Symeon the Stylite

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
16th-century icon of Symeon the Stylite. At the base of the pillar is his mother's body. (Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland)

Symeon the Stylite or Simeon Stylites (c. 390 – 2 September 459) was a Syrian Christian ascetic, who achieved notability by living 37 years on a small platform on top of a pillar near Aleppo (in modern Syria). Several other stylites later followed his model (the Greek word style means "pillar"). Simeon is venerated as a saint by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Roman Catholic Church.

Quotes about Symeon the Stylite

Price, R. M. (1985). A History of the Monks of Syria by Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Cistercian Studies 88. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. As quoted in: Harmless, William (2004). Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-516222-6. 
  • More than all this I myself admire [Symeon's] endurance. Night and day he is standing within the view of all; for having removed the doors and demolished a sizeable part of the enclosing wall, he is exposed to all as a new and extraordinary spectacle—now standing for a long time, and now bending down repeatedly and offering worship to God. Many of those standing by count the number of these acts of worship. Once one of those with me counted 1,244 of them, before slackening and giving up count. In bending down he always makes his forehead touch his toes—for his stomach's receiving food once a week, and little of it, enables his back to bend easily. During the public festivals he displays another form of endurance: after the setting of the sun until it comes again to the eastern horizon, stretching out his hands to heaven he stands all night, neither beguiled by sleep nor overcome by exertion.
  • As his fame circulated everywhere, everyone hastened to him, not only the people of the neighborhood but also people many days' journey distant, some bringing the paralyzed in body, others requesting health for the sick, others asking to become fathers; and they begged to receive from him what they could not receive from nature. On receiving it and obtaining their requests, they returned with joy; and by proclaiming the benefits they had gained, they sent out many times more, asking for the same things. So with everyone arriving from every side and every road resembling a river, one can behold a sea of men standing together in that place, receiving rivers from every side. Not only do the inhabitants of our part of the world flock together, but also Ishmaelites, Persians, Armenians subject to them, Iberians, Homerites, and men even more distant than these; and there came many inhabitants of the extreme west, Spaniards, Britons, and the Gauls who live between them.
    • Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Historia religiosa 26.11 (p. 165)
  • For the Ishmaelites, who were enslaved in their many tens of thousands to the darkness of impiety, have been illuminated by his standing on the pillar. For this dazzling lamp, as if placed on a lampstand, has sent out rays in all directions, like the sun. The Ishmaelites, arriving in companies, two or three hundred at the same time, sometimes even a thousand, disown with shouts their ancestral imposture; and smashing in front of this great luminary the idols they had venerated and renouncing the orgies of Aphrodite—it was this demon whose worship they had adopted originally—they receive the benefit of the divine mysteries, accepting laws from this sacred tongue and bidding farewell to their ancestral customs, as they disown the eating of wild asses and camels.
    I myself was an eyewitness of this, and I have heard them disowning their ancestral impiety and assenting to the teaching of the Gospel. And I once underwent great danger: he told them to come up and receive from me the priestly blessing, saying they would reap the greatest profit therefrom. But they rushed up in a somewhat barbarous manner, and some pulled at me from in front, some from behind, others from the sides, while those further back trod on the others and stretched out their hands, and some pulled at my beard and others grabbed at my clothing. I would have been suffocated by their too ardent approach, if he had not used a shout to disperse them.
    • Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Historia religiosa 26.13–14 (pp. 166–167)
Wikipedia has an article about: