May 24 
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May 24

Fast

Ven. Simeon the Stylite (the Younger) of the Wonderful Mountain (596). Ven. Nikita the Stylite, Wonderworker of Pereyaslavl’—Zalesskii (786). Martyrs Meletius Stratelates, Stephen, John, and 1,218 soldiers, with women and children, including Serapion the Egyptian, Callinicus the Magician, Theodore, Faustus, the women: Marciana, Susanna, and Palladia, two children: Cyriacus and Christian, and twelve Tribunes—Faustus, Festus, Marcellus, Theodore, Meletius, Sergius, Marcellinus, Felix, Photinus, Theodoriscus, Mercurius, and Didymus, all of whom suffered in Galatia (138-161). St. Vincent of Lérins.

Saint Simeon the Stylite

Saint Simeon the Stylite was born in the year 521 in Antioch, Syria of pious parents John and Martha. From her youth Saint Martha (July 4) prepared herself for a life of virginity and longed for monasticism, but her parents insisted that she marry John. After ardent prayer in a church dedicated to Saint John the Forerunner, the future nun was directed in a vision to submit to the will of her parents and enter into marriage.

As a married woman, Saint Martha strove to please God and her husband in everything. She often prayed for a baby and promised to dedicate him to the service of God. Saint John the Forerunner revealed to Martha that she would have a son who would serve God. When the infant was born, he was named Simeon and baptized at two years of age.

When Simeon was six years old, an earthquake occurred in the city of Antioch, in which his father perished. Simeon was in church at the time of the earthquake. Leaving the church, he became lost and spent seven days sheltered by a pious woman. Saint John the Baptist again appeared to Saint Martha, and indicated where to find the lost boy. The saint’s mother found her lost son, and moved to the outskirts of Antioch after the earthquake. Already during his childhood the Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to Saint Simeon, foretelling his future exploits and the reward for them.

The six-year-old child Simeon went into the wilderness, where he lived in complete isolation. During this time a light-bearing angel guarded and fed him. Finally, he arrived at a monastery, headed by the igumen Abba John, who lived in asceticism upon a pillar. He accepted the boy with love.

After a time, Saint Simeon asked the Elder John to permit him also to struggle upon a pillar. A new pillar was raised by the brethren of the monastery with the blessing of the igumen, near his pillar. Having completed the initiation of the seven-year-old boy into monasticism, Abba John placed him upon this pillar. The young ascetic, strengthened by the Lord, quickly grew spiritually, in his efforts surpassing even his experienced instructor. For his efforts, Saint Simeon received from God the gift of healing.

The fame of the young monk’s deeds began to spread beyond the bounds of the monastery. Monks and laypeople began to come to him from various places, desiring to hear his counsel and receive healing from their infirmities. The humble ascetic continued to pursue asceticism with instructions from his spiritual mentor Abba John.

When he was eleven, Simeon decided to pursue asceticism upon a higher pillar, the top of which was forty feet from the ground. The bishops of Antioch and Seleukia came to the place of the monk’s endeavors, and ordained him as a deacon. Then they permitted him to ascend the new pillar, on which Saint Simeon labored for eight years.

Saint Simeon prayed ardently for the Holy Spirit to descend upon him, and the holy prayer of the ascetic was heard. The Holy Spirit came upon him in the form of a blazing light, filling the ascetic with divine wisdom. Along with oral instructions, Saint Simeon wrote letters about repentance, monasticism, about the Incarnation of Christ, and about the future Judgment.

After the death of his Elder, Saint Simeon’s life followed a certain pattern. From the rising of the sun until mid-afternoon he read books and copied Holy Scripture. Then he rose and prayed all night. When the new day began, he rested somewhat, then began his usual Rule of prayer.

Saint Simeon concluded his efforts on the second column, and by God’s dispensation, settled upon the Wonderful Mountain, having become an experienced Elder to the monks in his monastery. The ascent to Wonderful Mountain was marked by a vision of the Lord, standing atop a column. Saint Simeon continued his efforts at this place where he saw the Lord, at first upon a stone, and then upon a pillar.

Future events were revealed to Saint Simeon, and so he foretold the death of Archbishop Ephraim of Antioch, and the illness of Bishop Domnus, which overtook him as punishment for his lack of pity. Finally, Saint Simeon predicted an earthquake for the city of Antioch and urged all the inhabitants to repent of their sins.

Saint Simeon established a monastery on Wonderful Mountain,where the sick people he healed built a church in gratitude for the mercy shown them. The saint prayed for a spring of water for the needs of the monastery, and once during a shortage of grain, the granaries of the monastery were filled with wheat by his prayers.

In the year 560 the holy ascetic was ordained to the priesthood by Dionysius, Bishop of Seleukia. At age seventy-five Saint Simeon was warned by the Lord of his impending end. He summoned the brethren of the monastery, instructed them in a farewell talk, and peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in the year 596, having toiled as a stylite for sixty-eight years.

After death, the saint worked miracles just as he had when alive. He healed the blind, the lame and the leprous, saving many from wild beasts, casting out devils and raising the dead.

Troparion for Midfeast of Pentecost, tone 8

In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, / Fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as You did cry to all: / If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink! / O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!

Troparion of the saint, tone 1

Dweller of the desert and angel in the body, / you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father Simeon. / You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer: / healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith. / Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!

Kontakion of the saint, tone 2

You longed for the things on high, / turning away from those below. / You built a pillar on which you lived as if in heaven, / shining with the splendor of miracles, venerable Simeon, / and unceasingly praying for us all to Christ, the God of all.

Kontakion for Midfeast of Pentecost, tone 4

Christ God, the Creator and Master of all / Cried to all in the midst of the Feast of the law: / Come and draw the water of immortality! / We fall before You and faithfully cry: / Grant us Your bounties, for You are the Fountain of our life!

Acts 10:44-11:10 (Epistle)

44
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45
And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46
For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
47
“Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
48
And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
1
Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
2
And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him,
3
saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
4
But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying:
5
“I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me.
6
When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.
7
And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’
8
But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’
9
But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’
10
Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

John 8:21-30 (Gospel)

21
Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”
22
So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”
23
And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
24
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
25
Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.
26
I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”
27
They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.
28
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.
29
And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
30
As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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