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St. Simeon Stylites
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Religious Figure
    (circa 390-September 2, 459)
    Born in Kozan, Turkey
    Christian ascetic
    Spent the last 37 years of his life on a platform atop a pillar near Aleppo, Syria
    He was ejected from a monastery for 'imprudent austerities.' (Specifically, for tying a rope of plam fronds so tightly around his waist that it took the other monks three days of soaking an cutting to remove it -- along with a good hunk of Simeon's skin.)
    He would go the forty days of Lent without any food or water at all.
    When he developed sores, he kept them open so maggots could eat his flesh.
    He started living on pillars to avoid the crowds of pilgrims who were attracted by reports of his sufferings and holiness.
    The move backfired, as he drew even greater crowds of curiosity seekers.
    He refused to let any women come near his pillar, not even his mother.
    He reportedly converted to Christianity at 13 after a snowstorm forced him to seek shelter in a church and he heard the Beatitudes.
    He preached twice daily to the crowds that gathered under his pillar.
    Eastern Roman Emperors Theodosius II and Leo I sought his advice.
    He inspired a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
    He is in the Guinness Book of Records for longest time spent pole sitting.

Credit: C. Fishel


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