File(s) not publicly available

E04490: Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History summarises the story of *Symeon the Elder (Stylite, ob. 459, S00343), using the saint’s anonymous Life and Theodoret of Cyrrhus’ Religious History. He describes the shrine around Symeon's column, his well preserved head in Antioch (from which some teeth had been abstracted by the pious), and the miraculous appearance of a star at the shrine on the occasion of the saint's commemoration. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria), 593/594

online resource
posted on 19.12.2017, 00:00 by erizos
Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 1. 13-14.

13. Ἐν τούτοις τοῖς χρόνοις ἤκμασέ τε καὶ διεφάνη καὶ Συμεώνης, ὁ τῆς ὁσίας καὶ πάντα ἀοιδίμου μνήμης, πρῶτος τὴν ἐπὶ κίονος στάσιν ἐπιτηδεύσας, δίπηχυ μόλις ἐνδιαίτημα τὸ περίμετρον, Δόμνου τηνικάδε τὴν Ἀντιοχέων ἐπισκοποῦντος. Ὃς ἐπειδὴ παρ’ αὐτὸν γέγονεν, ἐκπλαγεὶς τὴν στάσιν καὶ τὴν δίαιταν, τῶν μυστικωτέρων ἐγλίχετο· ἄμφω δ’ οὖν συνηλθέτην, καὶ τὸ ἄχραντον ἱερουργήσαντες σῶμα τῆς ζωοποιοῦ κοινωνίας ἀλλήλοις μετέδοσαν. Οὗτος ἐν σαρκὶ τὴν τῶν οὐρανίων δυνάμεων πολιτείαν ζηλώσας, ἐξαίρει μὲν ἑαυτὸν τῶν ἐπὶ γῆς πραγμάτων, καὶ τὴν φύσιν βιασάμενος τὴν τέως κάτω βρίθουσαν τὰ μετέωρα διώκει· καὶ μέσον οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῶν ἐπὶ γῆς γενόμενος ἐντυγχάνει τε τῷ θεῷ καὶ μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων δοξολογεῖ, ἐκ μὲν τῆς γῆς τὰς ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρεσβείας τῷ θεῷ προσάγων, ἐξ οὐρανοῦ δὲ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὴν ἄνωθεν εὐμένειαν καταπραττόμενος. Τούτου τὰς θεοσημείας γέγραφε μὲν καί τις τῶν αὐτοπτῶν γενομένων· γέγραφε δὲ καὶ λογίως ἀπέθετο καὶ Θεοδώρητος, ὁ τὴν Κυρεστῶν ἐπισκοπήσας, ἐν ᾧ τὰ μάλιστα παραλελοιπότες, ὃ μέχρι νῦν σωζόμενον παρὰ τοῖς τῆς ἁγίας ἐρήμου κατειλήφαμεν, καὶ παρ’ αὐτῶν παρειλήφαμεν.

Ὅτε δ’ οὖν Συμεώνης οὗτος ὁ ἐπὶ γῆς ἄγγελος, ὁ ἐν σαρκὶ τῆς ἄνω Ἱερουσαλὴμ πολίτης, τὴν ξένην ταύτην καὶ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἀγνῶτα τρίβον ἐπετήδευσε, στέλλουσί τινα παρ’ αὐτὸν οἱ τῆς ἁγίας ἐρήμου, ἐντειλάμενοι φάναι· τίς ἡ ξενοπρεπὴς αὕτη πολιτεία, τί τὴν τετριμμένην καὶ τοῖς ἁγίοις πεπατημένην ὁδὸν ἀφείς, ἄλλην τινὰ ξένην καὶ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις καθάπαξ ἀγνοουμένην ὁδεύει· καὶ ὡς ἐπιτετράφασιν αὐτῷ καταβῆναι καὶ τὴν τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν πατέρων ὁδὸν ἀνύειν. Οἵπερ, εἰ μὲν ἐκθύμως ἑαυτὸν πρὸς τὴν κατάβασιν δοίη, συγχωρεῖν ἐκέλευσαν αὐτῷ τὴν ἰδίαν ἐκτρέχειν· ἐκ γὰρ τῆς ὑπακοῆς δῆλον εἶναι ὡς ἐκ θεοῦ ποδηγηθεὶς ὧδε διαθλεύει· εἰ δέ γε ἀντισταίη, ἢ καὶ τοῦ ἰδίου θελήματος δοῦλος γένοιτο καὶ μὴ πρὸς τὴν ἐπιτροπὴν ἰθυδρομήσοι, καὶ πρὸς βίας αὐτὸν καθέλκειν. Ὃς ἐπειδή περ παρ’ αὐτὸν ἐγένετο καὶ τὴν τῶν πατέρων ἀπήγγειλεν ἐντολήν, εὐθέως τε θάτερον τοῖν ποδοῖν προέπεμψε τῶν πατέρων τὴν ἐπιτροπὴν ἐκπληρῶσαι βουλόμενος, ἀφίει αὐτὸν τὴν ἰδίαν ὁδὸν ἐκπληροῦν, ἐπιφθεγξάμενος· „Ἴσχυε καὶ ἀνδρίζου· ἡ στάσις σου παρὰ θεοῦ ἐστιν.“ Ὅ μοι ἀξιόλογον ὂν ἐξετέθη, τοῖς περὶ αὐτοῦ γραφεῖσι παρειμένον.

