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San Simeon

San Simeon

Deir Samaan

Simeon decided from an early age to isolate himself from the community in an effort to reach union with God. He sat on a pillar but as he attracted a lot of attention he built the pillar ever higher. Eventually the pillar stood at around 50 feet high by which time he had become an early superstar who refused to speak to women, including his mother. Still the one good thing that emerged from his weirdness is a spectacular example of early Christian architecture. Christianity was undergoing some ferment around the time of Simeon’s death in 479 regarding the different doctrines of the single and dual natures of Christ, and the monastic and ascetic traditions that emerged at this time seem to be a movement against the hierarchy in Constantinople. When Simeon died his body was forceably removed by the Antioch patriachate against the wishes of the local people and eventually removed to Constantinople.