August 4, 2012

Two Chapels to the Seven Sleepers in Santorini

On the beautiful and picturesque island of Santorini, in the town of Oia, there exists two chapels dedicated to the Holy Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.

One chapel can be found in a cave of the beach Mouzakia near the port of Armeni in a caldera which is only accessible by boat. Essentially it is a very small chapel and it is one of the oldest in Oia, having been established over 200 years ago. It is not by coincidence that this chapel is dedicated to the Seven Youth, since the cave in which it was built reminded believers of the Holy Seven Children of Ephesus. Here is celebrated one of the biggest feasts of Oia on the feastday of the Saints on August 4th, which commemorates their repose. On this day the faithful arrive at the chapel with a flag-bearing boat, and because of the small space of land many remain on their boats during the Divine Liturgy, and are even served the food of the feast by another boat onto their boats. In the old days the faithful kept vigil near the cave on the feast. Till this day fisherman stop at this chapel and light a candle to the Holy Seven Sleepers, and cense the icon of the Saints with reverence. The chapel is maintained by the family of Michael Balopita.

The second chapel is found within the town of Oia and celebrates its feast day on October 22, which commemorates the awakening of the Saints from their long sleep. This chapel was built by Kadio Sigala and is maintained by her family.