Τούτῳ τοσοῦτον ἡ τῆς θείας χάριτος ἐνέσκηψε δύναμις, ὡς καὶ Θεοδοσίου τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος τεθεσπικότος τοῖς κατὰ τὴν Ἀντιόχου Ἰουδαίοις ἀποδοθῆναι τὰς σφῶν συναγωγάς, ἅσπερ ἔφθησαν παρὰ Χριστιανῶν ἀφῃρημένοι, οὕτω παρρησίᾳ γέγραφεν, οὕτω σφοδρῶς ἐπετίμησε μόνον τὸν ἴδιον βασιλέα εὐλαβούμενος, ὡς καὶ τὸν βασιλέα Θεοδόσιον τὰς ἰδίας ἀνακαλεσάμενον κελεύσεις πάντα πρὸς χάριν Χριστιανῶν ἐκπληρῶσαι, παραλῦσαι δὲ καὶ τὸν ὕπαρχον τὸν ταῦτα διδάξαντα τῆς ἀρχῆς δεηθῆναί τε τοῦ παναγίου καὶ ἀερίου μάρτυρος ἐπὶ ῥήματος ἱκετεύειν τε καὶ εὔχεσθαι ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ, καὶ τῆς οἰκείας εὐλογίας μεταδιδόναι. Διέτριψε τοίνυν ἐν σαρκὶ τόνδε τὸν βίον διαθλεύων ἔτη ἓξ καὶ πεντήκοντα· ἐν μὲν τῷ πρώτῳ φροντιστηρίῳ ἔνθα τὰ θεῖα κατηχήθη, ἔτη ἐννέα, ἐν δὲ αὖ τῇ καλουμένῃ μάνδρᾳ ἑπτὰ καὶ τεσσαράκοντα· ἔν τινι μὲν στενῷ τόπῳ ἔτεσι δέκα τὸν ἀγῶνα διανύσας, ἐν δὲ κίοσι βραχυτέροις ἑπτά, καὶ ἐπὶ τεσσαρακοντάπηχυν ἔτη τριάκοντα.

