« ElőzőTovább »
ST. SYMEON SALOS.
would have been quite out of sympathy, sa, and had reached Jericho, when John, with many of the peculiarly distinctive reining in his horse, bade the caravan Christian doctrines, though there are, as proceed, whilst he and his comrade I have shown, several points of contact Symeon tarried behind. The two young between his ideas and those which we men flung themselves from their horses commonly associate with Christianity. on the coarse grass. In the distance, To those who feel that it is interesting near Jordan, glimmered the white walls to trace such connections, and to find of a monastery, and a track led towards much of our modern thought anticipated it from the main road followed by the in curious and unexpected ways, his es- caravan. says will be by no means an unattrac “What place is that ? ” asked Symeon. tive study.
“ It is the home of angels." W. J. BRODRIBB. “ Are the angels visible ?” Symeon
Only to those who elect to follow their manner of life," answered John, and
descanted to his companion on the From Fraser's Magazine. charms of a monastic life. ** Let us cast
lots," he said, “ whether we shall follow
the road to the convent, or that which BY THE REV. S. BARING-GOULD, M.A.
the caravan has pursued." They cast In the modern Roman Martyrology we lots, and the decision was for the life of find on July 1 St. Symeon Salos given as angels. a confessor, approved by Rome as So they turned into the road that led to model for Christians to take example by. Jordan and the monastery, and as they M. Wratislaw has lately drawn attention went they encouraged each other. For, to St. John Nepomucen, and has shown we are told, John feared lest the lore how careless Rome has been in her as- Symeon bore to his old widowed mother sertions about the circumstances and the would draw him back, and Symeon dreaddate of his martyrdom. The case of St. ed the effects of the remembrance of the Symeon Salos also deserves attention. fair young bride on John.
The life of this saintly personage comes On reaching the monastery, which was to us on excellent authority. The patron that of St. Gerasimus, the abbot, named of Symeon in Edessa, and the witness of Nicon, received them cordially, and gave his acts, was a certain simple-minded them a long address on the duties and John the Deacon. Leontius, Bishop of excellencies of the monastic life. Then Neapolis in Cyprus, whose Apology for both fell at his feet and besought him at Sacred Images was accepted and ap- once to shear off their hair. The abbot proved by the Second Council of Nicæa, ( hesitated, and spoke to each in private, was acquainted with this John the Dea- urging a delay of a year, but Symeon con, and from his account of the doings boldly said, “My companion may wait, of Symeon wrote the life, in Greek, which but I cannot. If you will not shear my has come down to us entire. It is one of head at once, I will go to some other the most curious and instructive of early monastery where they are less scrupuChristian biographies.
lous.” Then he added, “Father, I pray Evagrius, the historian, also a contem- thee, ask the Lord to be gracious to and porary of Symeon, makes mention of him strengthen my comrade John, that the rein his Church History (lib. iv. c. 34). membrance of his young wife, to whom
The story of Symeon is as follows : has been only lately married, draw him
In the reign of the Emperor Justinian, not back.” two young Syrians came to Jerusalem to And when the abbot spoke to Joha, assist at the Feast of the Exaltation of “My father," said he, “pray for my comthe Holy Cross. The name of one was rade Symeon, who has a widowed mother John, and the name of the other was Sym- of eighty years, and they have been ineon. John, a young man of two and separable night and day; he dearly loves twenty, was accompanied by his bride, a her, and has been wont never to leave beautiful and wealthy girl, to whom he the old woman alone for two hours in the had been very lately married, and by his day. I fear me lest his love for his old father. With Symeon was his wid- mother make him take his hand from the owed mother, aged eighty.
plough and look back.” The festival having terminated, the So the abbot cut off their hair, and pilgrims started on their return to Edes-'promised on the morrow to clothe them
with the religious habit. Then some of their society; and lest the body, wasted the members crowding round them con- with fasting here, surfeit there. Beware, gratulated the neophytes that on the mor- also, lest laughter take the place of gravrow “they would be regenerated and ity, and worldly solicitude break up the cleansed from all sin.” The young men, serenity of the soul.” unaccustomed to monastic language, were He had good cause to give this advice, alarmed, thinking that they were about to as the sequel proves; but Symeon gave be re-baptized, and went to the abbot to re- no heed to the exhortation, answering, monstrate. He allayed their apprehen-“ Fear not for me, brother ; I am not actsions by explaining to them that the ing on my own impulse, but on a Divine monks alluded to their putting on the call.” angelic habit.”
