Thursday, August 04, 2005


St Simeon Basilica. Right up in the north of the country. You can see the mountains of Turkey in the distance. The story goes that St Simeon (Simon) found the chatter of visitors to his monastery distracting, so built a pillar to raise him above the hubbub. From this he would preach sermons. However, this unusual behaviour attracted even more people, so even more hubbub, so Simeon built the pillar even higher, until, by some accounts, it was 40' tall, and Simeon spent all his time there, with food being hoisted up in a basket. This holy behaviour led to him being venerated as a saint.

The one thing you won't see today in the ruins of the basilica is the pillar. Knocked over by an earthquake, it suffered from the popularity of the site with visiting pilgrims over centuries, who chipped off little pieces for keepsakes, until the pillar became no more than a stump.


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