon. The Emperor, having learned where the youths were hiding, ordered that the entrance to the cave be blocked up with stones so that the youths would die therein from hunger and thirst. But the Lord brought upon the youths a miraculous sleep, which lasted nearly two centuries. By that time, the persecutions against the Christians had ceased, although under the holy, right-believing Theodosius the Younger (408-450), heretics appeared, who rejected the resurrection of the dead at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them said: “How can there be a resurrection of the dead, when there will be neither body nor soul, since they will be annihilated?” Others asserted: “Only souls will have a recompense, since it is impossible for bodies to rise and come to life after a thousand years, when even dust from them does not remain. It was then that the Lord revealed the mystery of the awaited resurrection of the dead and the future life through His seven youths. The owner of the parcel of land on which Mount Ochlon was situated began a stone building, and the workers took the entrance to the cave to pieces. The Lord revived the youths, and they awoke literally from ordinary sleep, not suspecting that nearly two hundred years had passed. Their bodies and clothes were completely incorrupt. A week later the holy youths, before everyone’s eyes, laid their heads on the ground and again fell asleep, this time until the general resurrection.
Educated in Paris and Bologna. Doctor of Sacred Studies. Priest. Worked to reform convents in his native Poland. While in Rome, he witnessed a miracle performed by Saint Dominic, and became a Dominican. Brought the Dominican Order to Poland, then evangelized throughout Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Russia, Turkey, and Greece. During an attack on a monastery, Hyacinth managed to save a crucifix and statue of Mary, though the statue weighed far more than he could normally have lifted; the saint is usually shown holding these two items. Born in 1185 at Silesia. Died in 1257.