Monday, January 5, 2009

Jan 5, Feast of St Simon Stylites

Saint Simon Stylites was a man who wanted to get away from it all....up, up, and away, actually. He lived as a monk at the end of the 4th century and engaged in penances so, um, disgusting, that the abbot of his monastery finally told him, "Man, why do you do these things!...Go somewhere else and die away from us!"
So Simon did just that. He went away into the desert and experimented with living in different uncomfortable situations until he finally decided to live alone on the top of a tower. The story goes that the tower was 60 feet high and his living area was a platform that was about 6 feet square.

His choosing to live in this manner was an extreme form of penance that could hardly be found today, but St Simon started a trend among hermits of that time who thought living on the top of a tower could literally bring them closer to God!

St Simon became famous for his preaching, skills at mediation, and gift of healing. He died in 459 and a monastery was built at the site of his tower. The foundation of the tower can still be seen in the monastery's ruins.

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