The Monk Daniel the Pillar-Dweller

Commemorated on December 11

      The Monk Daniel the Pillar-Dweller was born in the village of Bythar, near the city of Samosata in Mesopotamia. His mother Martha was childless for a long while and in her prayers gave a vow, that if she had a child, she would dedicate him to the Lord. Her prayers were heard, and Martha soon gave birth to a son, who until he was 5 years of age was without a name. The parents of the boy desired, that since he was born through the good-will of God, he should likewise receive from God his name. They took their son to a monastery located nearby and approached the hegumen. The hegumen gave orders to take down one of the Divine-service books, and at random having unrolled it, found in it the mention of the Prophet Daniel (Comm. 17 December). Thus did the lad receive his name. The parents asked that the lad might remain at the monastery, but the hegumen would not accept him, since he was still but a small boy. At 12 years of age, saying nothing to no one, the lad left home for the monastery.
      His parents were happy when they learned where their son was, and they went to the monastery. Seeing that he was still going about in his worldly clothes, they besought that the hegumen should attire him in the Angelic garb. And on that Sunday the hegumen fulfilled their request, but permitted them often to visit their son. The brethren of the monastery were astonished at the efforts of the monk.
      One time on a visit to the monastery came Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller (comm. 1 September), who foretold to the young monk, that he too would undertake the feat of pillar-dwelling. The Monk Daniel continued on with his ascetic life in seclusion. When in a vision the place of a new exploit was revealed to him, he withdrew into the Thracian wilderness together with two students, where they set up a pillar, upon which the Monk Daniel dwelt for 33 years. People thronged to the pillar, those who were misfortunate and those who were sick, and all received from the Monk Daniel help and healing. Byzantine emperors likewise besought the prayers of the holy ascetic. And from the numerous predictions of the monk, the most notable was about a strong conflagration in Constantinople. The Monk Daniel possessed also the gift of gracious words. He guided many onto the path of correcting their lives. The monk reposed in his 80th year.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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The Monk Daniel
the Pillar-Dweller

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