Τούτου τὸ πανάγιον σῶμα μετὰ τὴν ἐνθένδε ἐκδημίαν κατὰ τὴν Ἀντιοχέων ὕστερον εἰσήχθη, Λέοντος τὰ σκῆπτρα διέποντος, Μαρτυρίου τηνικαῦτα τῆς Ἀντιόχου προεδρεύοντος, Ἀρταβουρίου δὲ αὖ τῶν ἑῴων στρατηγοῦντος ταγμάτων μετὰ τῶν ἀμφ’ αὐτὸν στρατιωτικῶν τελῶν τε καὶ λοιπῶν, κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ μάνδραν γενομένων, καὶ τὸν πάνσεπτον διασωσάντων νεκρὸν Συμεώνου τοῦ μακαρίου, ὡς ἂν μὴ αἱ γειτνιῶσαι πόλεις συνελθοῦσαι τοῦτον διαρπάζοιεν. Θαυμάτων τοίνυν μεγίστων καὶ κατὰ τὴν ὁδοιπορίαν γενομένων, κομίζεται κατὰ τὴν Ἀντιόχου τὸ αὐτοῦ πανάγιον σῶμα· ὃ καὶ Λέων ὁ αὐτοκράτωρ ἐξῃτήσατο παρὰ τῶν Ἀντιοχέων λαβεῖν. Καὶ δεήσεις οἱ τῆς Ἀντιόχου πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀνατεινάμενοι γεγράφασιν οὕτως· „Διὰ τὸ μὴ ὑπάρχειν τεῖχος τῇ πόλει, πέπτωκε γὰρ ἐν ὀργῇ, ἠγάγομεν τὸ πανάγιον σῶμα, ὅπως ἡμῖν γένηται τεῖχος καὶ ὀχύρωμα.“ Οἷς καὶ πεισθεὶς ἐνδούς τε ταῖς δεήσεσι τὸ σεπτὸν αὐτοῖς εἴασε σῶμα. Τούτου τὰ πολλὰ μέχρις ἡμῶν ἐφυλάχθη, οὖ καὶ τὴν ἁγίαν κορυφὴν μετὰ πολλῶν ἱερέων τεθέαμαι, ἐπισκοποῦντος τήνδε Γρηγορίου τοῦ παναοιδίμου, Φιλιππικοῦ δεηθέντος παραφυλακῆς ἕνεκα τῶν ἑῴων ἐκστρατευμάτων τίμια λείψανά οἱ ἐκπεμφθῆναι. Καὶ τὸ παράδοξον, αἱ κατὰ τῆς κεφαλῆς ἐπικείμεναι τρίχες οὐ διεφθάρησαν, ὡς δ’ αὖ ζῶντος καὶ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις συναλιζομένου διασώζονται. Καὶ τὸ κατὰ τοῦ μετώπου δέρμα ἐρρυτίδωτο μὲν καὶ ἀπέσκληκε, σώζεται δ’ οὖν ὅμως, καὶ τῶν ὀδόντων δ’ οἱ πλείους, εἰ μή γε ὅσοι χερσὶν ἀνθρώπων πιστῶν βιαίως ἀφῃρέθησαν, διὰ τοῦ σχήματος κηρύσσοντες οἷός τε καὶ ὁπόσος καὶ πηλίκος ὁ ἄνθρωπος τοῦ θεοῦ γέγονε Συμεώνης. Ταύτῃ καὶ ὁ ἐκ σιδήρου πεποιημένος κλοιὸς παράκειται, μεθ’ οὗ τὸ πολυύμνητον διαθλεῦσαν σῶμα τῶν ἐκ θεοῦ γερῶν μεταδέδωκεν· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀποθανόντα τὸν Συμεώνην ὁ ἐραστὴς ἀπέλιπε σίδηρος. Οὕτω τὸ καθ’ ἕκαστον ἂν διεξεληλύθειν ἐμοί τε τῆς διηγήσεως ὠφέλειαν παρέξον καὶ τοῖς ἐντυγχάνουσιν, εἰ μὴ πλατύτερον ταῦτα Θεοδωρήτῳ, ὡς ἔφθην εἰπών, ἐπεπόνητο.

