Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger

St. Simeon Stylites the Younger (521-596 A.D.) was born in Antioch in ancient Syria (present-day Turkey). Like his namesake and predecessor, Simeon was drawn from a young age to a life of penance and austerity out of his great love for God. His mother was considered a saint. As a young boy he attached himself to a monastery of hermits. Their spiritual director, John, lived night and day at the top of a tall pillar, or "style", within the monastery enclosure. The holy hermits who lived in this manner, separated from the world on top of a pillar, were called "stylites." Simeon the Younger imitated John and lived on a smaller pillar erected near his larger one. Simeon continued to live in this way on three different pillars, each one higher than the next, from boyhood until his death. His final pillar was 12 meters high. During his life he was ordained a deacon and a priest. Disciples gathered around him and would climb a ladder to receive Holy Communion from his hands. He worked many miracles during the course of his life. Hearing of his great sanctity, people came from distant countries for his blessings, cures, prophesies, and spiritual advice. After his death his pillar remained a place of pilgrimage, the ruins of which still exist today. His feast day is May 24.
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