Sunday of Saint Sameon the Stylite (Byzantine Rite) – 07 June 2020

 Troparion — Tone 1

You were a pillar of patient endurance, Having imitated the forefathers, O Venerable One: Job in suffering, and Joseph in temptations. You lived like the bodiless ones while yet in the flesh, O Simeon, our Father. Beseech Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Reading from the Book of Thessalonians

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.

And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. we shall always be with the Lord.

~Chapter 4, Verses 13-17

Reading from the Gospel of John

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
If you love Me, keep My commandments.

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,
even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to.”

~Chapter 14, Verses 10-21


When the Syrian  monastic elders heard about a man named Simeon, and his strange form of asceticism, living upon a stone pillar exposed to the elements at all times, dependent on help for food and water, they were puzzled  and went to determine whether this extremism was founded in humility or pride. They decided to order Simeon to come down from the pillar, if he disobeyed, they would order him forcibly dragged to the ground, but if he was willing to submit, they were to leave him on his pillar. Simeon displayed complete obedience and humility, and the monks told him to stay where he was.

Over a period of 30 years he lived on 3 separate pillars the longest, on the highest, but even there, Simeon was not withdrawn from the world. Instead the monk on the pillar became sought out for prayers, and spiritual matters. As he wrestled with his own spiritual growth he became more austere in each of his living conditions.

The tallest pillar attracted many people, pilgrims who had earlier visited and pilgrims as well. Daily he talked and prayed with visitors. With a ladder, visitors were able to climb part way up to speak with him. He wrote many letters and some survive today. Usury and profanity were his most famous topics. In contrast to the extreme austerity that he lived, his preaching conveyed temperance and compassion, and was marked with common sense and freedom from fanaticism, and called for forgiveness and brotherhood. 

People were drawn to this man that lived so outside society while living amongst it. His own elders questioned his sincerity at first. There are many lessons in his faith and his humility. His faith in God is unquestionable,  but also his faith in his community to tend to his needs for food, water, hygiene, and medicine. He had to have faith that while having faith all his needs would be met. This is not an option most of us have today as we have many who depend on us to live and cannot live a life of such austerity and have our family survive. One might also question are the holy words and prayers enough today for the community to feed and tend to such a way of life?

The answer is yes but in sharing the prayers and austerity of thought, and each taking a moment on that pillar, and each tending those upon it.  

When our brothers and sisters are in need of prayer we pray it, and when they are the ones praying we carry for a just moment their worldly burden.  We do the work in that these times require with the same tools the Apostles had and the same tools Simeon had, we just use them in this field for this harvest.


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