14. Φέρε δὲ καὶ ἕτερον ὃ τεθέαμαι, τῇ ἱστορίᾳ παραδῶ. Ἐπόθουν τὸ τέμενος τούτου δὴ τοῦ ἁγίου θεάσασθαι. Διέστηκε δὲ Θεουπόλεως σταδίους μάλιστα τριακοσίους κείμενον πρὸς αὐτὴν τοῦ ὄρους τὴν κορυφήν. Μάνδραν οἱ ἐπιχώριοι καλοῦσι, τῆς ἀσκήσεως οἶμαι τοῦ παναγίου Συμεώνου τὴν προσηγορίαν τῷ χώρῳ καταλιπούσης. Διήκει δὲ τὸ πρόσαντες τοῦ ὄρους σταδίους εἴκοσιν. Ἡ δὲ τοῦ νεὼ οἰκοδομία σύγκειται μὲν σταυροῦ δίκην ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων πλευρῶν στοαῖς κοσμουμένη· παρατετάχαται δὲ ταῖς στοαῖς κίονες ἐκ λίθου ξεστοῦ πεποιημένοι εὐπρεπῶς, εὖ μάλα τὴν ὀροφὴν εἰς ὕψος ἐπαίροντες. Τὸ δέ γε μέσον αὐλὴ ὑπαίθριός ἐστιν, μετὰ πλείστης ἐξειργασμένη τῆς τέχνης· ἔνθα ὁ τεσσαρακοντάπηχυς ἵσταται κίων, ἐν ᾧ τὸν οὐράνιον διήνυσε βίον ὁ ἐπὶ γῆς ἔνσαρκος ἄγγελος. Πρὸς τῇ ὀροφῇ τοίνυν τῶν λελεγμένων στοῶν κλειθρίδια καθεστᾶσι—θυρίδας ἔνιοι καλοῦσι—πρός τε τὸ λελεγμένον ὑπαίθριον πρός τε τὰς στοὰς ἀποκρινόμενα. Κατὰ τὸ λαιὸν τοίνυν μέρος τοῦ κίονος ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ κλειθριδίῳ τεθέαμαι μετὰ παντὸς τοῦ ἁλισθέντος αὐτόθι λεώ, τῶν ἀγροίκων περὶ τὸν κίονα χορευόντων, ἀστέρα ὑπερμεγέθη κατὰ πᾶν τὸ κλειθρίδιον διαθέοντά τε καὶ σελαγίζοντα, οὐχ ἅπαξ, οὐ δίς, οὐ τρίς, ἀλλὰ καὶ πολλάκις, παυόμενόν τε αὖ συχνῶς καὶ πάλιν ἐξαπίνης φαινόμενον· ὃ δὴ γίνεται μόνον ἐν τοῖς τοῦ παναγίου μνημείοις. Εἰσὶ δὲ οἳ λέγουσι, καὶ οὐκ ἀπιστητέον τῷ θαύματι ἔκ τε τῆς τῶν λεγόντων εὐπιστίας καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὧνπερ τεθεάμεθα, ὅτι καὶ αὐτὸ δὴ τὸ προσωπεῖον αὐτοῦ τεθέανται ὧδέ τε κἀκεῖσε περιϊπτάμενον, τὴν ὑπήνην καθειμένον, τὴν κεφαλὴν τιάρᾳ κεκαλυμμένον ὥσπερ εἰώθει. Ὧδε τοῦ χώρου γινόμενοι ἄνδρες ἀφυλάκτως εἰσίασι, μετὰ τῶν σφῶν νωτοφόρων τὸν κίονα πολλάκις περινοστοῦντες. Φυλακὴ δέ τις εἰς τὸ ἀκριβέστατον, οὐκ ἔχω ἀνθ’ ὅτου λέγειν, ὡς ἂν γυνὴ μὴ φοιτῴη τῶν ἀνακτόρων εἴσω. Ἔξω δὲ περὶ τὰς φλιὰς ἑστῶσαι τεθήπασι τὸ θαῦμα· ἀντικρὺ γὰρ τοῦ σελαγίζοντος ἀστέρος ἡ μία τῶν θυρῶν ἐστιν.


'13. In these times too there flourished and was prominent Symeon, the man of holy and universally celebrated memory, the first man to practise the station on a column, an abode that was scarcely two cubits in circumference, during the time that Domnus was the Antiochene bishop. When this man [Domnus] came to him, he was astounded by the stance and lifestyle and yearned for what was more mystical. And so the two came together and after consecrating the unbroken body they gave a share of the life-giving communion to each other. This man, who while in the flesh imitated the existence of the heavenly powers, removed himself from the affairs of the earth; and by constraining the nature which for the time being weighed him down, he pursued higher things. And being betwixt heaven and those on earth he conversed with God and together with the angels gave glory, from earth presenting to God requests on behalf of humans, while from heaven achieving for humans the beneficence from on high. One of those indeed who were eye-witnesses has written the miracles of this man, while Theodoret too, the bishop of Cyrrhus, has also written and eloquently recorded them; leaving aside most matters therein, we have learnt something which is preserved to the present day by those in the holy desert, and ascertained it from them.

