Saint Simeon is a very important monastic in the Syriac tradition. He also inspired a new way of Monasticism. There are a number of Maronite Churches and convents named after him including in Berkasha in Lebanon. He was a monk who lived in Syria from about 390-459. He was born in the Cappadocian village of Sisan. He joined the Monastery at a young age and lived a strict life of fasting and prayer and asceticism. The abbot asked for his withdrawal from the monastery as he feared the other monks would imitate his strict life. Simon left to live alone in the mountains in solitude. This was not uncommon in Syriac Monasticism.
He attracted crowds, who came to receive healing and learn more about the Christian faith.
Seeking to remain in solitude and to escape the crowds and get closer to God, Simeon went up to a pillar to live a life devoted to prayer and fasting. Monks who lived on pillars, remained standing for hours in prayer. Simeon spent time writing letters to instruct the disciples of the faith, and also spent some time teaching those who came to visit him.
Simeon spent 37 years on the pillar and died 2 September 459 and was buried near the pillar.
Saint Simeon left a great legacy inspiring many others to live on pillars. They were called Stylites. He also inspired the many people that came to visit him to learn about the faith. He baptised many into the faith and promoted prayer and fasting.
We ask for the intercession of Saint Simeon, the Stylite, to inspire us to find new ways to take time out from the world and get closer to God. May his example strengthen us in our fasting and prayer. We pray that through our actions we bring more people to our faith.
Sadly, last year the pillar and monastery where it is believed St Simeon lived was damaged during the Syrian conflict. We continue to pray for the region, which was the cradle of Christianity and the cradle of Maronites. St Simeon pray for us.
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