CANON TO SAINT SYMEON STYLITES
The author of the Canon to Saint Symeon Stylites is given in the Menaion as Monk John, the usual designation of Saint John of Damascus in the service books.
The canon is of unusual interest since the writer clearly had the life of saint written by Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus, in front of him as well as at least one other source. I hope to trace these other sources and to update this page shortly. For most of the canon he follows Theodoret closely, even to occasional verbal citations. In the translation that follows I have given the relevant passages from Theodoret after the troparion in a different typeface. My free translation is made from the critical edition in the French Sources Chrétiennes [volume 257, pages 158-215] of the Historia Philothea by Alice Leroy-Mohlingen in 1979.
Theodorets account of Saint Symeon is of the greatest importance, since he was personally acquainted with him and had visited him at his pillar a number of times. He describes vividly an occasion when, after the saint had told the crowds to ask for Theodorets blessing, he was mobbed by the enthusiastic pilgrims and only escaped being smothered by the saints shouting to them to stand back.
without the Theotokia, is:
By Monk John
As with the broken instrument of my tongue I weave this song for you, God-bearing Symeon, grant me through your supplications divinely inspired light of knowledge.
Persians, Ethiopians, Indians and Scythians and a multitude of Arabs recognised your wisdom, Father, and they glorified Christ who is glorified through you.
You were filled with spiritual grace; for, like Jacob, David and Moses, you appeared from the sheepfolds as leader of spiritual flocks, O blessed one.
Immaculate Mother of God, hail honoured one, who contained in your womb the uncontainable God, entreat that those who sing your praise you may be redeemed.
Ode 3. Plant your fear, Lord.
Swiftly fleeing the icy blast of the winds, you boldly reached a dwelling of salvation, Symeon, from which you plucked the fruit of life that does not age.
Gladly you inclined your obedient ear to the Master who promised blessedness; and blessed was the way of life you found.
Having welcomed the seeds of the word in the furrows of your heart, with floods of tears, you reaped for Christ a full ear of virtues.
Bride of God, ineffably you conceived the Saviour and Lord, who from troubles delivers us who call on you in truth.
Ode 4. Lord, I have heard.
It was not on sand but on the deepest toils that you laid the foundation of your ascetic life, All blessed one, and built an unshakeable tower of virtues.
The roughest rope your bodys lot to nail it to the fear of the spirit, you found, O Venerable one, the allotment of a divine inheritance.
The hidden passions of the body ebbed away in rotting decay, that even the worms feared you as you slept.
Imitating the life-giving Dead after his voluntary passion, as in a tomb you placed yourself in a gloomy well.
Immaculate Mary, implore the God whom you bore to grant your servants pardon of their offences.
Ode 5. Enlighten us.
Christ showed you, Symeon, to be a new Daniel; for, through a revelation, he brought you unharmed from a pit infested with wild beasts.
Offering your whole self to the Lord, you bared yourself to the hostile elements of snow, ice and heat.
You were shown to be a new Moses and a new Elias, throughout your life living for the forty days on one meal, venerable Father.
Ever implore your Son and our God, pure Mary who knew not wedlock, to send down his mercy upon us the faithful.
Ode 6. Grant me a tunic.
Blessed Father, Christ displayed you as a worker of signs and wonders, having shown you to be a dwelling place of divine force.
Your body was raised on the column as on a cross; therefore you have been glorified with Christ who was raised on a tree for your sake.
Having found a pathway in the air, inspired Symeon, bring up to the heights of heaven those who faithfully sing your praise.
We the faithful declare you, Mother of God, to be the temple and ark of God, living bridal chamber and gate of heaven.
Ode 7. Youths who honoured God.
You ended a drought for the despairing and opened for them the gates of rain, you steadied the shaken land, and taught peoples to cry: Blessed is the God of our fathers!
As a mighty beacon of the Church and sun of many lights, O Symeon, you sent out beams in all directions, enlightened peoples and taught them to cry: Blessed is the God of our fathers!
Streams flowing together from every side, a sea of men welded together in the fold of your ascetic discipline, Servant of Christ, was taught by you to cry out: Blessed is the God of our fathers!
Of old in the arms of the Elder, but now in the tables of your heart, Venerable Symeon, Christ took his rest by his invisible power; therefore you cried: Blessed is the God of our fathers!
It was fitting for him who took flesh without seed to come forth from you, immaculate Virgin; for you, O Pure one, brought forth him who surpasses all things, to whom with hymns we shout and cry: Blessed is the God of our fathers!
Ode 8. The One glorified in the holy mountain.
Having left every attachment and pitying a mothers weakness, as though living, you appeared after death, crying out: Praise the Lord and highly exalt him to all the ages.
You gave strength to a paralysed sick youth and ordered him to carry the tribal chief like his bed on his shoulders as he praised the Lord and highly exalted him to all the ages.
The One who made Job shine brightly through suffering, O servant of Christ, turned you, when your flesh was suppurating with rottenness, into a priceless pearl, as he glorified you, Symeon, to all the ages.
At Symeons entreaties, Master, you summoned a boastful robber chief, as of old Thief on the Tree; therefore we praise you and highly exalt you to all the ages.
Virgin Mother of God, who received the Angels Hail!, bore the Lord of glory and made the light dawn on the world, we all hymn you and glorify you.
Ode 9. The One revealed on the mountain
As one who had shown himself a king through steadfastness in sufferings, godly Symeon, Christ approved you as sharer of his royal rule; therefore in hymns we magnify you.
Granted the grace of healing from the inexhaustible treasury of the Spirit, godly Symeon, you reward with healings those who celebrate your memory.
You walked the path of heavenly virtue, you displayed the prize from on high, you have reached the heavenly dwellings: intercede that our souls may be saved.
You were shown, O Virgin, to be the bush that burned yet was not consumed by fire, by conceiving without seed the God and Saviour of the world, whom we unceasingly magnify.
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This page was last updated on 03 November 2008