A monk on a stick and associated curiosities....

by David Swatton May. 19, 2010 3291 views

This is the basilica of St. Simeon Stylites, built on the site of the pillar of St. Simeon.

For those of you who don't know this rather bizarre story, Simeon was born in AD 386 and joined a monastery as a young man. He soon decided however that monastic life was far too luxurious for him and decided to follow his own purist beliefs as a hermit monk. For some time he lived alone in a cave but decided that this wasn't secluded enough so he relocated to a pillar on the site of the basilica.

Now it's not made clear who built the pillar - I'm assuming it was no flat-pack self-assembly effort from IKEA so there must have been some effort in erecting it as it was allegedly 15m tall.

Anyway, Simo duly took up residence to get away from the world but…. yes, you can guess what's coming next. Word got round about a monk who lived at the top of a pillar and he started to draw crowds to see him and ultimately to hear him preach.

To be honest, it works for the American illusionist David Blaine - he draws huge crowds with his wacky stunts.

Well, our Simo lived on top of his pillar for 37 years until his death in AD 459.

I guess the final irony is that for a man who craved nothing more than peace and isolation, when he died his body was escorted by 7 bishops, hundreds of soldiers and a crowd of devoted supporters in pomp and circumstance to Antioch where it became a site of pilgrimage, as did his pillar where the basilica was subsequently built in about AD 475.

It's a funny old world, they say!

Please enlarge for a better view

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There are 13 comments , add yours!
Unige 8 years, 8 months ago

interesting story, great shots, especially 8 and 9

8 years, 8 months ago Edited
Manuele 9 years, 5 months ago

beautiful set, very beautiful n°3

9 years, 5 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker 9 years, 6 months ago

What a fascinating story. Wonderful photos too! :-)

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Jet28 9 years, 6 months ago

That's really interesting :-)

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Sebastiã¡N Bellã³N 9 years, 6 months ago

There is an interesting film by Luis Buñuel inspired in this story of Simeon, called "Simón del Desierto". I recomend it to you. Nice pictures

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Pete 9 years, 6 months ago

great set love the stones

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Jennye 9 years, 6 months ago

fantastic captures!!

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Robertpetergee 9 years, 6 months ago

Terrific shots! great angels and very well exposed!

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Christelle 9 years, 6 months ago

beautiful set !!!
thanks for sharing !!!

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Paolo Martini 9 years, 6 months ago

love these pictures so much,

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Monika 9 years, 6 months ago

having left human society behind, he had made himself available to it unceasingly... the guy definitely ended up high. its wonderful how you present the place, from simeon`s and even from a bugs perspective.

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Jack Castelo Branco 9 years, 6 months ago

Nice set

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
Vterezia 9 years, 6 months ago

NICE!!! thanks for sharing.......

9 years, 6 months ago Edited
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