Monday, 14 August 2017

sunday drive: die siebenschläfer

For a few weeks now there’s been a detour due to major roads construction on the way from home to my work-week apartment that necessitates that one drive straight up a mountain range to get to the Autobahn, and there’s been some new vistas to enjoy despite the dodgy weather. I made it a point to visit a little wayside, hilltop chapel near Ebersburg dedicated to the Seven Sleepers.
Click on the images to enlarge them.  Both Islamic and Christian traditions share the story of seven young men who flee persecution in Ephesus around the year 250 AD by hiding in a cave to emerge from a long slumber three centuries later, at a point in history when the Roman Empire had a more favourable view of Abrahamic religions.
Indeed under Emperor Decius, such religious practises were outlawed as antisocial and subversive but the Empire turned to adopting Christianity as a state religion.  One story names the youths as Achilledes, Diomedes, Stephanus, Eugenius, Probatius, Sabbatius and Quiriacus plus their loyal dog who stands watch the whole time.  According to other accounts, the seven are still sleeping and there is also a bit of conflation and cross-over with stories of Joseph of Arimathea as the keeper of the Holy Grail, identifying the Chalice Well in Glastonbury as the cave of the Seven Sleepers.