Then they wept on one another's shoulJohn and Symeon did not long remain ders, and Symeon promised to revisit his in the abbey before a wish came upon friend before he died. them to leave it. Accordingly, in the John accompanied Symeon a little way, night, they made their escape, and ram- and then again they wept and embraced, bled in the desert to the east of the Dead and after that John sorrowfully returned Sea, till they lighted on a cave which had to his cell, and Symeon set his face toonce been tenanted by a hermit, but was wards the world, and came to Jerusalem. now without inhabitant. The date-palms He spent three days in the Holy City, and vegetables in the garden grew un- visiting the sacred sites, and then went touched, and the friends settled in the to Emesa. cave to follow the lives of the desert sol Hitherto his life had been, if not altoitaries.
gether commendable, yet at least respectTheir peace of mind was troubled for able. But from this point his character long by thoughts of the parent and wife changes. He simulated madness, his bileft behind. “ O Lord, comfort my old ographer says, with the motive of drawmother," was the incessant prayer of ing down on himself the ridicule of the Symeon; “O Lord, dry the tears of my world. Unfortunately, it is abundantly young wife,” was the supplication of clear, from the testimony of his panegyrJohn. At length Symeon had a dream in ist, that his mad sanctity was put on to which he saw the death of his mother, cloak a licentious life, and to enable him and shortly after John was comforted by to carry on the most infamous of all trafa vision which assured him that his wife fics. was no more.
Yet this scoundrel is venerated by After a while Symeon informed his Greeks and Russians as a saint, and Carcomrade that he could not rest in the dinal Baronius with culpable negligence cave, but that he was resolved to serve introduced his name into the modern RoGod in the city. He felt there were souls man Martyrology, and Papal infallibility to be saved in the world, and that he had has thrown the mantle of sanctity over a call to labour for their conversion. his unsavory acts.
This announcement filled John with Alban Butler, the Père Giry, and the dismay. He wept, and intreated Symeon Abbé Guérin, and indeed all Roman Catlınot to desert him. “What shall I do olic hagiographers, give the former part alone, in this wild ocean of sand ? O my of this history with some detail, and draw brother, I thought that death alone would a curtain of pious platitudes over the sechave separated us, and now thou tearest ond act of the drama. They state that thyself away of thine own will. Thou the saint made himself a fool for Christ, knowest I have forsaken all my kindred, but are very careful not to give the parand I have thee only, my brother, and ticulars of his folly. will my brother desert me?”
It is hardly necessary to point out how “Dó thou, John, remember me in thy untrue to history, how morally dishonest, prayers here in the desert, whilst I strug- such a course is. gle in the world ; and I will also pray for The Jesuit Fathers, who continued the thee. But go I must.”
work of Bollandus, give the original " Then,” said John, solemnly,“ be on Greek Life in their volume for July, but thy guard, brother Symeon, lest what with searchings of heart." If,” say they, thou hast acquired in the desert be lost “our lucubrations could be confined to in the world ; lest what silence has such small space as would suffice to give wrought, bustle destroy. Above all, be- only the lives of those men whose memware test that modesty, which seclusion ory is edifying and deserves imitation, from women has fostered, fail thee in never for a moment would it have entered
into our heads to give and illustrate the resembled one on a Sunday abroad at the life of St. Symeon Salos. For towards present day, for it was full of stalls for the close of that life many things occur, the sale of cakes.* In rushing from the silly, stupid, absurd, scandalous to the ig- church officials, he knocked over the norant, and to the learned and better stalls, and the sellers beat him so unmereducated worthy of laughter rather than cifully for his pains that he groaned in of faith."
