The Monk Simeon the Old

Commemorated on January 26

      The Monk Simeon the Old was called this in distinction from the Monk Simeon the Stylite (Comm. 1 September). He practised asceticism in Syria in the V Century, and in his childhood years went out into the Syrian wilderness and settled in a cave in complete solitude. Constant prayer, inner meditation and thought about God were his constant occupation. The ascetic ate only the grass which grew about his cave. When people began to come to him to receive guidance, he in wishing to preserve his silence left his cave and settled on one of the mountains of the Aman range. But here also his ascetic solitude was disturbed by a throng of visitors. The Monk Simeon then withdrew onto Mount Sinai, where formerly the Prophet Moses (Comm. 4 September) received revelation from God. By Divine Providence, after a short stay on Sinai the holy ascetic returned to Aman and founded two monasteries: one at the top of the mountain, the other at its base. Being head of these monasteries, the Monk Simeon spiritually guided the monks, warning them about the wiles of the enemy of humankind, and he taught them to struggle against temptations. He inspired and encouraged them in ascetic deeds, rousing them to meditate about salvation. Because of the holiness of his life the Monk Simeon received of God the gift of grace-abundant wonderworking. After the many toils of his ascetic life the Monk Simeon expired to God in about the year 390.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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