And so after Symeon, this angel upon earth, this citizen of the supernal Jerusalem while in the flesh, pursued this strange course which was unknown to mankind, those in the holy desert sent someone to him, enjoining him to say what is this outlandish existence, why after abandoning the well-worn path that has been trodden by the saints is he travelling some strange way that is utterly unknown to mankind; and that they instruct him to descend and to follow the way of the chosen Fathers. If he willingly proffered himself for the descent, these men ordered that permission be granted him to pursue his own way; for from his obedience it would be clear that he thus persevered in the struggle under guidance from God; but should he resist, or indeed be a slave to his personal will and not directly respond to the injunction, he should be dragged down, even forcibly. When indeed the man came to him and announced the command of the Fathers, and Symeon had at once put forward one of his two feet in his desire to fulfil the Fathers’ injunction, he freed him to accomplish his own path, declaring: ‘Be strong and courageous; your station is from God.’ This has been set down by me as noteworthy, although it has been passed over by those who have written about him.

On this man the power of divine grace had settled to such an extent that when Theodosius the emperor had decreed that the Jews in Antioch should receive back their synagogues which had previously been taken away by the Christians, he wrote in such frank language and censured him so vehemently, since he only reverenced his own emperor, that the emperor Theodosius even revoked his own commands, fulfilled everything in favour of the Christians, dismissed from office the prefect who had recommended this, and begged the all-holy and aeria

History

Evidence ID

E04490

Saint Name

Symeon the Elder, stylite of Qal‘at Sim‘ān, ob. 459 : S00343

Saint Name in Source

Συμεώνης

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

593

Evidence not after

594

Activity not before

459

Activity not after

594

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Evagrius Scholasticus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies Miraculous interventions in war Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Bodily incorruptibility Miraculous sound, smell, light

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Monarchs and their family Officials Soldiers Women

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Bodily relic - head Public display of relics Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Theft/appropriation of relics Bodily relic - nails, hair and bodily products Bodily relic - bones and teeth Contact relic - saint’s possession and clothes Contact relic - other

Source

Evagrius was born in about 535 in the Syrian city of Epiphania. Educated at Antioch and Constantinople, he pursued a career as a lawyer at Antioch, serving as a legal advisor to Patriarch Gregory (570-592). He wrote the Ecclesiastical History in 593/4, with the express purpose of covering the period following the coverage of the mid 5th century ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. His narrative starts with Nestorius and the Council of Ephesus (431) and stops with the death of Evagrius’ patron, Gregory of Antioch, in 592. The work offers a balanced mixture of ecclesiastical and secular events in the East Roman Empire, being best informed about Antioch and Syria. Evagrius also published a dossier of original documents from the archive of Patriarch Gregory of Antioch, which has not survived.

Discussion

In this passage, Evagrius makes use of hagiographical sources about Symeon, especially Theodoret's Religious History, which he cites, and Symeon’s Life, which is known in Syriac. The most interesting parts of the account, however, is the author’s eyewitness description of the relics and shrine of Symeon and the prodigies of the star and the saint’s apparitions, which were supposed to take place there. Evagrius’ affirmation that the Antiochenes succeeded in denying Leo I the body of Symeon contradicts a claim by the Life of Daniel the Stylite that the relics of Symeon were indeed brought by that emperor to Constantinople, and deposited at Daniel’s monastery in Anaplous (see E04560). It appears that Constantinople only received a piece of the saint’s body or a contact relic, while Antioch kept most of the body, including apparently the head. Evagrius' account suggests that pieces of Symeon's relics continued to be distributed by Antioch. The references to the relic as a protection in war are very important. Antioch keeps the relic in replacement of its defensive walls which had been damaged in a recent earthquake (which the author mentions in 2.12). In the 580s, the commander of the Eastern armies, Philippicus (magister militum per Orientem, 584/7, 588/9; PLRE III, 1022), requests relics for his campaign. The same man is known for parading a miraculous image of Christ through his army (Theophylact Simocatta 2.3.4-9).

Bibliography

Text and French translation: Bidez, J., and Parmentier, L., Evagre le Scholastique, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources Chrétiennes 542, 566; Paris, 2011, 2014), with commentary by L. Angliviel de la Beaumelle, and G. Sabbah, and French translation by A.-J.Festugière, B. Grillet, and G. Sabbah. Other translations: Whitby, M., The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus (Translated Texts for Historians 33; Liverpool, 2000). Hübner, A., Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica = Kirchengeschichte (Fontes Christiani 57; Turnhout, 2007). Carcione, F., Evagrio di Epifania, Storia ecclesiastica (Roma, 1998). Further Reading: Allen, P., Evagrius Scholasticus, the Church Historian (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, Etudes et Documents 41; Leuven, 1981). Brown, P., "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity," Journal of Roman Studies 61 (1971), 80-101. Delehaye, H., Les saints stylites (Bruxelles, 1923). Doran, R., The Lives of Simeon Stylites (Cistercian Studies Series 112; Kalamzoo, 1992). Festugière, A.J., Antioche païenne et chrétienne (Paris, 1959), 346-401. Treadgold, W., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke, 2006), 299-308.