himself: “Humble Symeon ; verily, verBut the unfortunate Bollandists were ily, they will maul the life out of you in not at liberty to avoid the unpleasant task, an hour !” as Symeon figured among the Saints of A seller of sour wine † saw him racing the Roman Calendar in these words : round the market-place, and, being in “At Emesa (on July 1) St. Symeon, Con- want of a servant, hailed him, and said, fessor, surnamed Salos, who became a “Here, fellow; if you want a job, sell fool for Christ. But God manifested his pulse for me." lofty wisdom by great miracles.” July I “I am ready," answered Symeon. So is a mistake for July 21, the day on which he gave him pulse and beans and peas to St. Symeon is venerated in the East. Ba- sell, but the hermit, who had eaten poth. ronius was misled by a faulty manuscript ing for a week, devoured the whole of the Life which gave a for ka, as the day amount. on which the saint died. It is a pity that, “This will never do," said the mistress when he was transferring the day, he did of the house ; “the abbot eats more than not place St. Symeon Salos on the more he sells. Here, fellow, what money have appropriate Ist of April.
you taken ? " The only way in which I can account Symeon had neither money nor vegefor this insertion in the Calendar is that tables to show, so the woman turned him Baronius read the first part of the Life, out of the house. The monk placidly and was pleased with it, and did not trou- seated himself on the doorstep, and proble himself to conclude the somewhat ceeded to offer up his evening devotions. lengthy manuscript. He therefore placed But these were not complete without the Symeon in his new Roman Martyrology, ritual adjunct of smoking incense. Sy which received the approbation and im- meon looked about for a broken pot in primature of Pope Sixtus V. and after which to put some cinders; but finding wards of Benedict XIV.
none, he took some lighted charcoal in The Martyrology for the day is read at the palm of his hand, and strewed a few Prime in all religious houses.
grains of incense upon it. The mistress But to return to St. Symeon.
of the house, smelling the fumes, looked On reaching the outskirts of Emesa, out of the window, and exclaimed, “ GraSymeon found on a dung-heap, a dead, cious Heaven! Abbot Symeon, are you half-putrefied dog. He unwound his gir- making a thurible of your hand?” At dle and attached the dog with it to his that moment the charcoal began to burn foot, and so entered the gate of the city his palm, and he threw the ashes into the and passed before a boys' school. The lap of his coarse goat's hair mantle. attention of the children was at once di The taverner and his wife were so verted from their books, and, in spite of moved by the piety of Symeon, that they the expostulation of their preceptor, they received him into the house, and emrushed out of school after Salos, like a ployed him in selling vegetables, which swarm of wasps, shouting, “ Heigh! here duty he executed satisfactorily when his
a crack-brained" abbot!” and appetite was not exacting. They speedkicked the dog and slapped the monk. ily found that Silly Symeon drew custom
Next day was Sunday. Symeon en- ers to their house, for Symeon laid himtered the church with a bag of nuts be- self out to divert them, and it became the fore him, and during the celebration of rage for a time in Emesa for folk to visit the Divine mysteries threw nuts at the the tavern, saying, “ We must have our candles and extinguished several of them. dinner and wine where that comical fool Then running up into the ambone or pul- lives." pit, he threw nuts at the women in the One day Symeon Salos saw a serpent congregation, and hit them in their faces. put its head into one of the wine pitchers Laughter and outcries interrupted the sacred service, and Symeon was expelled
Έστρεψον τα ταβλία των πλακουνταρίων. . the church not, however, without offering + Είς φουσκάριος. a sturdy resistance.
