Simeon Stylites – the man at the top of the pillar

Simeon atop his pillar

If everyday life is getting you down spare a thought for Simeon Stylites, a hermit who lived in Syria around about 400 AD. Simeon entered a monastery as a young boy but his daily regime of austerity and prayer was so extreme that he was asked to leave. He wandered the countryside in search of a suitable place to live and worship. Just outside Aleppo, he came across a pillar (stylos in Greek) and decided to live on top of the pillar on a special platform about one meter square. He wanted to be free from worldly constraints so that he could pray and commune with God without interruption. Simeon spent 37 years on top of his pillar. That is a total of 13505 days. In 1842 Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote a poem about Simeon which extended to over 220 lines……..

Simeon spent his days praying and communing with God - he spent 37 years at the top of his column!
Simeon spent his days praying and communing with God – he spent 37 years at the top of his column!
Simeon lived on top of his column in the Middle East for 37 years. Here's a bread delivery!
Simeon lived on top of his column in the Middle East for 37 years. Here’s a bread delivery!

When I read and wrote about Simeon Stylites five years ago, I thought he was bonkers, now I’m not so sure. As long as you’ve got your daily delivieries – arriving at your column – then why not…………

Notes:

  • This is what wikipedia has to say about a pillar dweller: A stylite (from Greek στυλίτης) or pillar-saint is a type of Christian ascetic who lives on a pillar, preaching, fasting and praying. The scene conjures up Monty Python style scenes.
  • Stylites were common in the early days of the Byzantine Empire. The first known stylite was Simeon Stylites the Elder who climbed a pillar in Syria in 423 and remained there until his death 37 years later.
  • Janet Simmonds is not a Stylite – although recent events have made her consider this option.
  • She writes ‘The Educated Traveller’ blog, covering Italy, The Alps, British Isles and much more.
  • Why not visit the site: www.educated-traveller.com
  • Updated: 20th March, 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.