Saint of the Day – 11 December – Saint Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople (c 409–493) Priest, Monk, Abbot, Hermit, miracle-worker – born in c 409 at Maratha, Syria and died in 493 near Constantinople of natural causes.
Daniel was born in Maratha, Syria in 409 and became a monk in nearby Samosata on the Upper Euphrates. He learned of St Simeon Stylite, who lived on a pillar at Antioch and twice went to see him twice.
At the age of forty-two, Daniel decided that he too wanted to become a stylite (from the Greek word “stylos”, meaning pillar) and live on a pillar at a spot near Constantinople.
Emperor Leo I, built a series of pillars with a platform on top for him and Daniel was ordained there by St Gennadius. The saint quickly became an attraction for the people. He celebrated the Eucharist on his pillar, preached sermons, dispensed spiritual advice and cured the sick who were brought up to him. He also gave prudent counsel to Emperors Leo and Zeno and the Patriarch of Constantinople.
All the while, Daniel lived his particular type of pillar spirituality. He came down from his perch only once in thirty-three years – to turn Emperor Baliscus away from backing the heresy of Monophysitism.
Daniel died in 493 and after St Simeon, became the best-known and venerated Stylite.
The life of St Daniel the Stylite is an apt reminder that there are many ways to live the spiritual life. All of us have our own way to be close to God everyday. Our task is to find that way and follow it to the very end.