By Gary Vikan

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He puts a question to the priest: “What do you prefer: this eulogia that St. ” At this point Symeon extends his right hand and gives the priest his eulogia, then, revealing his identity, scolds him for his lack of faith. 38 Our priest was probably no different from any other pilgrim; if free to choose he would naturally favor direct contact with the saint, and specifically, the imposition of Symeon’s right hand. But this was not always possible. By necessity the ailing, house-bound pilgrim came to rely on a series of intermediary agents, each at one remove from the saint himself.

35 To understand why a scene from the life of Christ, and specifically the Baptism, should be placed next to the column of Symeon the Younger, one should first consider the special typological relationship that existed between this saint and his Lord. The text of the Vita leaves no doubt that Symeon’s appearance and behavior on the column were expressly parallel to that of Christ on the Cross. When, at the age of seven, Symeon mounted his first column, the Lord appeared to him in a vision, telling him that his stasis or “station” atop the pillar was to be a mode of crucifixion in imitation of His own (Anc.

Then he turns to his father and says: “Get up quickly, throw on incense, and pray, for the Servant of God, St. ” Symeon appears to the boy in a vision and does battle with the demon that possesses him. Soon, of course, the demon is defeated and the son is returned to good health. Other miracles, though in less detail, suggest the same scenario; namely, that a vision of the saint was instrumental to the miraculous cure. In Miracle 118, for example, a hemorrhaging woman from Cilicia invokes Symeon’s aid with the words: “If only I see your image I will be saved,” while Miracle 163 describes a healing accomplished in Antioch by means of blessed dust: Instantly the paralytic was healed, after having invoked the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by the intermediary of his saintly servant Symeon, whom he saw with his own eyes under the aspect of a long-haired monk, who extended his hand and put him upright ....

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