1 Εις θεός, αββά Συμεών, εις τον χείρα σου Outside, the market-place must have 'oupeeģis;
in the tavern and drink. He took a stick son his head, he stalked down the and broke the pitcher, thinking that the crowded thoroughfare. serpent had spit poison into the wine. The baths were divided into two parts, The publican was angry with Symeon for one for women, the other formen. breaking the amphora, and, catching the Symeon ran towards the women's enstick out of his hand, cudgelled the poor trance. monk with it, without listening to his ex “Not that way!" shouted the Deacon planation. On the morrow the serpent in alarm ; " the other side is for men.” again entered the tavern, and went to the “Hot water here, hot water there," anwine jars. The host saw it this time, and swered Symeon ; "one is as good as the rushed after it with a stick, upsetting and other;” and throwing down his bundle, breaking several amphoræ.“ Ha, ha !” he bounded into the ladies' compartment, exclaimed Symeon, peeping out from be- and splashed in amongst the female bathhind the door, where he had concealed ers. himself, “who is the biggest fool to The women screamed, flew on him,
beat, scratched, pushed him, and drove The taverner did not show much kind-him ignominiously forth. ness to Symeon ; but this is hardly to be The biographer gravely informs us that wondered at, when we hear that, sum- on another occasion an unbelieving Jew moned to his wife's bedroom by her cries, saw Symeon privately bathing with two one night, he found it invaded by the “ angels,” and would have told what he saint, who was deliberately undressing in had seen had not Salos silenced him. It it for bed. This he did, says Leontius, was only after the death of the saint that Bishop of Neapolis, in order to lower the the Jew related the circumstance. The high opinion entertained of him by his Christians concluded that the two lovely master.t After this, as may well be be- forms with whom Symeon was enjoying a lieved, the taverner told the tale over his dip were angels.
" To such a pass of cups with much laughter to his guests, purity and impassibility had the saint atand with confusion to his man. In Lent tained," continues the Bishop of Neapothe saint devoured flesh, but would not lis," that he often led the dance in public touch bread. “ He is possessed,” said with an actress on each arm ; he romped the inn-keeper; "he insulted my wife, and with actresses, and by no means infrehe eats meat in Lent like an infidel."
quently allowed them to tickle his ribs In Emesa he picked up a certain John and sláp him.” * the Deacon, who admired his proceed Indeed, his biographer tells ings. To this John, the saint related the stories of his association with very fallen events of his former life; and from John, angels, which are anything but edifying. Leontius heard the story.
His antics in the streets and marketOne day John the Deacon was on his place became daily more outrageous. way to the public baths, when he met "Sometimes he pretended to hobble as Symeon. “ You will be all the better for if he were lame, sometimes he capered, a wash, my friend," said the Deacon; sometimes he dragged himself along to come with me to the baths."
the seats, then he tripped up the passers“ With all my heart," answered the by, and sent them sprawling; sometimes monk, and he forth with peeled off his at the rising of the moon he would roll clothes, wrapped them in a bundle, and on the ground kicking. Sometimes he set them on his head.
pretended to speak incoherently, for he “My brother !” exclaimed the Deacon, said that this above all things suited “put on your clothes again. I cannot those who were made fools for Christ. walk with in the public street in this By this means he often refuted vice, or condition.
spat forth his bile against certain per“Very well, friend, then I will walk sons, with a view to their correction." first, and you can follow.” And stark
A Count, living near Emesa, heard naked, bearing his bundle "like a faggot” of him, and said, “I will find out whether
the fellow is a hypocrite or not.” * Τι εστιν εξηχε, ίδε, ουκ ειμι εγώ μόνος απέρ As it happened, when the Count enYas.
tered the city, he found Symeon's house1 θέλων ουν ο Όσιος αναλύσαι την οικοδομής αυτού, ίνα μη θριαμβούση αυτόν, εν μιά κοιμωμένης της γυναικός αυτού μόνης, κακείνου προβάλλοντος "Ωστε έστιν ότε εβαλλον τας χείρας αυτών τα οίνον, επέβη προς αυτήν ο αββάς Συμεών, και άσεμνα γύναια εις τον κόλπον αυτού, και εσίαιιον, έχηματίσατο αποδύεσθαι το ιμάτιον αυτού, κ.τ.λ. και εκόπταζον, και έγαργάλιζον αυτόν.