Continued Description

l martyr, in these words, both to supplicate and pray on his behalf and to give him a share of his own blessing. And so he passed his time, pursuing this life in the flesh for 56 years: in the first monastery, where divine matters were imparted to him, nine years, and thereafter in the so-called ‘enclosure’ 47 years; for ten years he accomplished his struggle in a certain confined space, for seven on a shorter column, and on a 40-cubit one for 30 years.After his departure from here, this man’s all-holy body was later conveyed to the Antiochene city, when Leo wielded the sceptres, at the time when Martyrius, who presided over the city of Antioch, and Ardabur, who in turn was general of the eastern regiments, came to Symeon’s ‘enclosure’ together with the soldiers in his command and officers and others, and protected the most sacred corpse of the blessed Symeon lest the nearby cities should come together and snatch it away. Accordingly, while very great miracles occurred even on the journey, his all-holy body was conveyed to the city of Antioch. The emperor Leo also demanded to be given it by the Antiochenes. The people of Antioch presented requests to him, writing as follows: ‘Because of the fact that our city does not have a wall, since it collapsed in an earthquake, we have brought the all-holy body so as to be a wall and protection for us.’ Persuaded by these, and acceding to the requests, he left them the revered body.Most of this man has been safeguarded up to this time, and along with many priests I saw his holy head, indeed, while the widely celebrated Gregory was bishop here, since Philippicus had requested that precious relics should be sent to him for the protection of the eastern armies. And the extraordinary thing was that the hairs which lay upon his head had not been corrupted, but are preserved as if he were alive again and associating with men. And the skin on his forehead was wrinkled and withered, but still it is intact, as are the majority of his teeth, except for those forcibly removed by the hands of devout men: through their appearance they proclaim what the nature, size and age of Symeon the man of God had been. Next to the head there also lies the collar fashioned from iron, with which the widely famous body persevered in the struggle and shared the rewards from God; for not even in death has the beloved iron abandoned Symeon. I would thus have described in detail each individual incident, providing a benefit both to myself and to the readers from the account, if Theodoret, as I have already said, had not toiled over these things more expansively.14 Well now, let me also entrust to my history another thing which I have seen. I yearned to see the precinct of this particular holy man. It is distant from Theopolis [=Antioch] about 300 stades, lying at the very peak of the mountain. The local people call it ‘enclosure’, since the asceticism of the all-holy Symeon, I suppose, bequeathed the appellation to the place. The journey up the mountain is a distance of twenty stades. The church building is formed in the manner of a cross, being adorned on the four sides with aisles; columns beautifully made from polished stone are ranged along the aisles, and raise up the roof to a pretty good height. In the centre is an open-air court, executed with the greatest artistry. Here stands the 40-cubit column on which the angel incarnate on earth accomplished his heavenly life. Then, near the roof of the aforementioned aisles are openings some call them windows which open onto the aforementioned open area and onto the aisles.So, to the left-hand side of the column, in the opening itself, in company with the whole crowd which had gathered there, while the country people were circling around the column, I saw an enormous star that ran gleaming across the whole opening, not once nor twice nor three times but frequently indeed, constantly ceasing once more and again suddenly appearing. This occurs only at the commemorations of the all-holy one. There are some who say and—because of the credibility of the reporters and because of the other things which I have seen, there is no reason to disbelieve the miracle—that they have even seen his very face indeed, flying around here and there with a beard hanging down and his head covered by a hood as was his custom. Thus, on coming to the place, men gain entry without restriction and they repeatedly go around the column with their beasts of burden, but for whatever reason I cannot say there is a most strict watch that no woman should visit the interior of the sanctuary. The women stand outside near the doorway and admire the wonder, for one of the doors is situated opposite the gleaming star.'Text: Bidez and Parmentier 2011. Translation: Whitby 2010.

Usage metrics

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports