The Armenian Church commemorates Theodosius I, the Roman Emperor (379 to 395) who put an end to the last of paganism and the Arian heresy in the empire (The doctrine denying the true divinity of Christ, named after the Alexandrian priest Arius c. 250–c. 336). He was recognised as a “just and mighty Christian emperor” and was called “the Great.” During his reign, he devoted considerable time and energy to the establishment of the universal and orthodox faith and deemed that the unlawful meetings of the heretics were not to be called churches.
He is also remembered for his pious behaviour. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, effectively excommunicated the Emperor, pending a public statement of repentance, as punishment for the massacre he had ordered in Thessalonica. Many scholars believe that the massacre was a result of the soldiers’ misinterpreting the Emperor’s orders. King Theodosius repented for eight months until he was able to walk into the church, thus taking part in the holy liturgy.
The legend of the Seven Children of Ephesus dates back to the 3rd century A.D, during the rule of Emperor Decius, who persecuted Christians. Seven youths, all children of notable men, secretly got baptised and were named Maximian, Marcian, Jamblichus, Dionysius, Constantine, Antonius and John. When they were exposed as Christians, they fled Ephesus in 250AD and hid in a cave outside the city walls and fell asleep for a century and a half. An earthquake opened the cave and awakened them in 389AD during the reign of Theodosius. When people became aware of that divine miracle, the king and the residents of Ephesus met the persecuted Christians with great respect and honour. The seven young men returned to the cave, where they passed away and were entombed, with the site becoming a shrine.