Book of Saints – Simeon Stylites

illustration of Saint Simeon Stylites; from 'Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints'Article

(Saint) (January 5) (5th century) A Syrian Saint, whose extraordinary life of penance led on the summit of a pillar has earned him world-wide celebrity, together with the name “Stylites.” The son of poor parents, he in early life retired into a monastery. It was at the age of thirty-two that he adopted his characteristic fashion of sanctifying his soul by doing penance and praying on the top of a lofty stone column. In it he persevered for thirty-seven years until his death (A.D. 459). From time to time, he increased the height of his pillar. The last, on which he had lived for twenty years when he died, was forty cubits (say, sixty feet) high. The flat summit was about three feet in diameter. He could stand, kneel or sit, but never lie down. Similarly, his fastings pass belief, as, for instance, his remaining the whole of Lent without taking any food at all. His pillar stood on a hill on the boundary of Syria and Cilicia, and crowds of people thronged daily the enclosure in which it was erected, in order to ask the prayers of the Saint and to listen to his sermons. His whole life was in a sense a miracle and the wonder of the century in which he lived; nor, had we not the testimony of Theodoret the historian, and of other contemporary writers, could we accept as facts what is narrated of him.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “Simeon Stylites”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 December 2016. Web. 17 January 2017. <>