Church of the Seven Holy Young Men
The small chapel devoted to the Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus dates back over 200 years and it is one of the oldest on the island. The place where it is hidden, in a rough coastal cave in the Bay of Mouzakia, next to the bay of Armeni, symbolizes the cave where the Holy Seven Youths had hidden in Ephesus to be saved from persecution against Christians.
Its festival takes place on August 4, a date honoring the Assumption of the Saints, and on that day, in one of Oia's biggest festivals, flagged boats approach the picturesque chapel. People come to the Church of the Seven Holy Young Men on boats, and because of the small space in church, some of them remain on them throughout the service and during the accompanying feast. In the old days, many of the island's residents went to the church from the previous night and spent the night on the sandy beach of the cave. There is plenty of fava served during the feast, prepared from the previous day.
It is worth mentioning that access to the place is possible only by sea since it is impossible to reach it from land due to the steep points of the caldera. The fishermen of the area when they pass from there they always stop to light the candles and to pray.
The story of the Holy Seven Young Men
According to legend, the Roman emperor Decius Trajan, after arrival to Ephesus (around 250 CE), ordered the inhabitants to abandon Christianity and begin to worship Roman gods and destroy all Christian temples. Seven young men from Ephesus (Maksymian, Malchus, Martynian, Dionysius, Jan, Serapion and Konstanty) opposed this and fled to a nearby cave. The emperor’s soldiers walled them up in this cave and sentenced them to starvation. The young men, however, fell into a sleep for 200 years and woke up when Christianity again became the dominant religion in the region.