|Greek name:||Εκκλησία Εφτά Παίδων|
The Church of the Seven Holy Young Men is a small chapel built into the coastal cave at the foot of the caldera, in Mouzaki Bay (Mouzaki Bay, Greek Όρμος Mουζάκι / Órmos Mouzáki), near Armeni Bay, at the height of the town of Finikia. It can only be reached by boat.
The church is one of the oldest on the island. It is believed that it was built over 200 years ago.
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.
The place where the church is located symbolizes the cave where the Holy Seven Young Men hid in Ephesus. Every year, on August 4, the residents of Oia celebrate the festival commemorating this event. They 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.
The chapel is currently maintained by the family of Michael Bolopita.
Location of Church of Seven Children in Oia on the map: