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   Major Christian Saints, Bishops and Martyrs

Simeon the Stylite (S)

Born in Cilicia C. 390. Her was the son of a shepherd and from his early childhood he subjected himself to food fasting. After spending twenty years in various hermitages and monasteries in northern Syria, he went to Telanissus where he began to live on a pillar and died there. After his death, a sanctuary and monastery were built on the spot, the ruins and the base of the column are still visible there. He is accounted for the establishment of the Pillar Ascetics. This life style later became very popular among the other saints. They lived high up on a platform on the top of a column in the case of Simeon said the pillar was 60 feet and the platform was close to 12 feet square. The reason that he chose to live on the top of a pillar was to avoid the crowds who came to him for his prayers and advises, so he could stay at a distance from the people. But, that didn't stop the people, and they came around his pillar asking his prayers for them. People were of almost every class, from emperors to beggars. Simeon the Stylite eventually had to reserve his afternoons for teaching, praying, answering questions.
 
Simeon the Theologian

Born in Paphlagonia region C. 950, and died at Constantinople C. 1022. When he was a young man he moved to Constantinople and became a monk in the monastery of Studius. However, Simeon imagined a stricter life for himself and moved on to the monastery of St. Mamas where he was an abbot for 25 years. Later, he organized a new monastery where he lived the remaining years of his life in peace. He was a mystic, and the Byzantine mysticism was at its zenith.
 
Stephen the Younger (M)

Born at Constantinople C. 715, and died there C. 765. When the Emperor Constantine V renewed the iconoclastic movement that banned the sacred images in the churches, Stephen was the one who defended at Constantinople the veneration of religious and sacred images. He was a hermit and monk on Mount St. Axentius and in 761 was exiled for his activities to the Proconessos in the Sea of Marmara. After three years he was brought before the emperor and questioned, and put in jail with some other monks where he stayed for 11 months before the second trial. At the second court, because his language provoked the emperor, Constantine V unwillingly ordered his death.
 
Thecla (S)

Thecla is probably one of the earliest saints in the world, as the story comes to us from St. Paul. Basil the bishop of Seleucia also wrote a full account of St. Thecla. The apocryphal "Acts of St. Paul and Thecla", contains some information about St. Paul's stay in Iconium. This account says, Thecla lived in Iconium, and on St. Paul's visit to the city, she pestered St. Paul to baptize her, resulting in an outcry and both be brought before the magistrate of the city. eventually, St. Paul was condemned to be beaten and exiled from the city, and Thecla was sentenced to death by burning. However, a timely rain put out the fire and saved Thecla's life. This time, Thecla disguised herself as a boy, and followed St. Paul to Pisidian Antioch where came to the attention of the authorities and once more sentenced to death, to be thrown to the lions. She again managed to escape and went down to Seleucia (modern Silifke) in disappointment where she lived in a cave and spent her final years. Later, this grotto became a popular place of pilgrimage, and a church was built nearby her cave whose remains are still visible.
 
Theodore St. (MS)

We don't know for sure when he lived and died, but he became one the three most important soldier-saints of the East along with St. George and St. Demetrius. We know that he was born at Amasea in Pontus (modern Amasya), and martyred there because he set fire to a pagan temple. After he suffered tortures in the prison, he was thrown into a furnace and martyred. His burial place at Euchaita became an important pilgrimage place. He was venerated in Anatolia as early as 4th C. Also, in the Christian art, the paintings on the church walls that show the slaying of a dragon by a knight is attributed to this St. Theodore as well as to the St. George.
 
Theodore of Sykeon (B)

Born at Sykeion in Galatia region of Asia Minor, and died there after his stays at different towns, monasteries in Jerusalem, Anastasiopolis. He probably lived in the 6th C. The account written by his disciples says, Theodore was the bastard child of a girl who with her mother and sister kept an inn where they prostituted themselves to their customers against some money. Later on, his mother married and left him with his grand mother and his aunt. Theodore was converted to Christian by his aunt, and on a journey to Jerusalem, became a monk and gained considerable experience there. On returning to his home, he founded monasteries in his home country. Against his will, he was elected bishop of Anastasiopolis near Ancyra (modern Ankara). After ten years in this office, he went to Constantinople to see his patron emperor Maurice. Later he returned to his home village Sykeion where spent his remaining years as a monk. Also, from the account written by his disciples, he is attributed with some miracles and marvels i.e. healing the sick, and some miraculous works.
 
Theodore the Studite (S)

He was born at Constantinople in 759 and died at Akritas in 826. His father was an imperial treasury official, and Theodore succeeded his uncle as head of the monastery at Sakkoudion in Bithynia region. He had troubles with the emperor Constantine VI, for he refused the emperor's divorce, he was banished from his position. Later, he moved his community to Constantinople, where they occupied the Studius Monastery founded by the Roman counsel Studius in 463. Under Theodor, the development of this monastery was great and remarkable. His ideals and regulations made a way for Byzantine monasticism and the influence of this monastery covered a large community. But, this wasn't the end of Theodore's troubles, he was once more exiled to Princes' island in the Sea of Marmara, because of the emperor's adultery. Later, his troubles continued with the emperor Leo V, when this emperor revived the Iconoclastic movement as state policy. This time, Theodore organized public resistance against the emperor's edict, and exiled to various places for seven years. On the other hand, Theodore supported his community with letters to keep their common struggle alive. He also sent an appeal to the Pope Paschal I, who later sent legates to Constantinople, without any result. After the violent death of the emperor, Theodore was released from the prison, but never allowed to return to his Studius monastery. He was the leader of the monastic movement and also the strongest defender of the sacred images.
 
Timothy (B)

He was probably born, lived and died C. 97 at Lystra in Asia Minor. He was the son of a gentile father and a Jewish mother. He was converted from heathenism to Christianity by journeys of St. Paul (Acts xvi 1-4), who made him also his companion and helper. Two of the epistles were addressed to him, the first epistle says that St. Paul had entrusted him the Ephesus area, and St. Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus. We don't have any further account of his life, one of the stories says he was beaten to death because of his refusal to take part in heathen festival.

 

 
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