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Simeon the Stylite (Athos) Icon - S346

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The Elder Simeon the Stylite was born in Cappadocia in the lat 4th century. The son of Christian parents, he was obedient and a dedicated worker. While still a boy, he was struck by the singing of the Beatitudes in church. With the help of a trusted spiritual elder, he resolved to enter the service of God in the monastic life.

He become a monk at age 18 and zealously undertook a strict ascetic life, beyond the ability of the brethren of the monastery. He withdrew from the monastery to live in a cave near Galanissa. There he was perfected, and he reached the heights of spiritual life. He stood in prayer for weeks without sitting, took neither food nor water, and refused to relax in his prayer and worship. He endured temptations, but was victorious over them through the power of the Lord, Who helped him.

His feats attracted local people who sought healing and instruction. But his only love was prayer, and to isolate himself, he began to stand on a tall pillar. From this, he became known as "the Stylite." Over time he made the pillar taller; at the end of his life it was 80 feet tall. In all, he spent 47 years on the pillar. Many pagans were struck by his efforts and were baptized.

Saint Simeon reposed in prayer on September 2, 459. His feast is celebrated on September 1 by the Orthodox Church, and on January 5 by Western Christians.

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