Church of Saint Simeon Stylites

The Church of Saint Simeon Stylites (Arabic: كنيسة مار سمعان العموديknīset mār semʕān l-ʕamūdī) is a well preserved church that dates back to the 5th century, located about 30 km northwest of Aleppo, Syria. It is built on the site of the pillar of St. Simeon Stylites, a famed hermit monk.

History

Main article: Simeon Stylites

St. Simeon was born in 386 AD in a village in the Amanus Mountains. He joined a monastery in this area, but soon decided to seek the religious life alone as a hermit monk. After living in an cave for a little while, he relocated to the top of a pillar eventually reaching 15 meters high to achieve greater seclusion. He soon attracted even greater crowds who came from far and near to hear him preach twice a day.

After 37 years atop his pillar, St. Simeon died in 459. His body was ceremoniously escorted to Antioch by seven bishops and several hundred soldiers, followed by a throng of devoted followers. Simeon's grave in Antioch became a major site of pilgrimage, and so did his pillar on the rocky bluff where he had spent the last four decades of his life.

Within just a few decades (c.475), a vast martyrium was built in Simeon's honor on this site. It consisted of four basilicas radiating from the sides of a central octagon, within which was enshrined the famous column.

The 5,000 square meters of floor space was nearly equal to that of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Yet, quite unlike Hagia Sophia, the Church of St. Simeon was (and is) perched atop a barren hill 60 km from the nearest city. But it was not isolated: the church was only one part of a huge, walled complex that included a monastery, two lesser churches, and several large hostels.

Current status

St. Simeon's pillar can still be seen in the center of the courtyard, although it is now only a 2 meter-high boulder due to centuries of relic-gathering by pilgrims. The courtyard is surrounded by four basilicas on a cruciform plan.

The east basilica is slightly larger than the others; it was the most important and held all the major ceremonies. Adjacent to the south wall of the eastern basilica is the chapel and the monastery.

Opposite the southern basilica is the baptistery, which was built a little after the main church but is an important part of the pilgrimage complex. To the west of the baptistery is the processional route that leads towards Deir Samaan.

Gallery

References

  • Gary Vikan, Byzantine Pilgrimage Art (Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 1982), 8-9.
  • Simeon Citadel and Dead Cities, Suggestion to have Saint Simeon Stylites recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site, in 2006, as part of "Simeon Citadel and Dead Cities"-project.
  • "St. Simeon Church." Syria Gate (accessed 2008).
  • Sacred Destinations
Listed in the following categories:
Post a comment
Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
There are no tips nor hints for Church of Saint Simeon Stylites yet. Maybe be you will be the first one to post useful information for fellow travellers? :)
6.4/10
1,026 people have been here

Hotels nearby

See all hotels See all
Güngör Ottoman Palace Thermal Spa & Congress

starting $75

Ottoman Palace

starting $0

Nakadanaso

starting $158

Anemon Hotel Antakya

starting $46

Savon Hotel

starting $66

Jasmin Konak Otel

starting $44

Recommended sights nearby

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Junblatt Palace

Junblatt Palace (العربية. 'قصر جنبلاط'); originally Janpolad Palace

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Al-Halawiyah Madrasa

Al-Halawiyah Madrasa (Arabic: المدرسة الحلاوية‎) is a madrasah complex

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Citadel of Aleppo

The Citadel of Aleppo (العربية. قلعة حلب) is a large medieval fort

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Syrian Gates

The Syrian Gates, also known as the Belen Pass (Turkish: Belen

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Ebla

Ebla (Arabic: عبيل، إيبلا‎, modern Tell Mardikh, Syria) was an anci

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Antakya

Antakya (العربية. انطاكية, Anṭākyä; Ελληνικά. Ἀντιόχε

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Sabkhat al-Jabbul

Sabkhat al-Jabbūl or Mamlahat al-Jabbūl or Lake Jabbūl (Arabic: سب

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Bourzey castle

Bourzey castle is called also Mirza castle, (Arabic قلعة مير

Similar tourist attractions

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is the best known acropolis (Gr. akros, akron,

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Persepolis

Persepolis (Шаблон:Audio Old Persian: Pārsa, Modern Persian: تخت جم

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Temple of Athena Nike

Nike means 'victory' in Greek, and Athena was worshiped in this form,

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Pikchu, 'Old Peak', pronounced ]) is a

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Petra

Petra (Greek 'πέτρα' (petra), meaning rock; Arabic: البت

See all similar places