keeper * had hoisted her master upon her One Lord's Day, Symeon was given a back, whilst another young woman ad- chain of sausages.* He hung it over ministered to him a severe castigation his shoulders like a stole, and filled his with a leather strap. The Count, we are left hand with mustard. He ate all day told, went away much scandalized. Salos at the sausages, flavouring them with the wriggled off his housekeeper's back, ran mustard, and smearing his face with it. after the Count, struck him on the cheek, This highly amused a rustic, who mocked then stripped off his own clothes, and him. Symeon rushed at him, and threw danced in complete nudity before him up, the mustard in his eyes. The man cried the street and down again.
with pain, and Symeon bade him wash Passing some girls dancing one day, the mustard out of his eyes with vinegar. and noticing that some of them had a Now it happened that this man was sufcast in their
eyes, he said, “My dears, let fering from ophthalmia, and the mustard me kiss your pretty eyes and cure you of and vinegar applied to his eyes loosered your squint.”
the white film that was forming over One or two of the young women per- them, and it peeled off, and thus the mitted him to kiss them, and, we are as- man was cured. sured, were cured ; after which, all the Symeon had long ago left the service girls who thought they had something of the publican, and had taken a small the matter with their eyes ran after cottage, which was only furnished with a Symeon to have theirs kissed. The bundle of faggots and a housekeeper. deacon John invited him to dinner one John the Deacon supplied him with food, day. Symeon went, and devoured raw but somehow Symeon managed to secure bacon which was hanging up in the chim- a store of excellent provisions, and the ney, instead of what was provided for the beggars and tramps of the town were guests. Symeon was fond of frequenting accustomed to assemble in his hut occathe houses of the wealthy, where, says his sionally for a grand feast. John the biographer, he sported with and kissed Deacon unexpectedly dropped in on one the maids.t
of these revels, and wondered where the Two Fathers were troubled that Origen " white wheaten bread, cheese-cakes, should be regarded as a heretic, and they buns, fish, and wine of all sorts, dry and asked the hermit John the reason. John sweet, and, in short, whatsoever is to be bade them enquire of Symeon in Emesa. found most dainty," t had come from, On reaching Emesa they found the monk which Symeon and his pretty housekeeper in the tavern, with a bowl of boiled pulse were serving out to the beggars and their before him, eating as voraciously as a wives. But when Symeon assured him bear." “What is the use of consulting that these good things had come down this Gnostic ?” said one of the Fathers; straight from heaven in answer to prayer, "he knows nothing but how to crunch the Deacon went away wondering and pulse.”
edified. In the same way Symeon always “What is the matter with the pulse ?” had his pockets full of money. We find asked Symeon, starting up and boxing him bribing a woman of bad character to the hermit on the ears so that his face be his companion with a hundred gold bore the mark for three days. “The pieces. Many of these ladies sought pulse has been soaking for forty days, his society with eagerness, " for," says and is soft enough, I warrant ye! As for his pious biographer, “he was always your Origen, he can't eat pulse, for he is showing them large sums of money, for at the bottom of the sea. “And now take he had as much as he wanted, God always this for your pains !” and he flung the invisibly supplying him with funds for his scalding pulse in their faces. His reason, purpose." Whence came this money? Leontius tells us, was to prevent them for what purpose was it used? Why from telling all men how he had read was the saint so continually found in the their purpose before they had spoken society of these women, or among the about Origen.
female servants of the wealthy citizens ? * Έβάσταζεν αυτόν μία προϊσταμενή, και άλλη ελώριζεν, αυτόν.
Σιράν σαλσικίων. . + Πολλάκις δε προσποιείσθαι καταφιλείν τας δού t Σιλιγνια, και πλακούντας, και σφαίρια, και λας. No wonder if one of them said «Ο Σαλός Συ- όψάρια, και οινάρια διάφορα, ψαθήρια, και γλικι, μειώνεβάσατό με.” The maid's mistress indignantly και απλώς όσα πάντα έχει ο βίος λιμά. gcolded Symeon, who replied with a smile, “'ADES, + Έστι γαρ οτε και του το έλεγε προς μίαν των ίφες, ταπεινή, άρτι γεννά σου, και έχεις μικρόν εταιρίδων: θέλεις έχει σε φίλην και δίδω σοι εκατον Συμεών.”