Ashabul Kahfi cave

Turkey, Ephesus Cave, Cave of the sleepers

Its is narrated that, more than 1400 years ago, approximately in the year 250, under the reign of the Emperor Decius (249-251 A.C.) who established pagan laws of sacrifice to the emperor and the gods selected by him, went to Ephesus to corroborate that the Christians were fulfilling his demands, and then they were accomplished in front of him, however seven Christians refused.

Faced with this denial, Decius gave them time to reflect and to recant, otherwise they would be given a death sentence, but the seven Christians remained faithful to their decision, opting to use the time allotted to give their material possessions, keeping only a few coins and leave their lands to take refuge outside their city, they found a cave, the cave is located in Ephesus, Turkey on the slopes of Mount Pion, in which they were according to Gregorio de Tours: “to prepare for their death”, they prayed and calmed down, waiting to be found by the soldiers of Decius.

When they were searched and found inside the cave, they were found sleeping deeply, the emperor ordered that the cave were sealed with the men inside and they perished, once the cave was closed another Christian man, outside the cave, wrote the history and names of the seven, but these devotees instead of dying inside the cave remained asleep.

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After about 220 years they woke up when the cave was opened, a time when the empire was already Christian and was ruled by Theodosius II, the 7 men, unaware of this fact, decided to send one of the 7 to the city for food before surrendering to the hands of Decius, entering the city the man was surprised to notice the presence of crosses in temples, later he paid for the food with his coins form the time of Decius, the coins caused confusion to those who attended the Christian, and others who noticed the situation, so the bishop and the prefect were notified, they spoke with the seven men, and then notified the emperor Theodosius II.

After the death of the seven Christians, Theodosius II ordered that they were buried in an extravagant way, with precious stones, gold, and a church would be built in the cave, but through a dream the seven men only asked him to be buried in the soil of the cave.

Some details of the story vary depending on who is telling it, some are mentioned below:

  • The names of these Christian men according to Gregorio de Tours were: Aquilides, Diogeno, Estefano, Quiriac, Sambato, Diomedes y Porbato. According to Simeón were : Iámblico, Dionisio, Atonino, Martin, Maximiliano, Juan y Exacustodio.

Others said : Dinosio, Martin, Juan, Jamblichos, Antoninos, Exakostodianos y Maximillium.

  • The way the cave was opened.
  • The length of time these men slept, ranging from 175 to 309 years.
  • The exact date where the event occurred.
  • His death is said to have occurred years after awakening or occurred immediately after telling this story.
  • And even the number of Christians changes in some versions.
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This event is spoken of in other cultures, commenting on 3 caves:

  • The cave of Ephesus, Anatolia (Turkey), which Christians and Jews believed in.
  • The caves of Damascus, Syria.
  • Ar Raqim cave/ Ashabul Kahfi cave, Amman, Jordan, mentioned in the Quran.

Ashabul Kahfi cave

This event is mentioned in a sura by Allah Subhanallah Taala, in verses 9-26 in Surah Al-Kahf, the number of men is not specified and can be from 3 of 8 men and their dog, fleeing form tyranny and hostility to the Christianity of Daqyanus or Decius emperor of Rome, to hide in a Ashabul Kahfi cave where they slept 309 years.

As you can see, this story is told with different details depending on the culture and who tells it, however, in each version the miracle of the resurrection of the body is discussed.