Icon: Seven Sleepers
|Name:||Icon: Seven Sleepers||Size:||13,3 x 11,2 cm|
The icon depicts seven youths in rich tunics asleep in a cave.
The subject of the icon is taken from the Menologium describing the life of seven youths of noble families, who refused to repudiate Christian Faith when persecuted by Emperor Decius. Their names were: Maximillian, Jamlichos, Martin, John,Dyonisius, Exakostodianos and Antonius. They distributed their fortune to the poor and left Ehesus to live in a cave at Mount Anchilos. Decius ordered his soldiers to follow them and to fill up the entrance of their cave with a huge stone confining the youthts to death. Many years passed, the Christain Faith was officially recognised, and the youthts were found in their cave alive and peacefully asleep. The legend adds that, informed of the event, the king, the bishop and the prefect came to Mt Anchillos to investigate the miracle. The icon depicts this precise moment.
It is interesting to note that the story is also told in the Qur’an (Surah 18, verse 9-26). The Quranic rendering of this story doesn’t state exactly the number of sleepers. Unlike the Christian story, the Islamic version includes mention of a dog who accompanied the youths into the cave, and was also asleep.
A popular superstition ascibes the icon of the Seven Sleepers the power to cure insomnia.
Interesting link about the subject: https://russianicons.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/saints-who-never-were-the-seven-sleepers-of-ephesus/