May 24

From the Prologue

This wonderful saint Simeon was born in Antioch in the year 522 A.D. during the reign of Emperor Justin the Elder. His father perished in an earthquake and he was left alone with his mother Martha. At age six, he withdrew to the desert to a spiritual father John under whose guidance he submitted himself to a life of austere fasting and prayerful asceticism to the astonishment of all who saw him. Enduring horrible demonic temptations, he received great comfort and grace from the Lord and His angels. The Lord Christ appeared to him under the guise of a handsome youth. After this vision, a great love for Christ burned in Simeon's heart. He spent many years on a "pillar" praying to God and chanting psalms. Under God's guidance, he withdrew to a mountain named "Wonderful" by the Lord Himself. Because of the name of this mountain, Simeon was surnamed the "Man of the Wonderful Mountain." Because of his love for God, he was endowed with the rare gift of grace, by which he healed every infirmity, tamed wild beasts, discerned into distant parts of the world and the hearts of men. He left his body and gazed at the heavens and conversed with angels, frightened and cast out demons, prophesied, at times lived without sleep for thirty days and even longer without food and received nourishment from the hands of angels. The words of the Lord were completely fulfilled in him: "He that believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do" (St. John 14:12). In the year of our Lord 596 A.D. and in the seventy-fifth year of his life, St. Simeon presented himself to the Lord that he, together with the angels, may satisfy himself gazing upon the face of God.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas