Lives of the Saints
The Life of Daniel The Stylite
From Three Byzantine Saints: Contemporary Biographies of St. Daniel the Stylite, St.
Theodore of Sykeon and St. John the Almsgiver, trans. Elizabeth Dawes, and
introductions and notes by Norman H. Baynes, (London: 1948)
by Norman H. Baynes
THESE simple biographies of three Byzantine saints should speak for themselves:
they need no lengthy preface or elaborate annotation. A brief introduction will suffice.
During the period of persecution the virtues of the Christian champions of the faith
had been recorded in the Acts of the Martyrs, of those who had borne the supreme
witness to their Lord in the surrender of their life. But when persecution had ceased
in the fourth century it was by his life and not by his death that the Christian
established his loyalty to his Master, and the record of the conflict with evil and the
passionate struggle towards perfection created a new type of literature. So far as we
know, it was Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, who in his life of Antony, 'the first
monk', originated the model for this new literary form. He chose as his theme the
ascent of the saint from strength to strength in his pilgrimage towards the ultimate
goal-the vision of God. And this development in the spiritual life of the Christian
'athlete' determined the traditional shape of the biography of the Byzantine saint.
To enter into the thought-world of the Byzantine ascetic one must always be
conscious of the biblical background which forms its presupposition. From the first
Christianity has been an other-worldly faith: in this present world the Christian had
no abiding city, he was a sojourner awaiting the coming of One Who should make all
things new. The Christian had been assured (John 12:31, 14:30) that the ruler of this
world was the Prince of Evil who had no part in Christ. In this life with its besetting
cares the ascetic heard his Master's words-'If thou wouldst be perfect'-as they were
read in church, and the passion for a fuller discipleship carried the day. It is the glory
of the early Church that it never succumbed to the temptation to restrict salvation to
the learned-the Christian gnostic; the gate for the simple-the 'little ones' of the
Gospel-even with the Alexandrian thinkers always remained open. The Church of the
third century thus came to develop a double morality: there was one ethical standard
for the ordinary Christian living his life in the world and another standard for those
who 'saying goodbye' to the world sought the high goal of perfection. For that life the
Christian had to go into 'training' (askesis), he became an 'ascetic', and it was to the
ascetic that the common folk of the Byzantine world looked with wonder and
The battle waged by the ascetic is a struggle on a double front-against his own body
and against the forces of the demons. It is sometimes said that 'the animal instincts
are morally neutral', but it was not thus that the Christian saint regarded the body:
he was constantly reminded of the strength of the lusts of the body and of its
sadistic passions. The body was an enemy which only the sternest contest could
subdue. Paul had said, 'I give my body a black eye and reduce it to slavery', and this
was the aim which inspired the Byzantine ascetic. The biographer of St. Luke the
Stylite appropriates the language of Paul: the task of the saint was 'the strangling of
the body'. The good fight might last for many a long year, but in the end victory was
possible, the body would be forced to surrender and to come to terms with the soul.
Thereafter for the saint the body ceased to have a moral significance, it was no
longer a source of temptation.
'Unto you', Christ had said to His chosen disciples, 'unto you it is given to know the
mystery of the kingdom of God', and it was initiation into that mystery that the
Byzantine ascetic sought. Antony immured himself in a deserted fort; after twenty
years when those who were determined to see the holy man had broken down the
door of his retreat, Antony came forth 'as from some secret shrine, initiated into the
mysteries and indwelt by God', and straightway the divine grace manifested itself in
miracles of healing. The author of the biography of St. Luke writing in the tenth
century uses the same language of the moment when the saint left the cave in which
he had been confined and then similarly obtains from God a special gift-the gift of
perfect endurance.
But even though the saint might win the battle over the body, the attacks of the
demons did not cease-they lasted until death, for the pride o£ the demons did not
permit them to confess that their efforts were fruitless. But the saint had won
through to a new confidence: he knew that with God's aid the demons were
powerless to harm-he could laugh them to scorn.
Further, if we are to realize the significance of these records of the achievements of
Byzantine saints we must seek to understand something of what these 'holy men'
meant for the folk of their own day. To the East Roman Christ had become the
Pantokrator, the all-powerful Sovereign, throned in glory. The figure of the Christ as
it was represented in the mosaics of Byzantine churches was so majestic and remote
that common folk felt that they needed a mediator who would represent them in the
courts of Heaven. The humanity of the Saviour tended to be obscured by the
splendour of the Second Person of the Trinity. The religion of the Byzantine world is
thus a religion of mediation, but it is to the ascetic saint rather than to the priest
that the East Roman turns. When you feel that death is near it is to the saint on his
pillar that you look for a letter which shall grant you absolution from past sins; the
saint, even without your asking, may send you such a letter. The saint has liberty of
access, freedom of speech in the heavenly places. He can perform the task of acting
as ambassador for humble people.
And the saint's services are not confined to the other world, to this world, too, the
saint is a very present help in time of trouble. He can defend those who are without
influence against the injustice of the powerful: he can even admonish emperors. The
only thing which an emperor can take from an ascetic is his life, and if his life were
taken, he would as a martyr be but the more dangerous, and emperors were unwilling
to run that risk. The ascetic saint was not only the people's champion against
injustice, he was the source of a healing power more potent than that of any doctor.
Through his conflict with evil and victory over the demons he had been granted the
grace of healing-the power to fulfil the apostolic commission to heal the sick and to
cast out demons. The Byzantine could claim divine authority for his belief in these
miracles of healing. Jesus had promised: 'he that believeth on me the works that I do
shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto the
Father'. A Byzantine writer recording the miracles of Saints Cosmas and Damian-the
saints who had vowed to take no gift however small from those whom they had
healed-reminds the reader that nowhere are we told that Christ's shadow worked a
miracle of healing, but we do know that men and women brought forth the sick into
the streets and laid them on beds and couches that at the least the shadow of Peter
as he passed by might fall on some of them and they were healed. 'If thou canst
believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' God's power was not
straitened; if miracles had been performed in earlier days, a living God must still be
active in the world which He had created. To deny that beneficent activity was to
make Christ a liar.
And such an assurance was of daily significance when man was beset with uncounted
demons on every side. It needs some imagination to recover a sense of the burden
which this belief in the universal presence of the demons must have laid upon men.
If we believed that the myriad bacilli about us were each and all inspired by a
conscious will to injure man we might then gain a realization of the constant menace
which broods over human life in the biographies of Byzantine saints. The sign of the
Cross and the succour of the 'holy man', these were the East Roman's stand-by in a
dangerous world. We can still catch the echo of the excitement and enthusiasm of
the disciples as they returned from their first missionary journey: 'Lord, Lord', they
cried, 'even the demons are subject to us in Thy name.' This subjection of the
demons was the supreme test of the virtue of the Gospel which they had been
commissioned to declare. Preaching that Gospel and driving out demons formed from
the first but two sides of one and the same divine commission and both tasks are in
our own day still undertaken by the Christian missionary.
The saint's healing could be carried to the sick by many different means: just as
'from Paul's body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the
diseases departed from them', so the Byzantine saint would send the towel with
which he had washed his hands, telling the sufferer to tear up the towel and make
little crosses of it; when these had been nailed up on door and window in the name
of the Trinity the demon would find entry barred. Or the saint would send a
'benediction' of consecrated bread and water, or the water in which he had washed
his hands or a fragment of his leathern girdle. It might be the image of the pillar
saint or a little holy dust from the foot of the pillar, it mattered not provided only
that the 'power' of the saint was conveyed to the sufferer, the 'power' which was
God's gift. Or in some cases healing came through sleeping in the church or oratory
dedicated to the saint who appeared in dream to the faithful and either cured them
or gave directions how they should be cured. This seeking of a miraculous cure
through sleeping close by the relics of the saint-'incubation'-is still practised in the
churches of Southern Europe.
East Roman asceticism took many forms and we have sought to illustrate that
diversity in the choice of biographies to be translated. St. John the Almsgiver was the
Patriarch of Alexandria in a time of crisis during the early years of the seventh
century; St. Theodore the Sykeote represents life amongst the peasantry of Anatolia
at the end of the sixth century, while Daniel, the pillar saint, brought to the
neighbourhood of Constantinople the peculiar form of the ascetic life which St.
Simeon had devised for himself in Syria. Daniel stationed on the European shore of
the Bosphorus, is in close touch with the Patriarch, with successive emperors and
with the people in the capital. In the present book we have not included any
descriptions of life in the community of a monastery.
Byzantine literature is aristocratic: it centres in the life of Constantinople, while in
language and style it is dominated by the traditions derived from the masterpieces of
the classical period. It is through the biographies of East Roman saints that we can
form some picture of the life of the province, some understanding of the thought-
world of those humble folk who appear so rarely in the works of writers whose
interests are urban, who are closely linked with the life of the imperial court.
If for you a world where miracles happen is hopelessly and irredeemably repellent,
East Rome will remain a closed book. Moreover, you must not bring to the study of
Byzantine asceticism a delicate and queasy stomach; you must banish from your
mind the curious western notion that cleanliness is next to godliness. You must be
prepared to accept the sanctity of dirt, the virtue of 'alousia', abstention from
washing. The modern cult of the body must be for a while forgotten. But when you
have liberated yourself from inherited prejudices, then you will be free to sympathize
with the devotion which inspired these contemners of the body, who sought through
penitential suffering to attain to peace of soul (ataraxia) and through that peace to
union with God.
The background of miracle in these biographies is omnipresent; students may find of
service some references to modern work on the subject:
[Note (Halsall): The bibliography below is now rather dated. ]
R. HERZOG, Die Wunderheilungen von Epidauros. Leipzig, Dieterich, 1931
J. TAMBORINO, De antiquorum daemonismo (=Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und
Vorarbeiten edd. R. Wunsch and L. Deubner, vol. 7, Heft 3). Giessen, Topelmann,
L. DEUBNER, De Incubatione. Leipzig, Teubner, I900.
F. J. DOLGER, Der Exorzismus im altchristlichen Taufritual (=Studien zur Geschichte
und Kultur des Altertums edd. E. Drerup, H. Grimme and J. P. Kirsch, vol. 3, Heft I-2).
Paderborn, Schoningh, I909.
MARY HAMILTON, Incubation or the Cure of Disease in pagan temples and Christian
churches. St. Andrews, Henderson, 1906, and Greek Saints and their Festivals.
Edinburgh, Blackwood, 1910
G. G. DAWSON, Healing Pagan and Christian. London, Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge, I935.
T. K. OESTERREICH, Possession Demoniacal and Other among primitive races, in
Antiquity, the Middle Ages and modern times. London, Kegan Paul, 1930.
E. R. MICKLEM, Miracles and the New Psychology. London, Milford, 1922-in this book
the evidence for demon possession as studied by missionaries is discussed.
A.D. 409-493
by Norman H. Baynes
THE Emperor Marcian died early in A.D. 457 and with him the Theodosian dynasty (to
which he belonged through his marriage with Pulcheria) came to an end. His
successor, Leo I, owed his throne to the influence of the all-powerful master of the
soldiery, the Alan Aspar and his father Ardaburius. They doubtless thought that Leo
would play the part of their puppet, but the new Emperor was not prepared to accept
that rôle and the Life of Daniel shows us how the plots of Aspar to overthrow the
Augustus of his making were defeated by Zeno the Isaurian. Leo sought through the
support of the hardy mountaineers of Isauria to rid himself of the dominance of the
German element in the imperial army. From the Life we learn for the first time of the
reason for the disgrace of Aspar and are informed of the way in which Zeno became
known to Leo. We can understand why it was that the Emperor desired to engage
condottieri from Gaul, and it is not surprising that he was angered when Titus, their
leader, chose to abandon the life of a soldier.
The two outstanding disasters of Leo's reign were the fire in the capital (September
465) which devastated whole quarters of Constantinople, and the failure of the naval
expedition against the Vandals for which both the West and the East of the Empire
joined forces. Concerning that defeat the Vita is discreetly silent, for Daniel's
prophecy this time had but a partial fulfilment; but from the Vita we learn that a
report had reached the Emperor that Gaiseric, the Vandal king, intended to attack
Alexandria. For that intention the Life is our sole authority, but at a time when the
Vandal fleet was laying waste the coastlands of Greece and massacring the
population of the island of Zacynthus an assault on Egypt might naturally be feared.
The costly preparations for the African expedition emptied the East Roman treasury,
and it is little wonder that the Emperor's subjects complained of the brutality and
oppression of the imperial tax-collectors.
In 468 Leo married his daughter Ariadne to Zeno and the child of that marriage (born
in 469), who was given the name of Leo, was declared Augustus in the autumn of
473 and became sole emperor on the death of Leo I in February 474. For the child-
emperor Zeno acted as regent until with the consent of Leo's widow Verina he was
himself created his son's colleague. But Leo II died a few months later and the
Isaurian was left as ruler of the Eastern provinces. As an Isaurian he was unpopular:
Verina plotted against him and hoped to make her paramour Patricius emperor. But
when the revolution came and Zeno had fled to Asia it was Basiliscus, the
commander in the expedition against the Vandals, and not Patricius, who was chosen
in Zeno's room. Basiliscus favoured the Monophysites and of the orthodox opposition
in the capital, headed by Daniel the Stylite, we possess in the Life a vivid account.
After Zeno had returned to power Daniel gave him advice which may be regarded as a
veiled criticism of his rule, but of Zeno as emperor Daniel's biographer has on the
whole a high opinion: after his restoration to his throne the most holy churches en]
oyed great happiness, the State was rendered glorious and the Roman Empire was
strengthened. It is a remarkable tribute to an Isaurian emperor.
Zeno's successor was chosen by his daughter-in-law, the Augusta Ariadne; her choice
fell upon a Civil servant, Anastasius, who had recently been proposed as bishop for
the see of Antioch. Anastasius (A.D. 49 1-5 1 8) finally banished the threat of
Isaurian domination: they had performed their task, the German element in the
imperial army was no longer dangerous, and thus the mountaineers could be sent
back to their homes. Against the invasions of the Bulgarians, Anastasius constructed
to the west of Constantinople a Long Wall, a line of fortifications stretching from the
Propontis to the Black Sea at a distance of some forty miles from the capital (cf. J. B.
Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, 1923, pp. 435-6). It is apparently this
fortification which the author of the Life of Daniel has in mind in ch. 65. For
Anastasius Daniel s biographer has an enthusiastic admiration; in ch.9 I he gives an
almost lyrical description of the Emperor's character, of his piety, of the complete
absence of that love of money which in a sovereign Is in very truth for his subjects
the root of all ills. Anastasius, both in peace and war, provides for the world the
fullest prosperity.
Such is the historical background of this Life of Daniel, the Pillar Saint. It was Simeon
the Stylite who in the fifth century set the model for this strange form of penitential
asceticism, and it was his renown which led others to follow his example. Syrian
asceticism was represented rather by the solitary than by the monk who shared in
the common life of a monastery; when compared with the Palestinian rule of St.
Sabas it adopted extremer forms in its struggle to subdue the passion of man's
intractable flesh. One form which was widely practised was that of the 'station'
(stasis): the ascetic took his 'stand' and thence forth remained immobile. Some
would stand all the night in prayer, some stood continuously for years while others
divided the day between sitting and standing in one and the same spot.
Simeon was born c. A.D. 389 on the borders of Syria and Cilicia; he became a
shepherd-boy and was completely illiterate. It was the hearing of the beatitudes as
they were read in church which led him to asceticism and caused him to join a
monastery. Here the rigours of his mortification of the body roved incompatible with
the common life of the brotherhood, so, leaving the monastery, he began his
discipline as a solitary by shutting himself up in a cell not far from Antioch. Three
years later he retired to a neighbouring height, and there marked out for himself a
circular enclosure; to prevent himself from passing beyond this enclosure he attached
himself to a large stone by a chain. After some time he ceased to use the chain, and
for four years he stood within the enclosure without lying or sitting down, 'snowed
upon, rained upon, and scorched'. His fame spread far and wide; pilgrims came in
large numbers; the sick sought healing; all wished to touch him or to carry off some
relic from the Saint. To escape the devotion of the crowds he thought of the
expedient of standing upon a column and the original column was twice increased in
height by the addition of a new drum. On the column in its final form-forty cubits in
height-he stood for thirty years without shelter either from the frosts of winter or the
scorching heat of summer. At times the glare of the sun made him completely blind.
The night and the greater part of the day he spent in prayer, but twice a day he
addressed the folk who thronged about the column, giving them moral counsel,
settling their disputes, healing their diseases. Arabs, Persians and Armenians came
on pilgrimage to the Saint; Christians came from Italy and Spain, from Gaul and from
Britain. St.Geneviève of Paris wrote to him. In Rome little images of Simeon, even
during his lifetime, were to be found in work- shops to secure the safety of the
workers (cf. Karl Holl, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kirchengeschichte II,Tubingen, 1928,
pp- 388-98).
Many ascetics had their own peculiar forms of devotion: Simeon would bow so deeply
in his worship that his forehead all but touched his feet. On one occasion an admirer
set himself to count the number of these bowings; he had counted up to twelve
hundred and forty-four and then desisted from sheer weariness: the Saint continued
bowing. The crowds of his admirers had no doubts of Simeon's sanctity, but the
ecclesiastical authorities frowned upon this novel form of penitential piety. It is clear
that the Saint's champions developed an apologia to meet such criticism: they
pointed to the strange conduct of the Jewish prophets. God, they urged, can use
extraordinary means to bring home to man His messages. The apologia was
successful: when Simeon died seven bishops accompanied in solemn procession the
translation of the Saint's remains to Antioch
In this Byzantine world everything was fair where sacred relics were concerned: to
secure a relic guile and even open theft were justified. The dead saint would even
help those who sought to steal his body. When it was thought that a certain holy
man was near to death there was a free fight amongst parties from rival villages. The
victors in the affray carried off the body to Antioch when the Saint, recovering, asked
to be taken back to the mountain from which he had been violently transported.
Immediately it was known that Simeon was dead Saracens rushed up on their camels
in order to gain possession of his body by force of arms, but the sacred relic was
guarded by the imperial troops under the command of the master of the soldiery. In
Antioch the body rested; it remained the city's pride and protection.
It is not easy for us to picture to ourselves the life led by the stylite saints on the
pillar-top. There was, of course, a balustrade or iron trellis-work around the platform:
we never hear of a saint inadvertently falling from his pillar. The saint controlled all
access to himself since any visitor was of necessity compelled to wait until the order
was given for the ladder to be placed against the pillar (see the Life, ch. 42). To
reach Daniel's first column the ladder according to one manuscript had fourteen rungs
but when a column might be sixteen or eighteen metres in height the moving of the
ladder can have been no light task. The Stylite's column consisted of three parts: the
steps up to the platform at the base of the column, the column itself and then the
enclosure at the column's top. The column of the elder Simeon had three drums, in
honour of the Trinity, says the Syriac biographer. The elder Simeon, as we have seen,
had no shelter at all as he stood upon his column and St. Daniel desired to follow his
master's example until he was ultimately persuaded to permit the construction of a
covering. Exceptionally in Daniel's case twin columns were erected, clamped together
by iron bars and a piece of masonry 'of which it is difficult to fix the position'
(Delehaye) Of the extent of the space occupied by the pillar-saint on the top of the
column we have no accurate knowledge; often it is not easy to decide whether
visitors stood on the topmost rungs of the ladder (cf. the Life of Daniel, ch. 95) or
whether they mounted on to the platform.
The Stylite soon became a magnet and drew disciples desiring to settle near the
Saint; thus, as it was with St. Daniel, a monastery was formed or, it might be, as
with St. Alypius a nunnery as well.
It is terrifying to contemplate the sufferings endured through whole decades by these
athletes in the school of salvation: amongst those of strict observance it was not
permitted to sit or to lie down: they had taken their 'stand' and might not desert it.
They sought to overcome the need for sleep and, if sleep they must, they did so, still
standing, leaning against the balustrade. To increase the strain upon the rebel body
St. Simeon the younger forced himself for a whole year to squat upon his heels. Only
in the interest of threatened Orthodoxy might they abandon, as did Daniel, their
'stance' and descend from their column. When they had established themselves in
lonely places they might be forgotten and might all but perish of hunger and thirst.
We may sympathize with Delehaye's comment: 'Nous comprenons difficilement que
ces hommes pieux aient pu agir de la sorte sans tenter la Providence. Leur simplicité
est leur grande excuse.'
And, despite everything, they were so astonishingly longlived. Newman's judgment is
familiar: 'if these men so tormented their bodies as Theodoret describes, which it is
difficult to doubt, and if, nevertheless, instead of killing themselves thereby, they
lived to the great age which he also testifies, this fact was in itself of a miraculous
And I had hoped that ere this period closed
Thou wouldst have caught me up into thy rest,
not these weather-beaten limbs
The meed of saints, the white robe and the palm.
take the meaning, Lord: I do not breathe,
Not whisper, any murmur of complaint.
Pain heap'd ten-hundred-fold to this, were still
Less burthen, by ten-hundred-fold, to bear
Than were those lead-like tons of sin, that crush'd
My spirit flat before thee.
To make up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ was no light task.
The Life of Daniel can be left to speak for itself. The author, a younger man than the
Saint, writes as a disciple and eye-witness. He has consulted those who were with
Daniel from the time that he came to the shores of the Bosphorus. For the 'we'
accounts in the Vita see ch. 91, 95, 96 and note ch. I and ch. I2. There is no reason
to think that he used written sources.
It will suffice to add a brief note on the chronology of Daniel's life as established by
Père Delehaye: the Saint was born in A.D. 409; until he was twelve years old he lived
with his parents; the next twenty-five years were spent in a monastery; then during
five years he visited the most famous ascetes of his time; at the age of forty-two he
arrived in Constantinople; after nine years spent in what had been a pagan temple
he mounted his pillar on which he passed thirty-three years and three months. He
died at the age of eighty-four years and three months in A.D. 493.
[An asterisk * indicates a note, keyed by chapter, at the end of the life.]
1.BEFORE all things it is right that we should give glory to Jesus Christ our God, Who
for us was made man and for our salvation endured all things according to the
Dispensation; for His sake, too, prophets were killed, and just men crucified
themselves because of this faith in Him and by His grace, after having kept patience
under their sufferings unswervingly unto the end, they received a crown of glory.
These men our Master and Saviour Christ gave us as an example that we might know
that it is possible for a man by the patient endurance of his sufferings to please God
and be called His faithful servant.
For this reason I thought good to take in hand a recital of the labours of St. Daniel,
yet I do so with fear; for this man's way of life was great and brilliant and
marvellous, whereas I am but a witless and humble person. I fear lest I should hear
those words applied to me which our Saviour spoke through the prophet David: 'But
unto the sinner God saith, "Why dost thou declare my statutes and takest my
covenant in thy mouth?" '(Ps 1..16)
Yet I do not venture to dismiss in silence those narratives about the Saint which I
received from my fathers for fear lest the Lord should justly torture me in His great
and terrible day for not having given into the bank the talent through His will
entrusted to me for the edification and profit of the many. Being thus fortified by
your prayers I will put down truthfully everything I heard from the men who were the
Saint's disciples before me and I will also relate truly all the things I saw with my
own eyes. For it is certain that the Lord 'will surely destroy them that speak lies'.(Ps
5.6) I therefore beseech you lovers of learning to cast aside all thoughts of this
present life and grant me your favourable hearing.
2. This father among saints was the son of a father named Elias and a mother
Martha; he came from a small village called Meratha (which is, being interpreted, 'the
Caves') in the territory of Samosata in Mesopotamia. As his mother was barren and
was reproached for this by her husband and kinsfolk, she went out one day secretly
at midnight unbeknown to her husband and stretching forth her hands to heaven,
prayed saying, 'Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Who art long-suffering towards the sins of men,
Thou Who didst in the beginning create woman to increase the race of men, do Thou
Thyself take my reproach from me and grant me fruit of my womb that I may
dedicate him to Thee, the Lord of All'. After weeping bitterly and afflicting her soul
with many lamentations, she came in to her husband and whilst sleeping beside him
saw in a vision of the night two great circular lights coming down from heaven and
resting near her.* Next morning she related the vision to her husband and kinsfolk
and each one interpreted differently the things she had told them. But she sighed
and said to herself, 'My God to Whom I prayed will do what is best for my unhappy
soul'. And not many days later she conceived the holy man of whom we spoke.
3. So he was born; and when in course of time he had reached the age of five years
his parents took him with offerings of fruit to a monastery near the village and the
abbot asked them, 'By what name is the child called?' And when the parents
mentioned some other name, the old man said, 'He shall not be called that, but
whatever the Lord shall reveal to us, that shall his name be' . And the archimandrite
said to the child in the Syrian dialect, 'Go, child, and fetch me a book from the table'.
For it is a custom in monasteries that many different books should be laid in front of
the sanctuary, and whichever book a brother wants he takes and reads. So the child
went and fetched the book of the prophet Daniel, and from this he got that name.
But when the parents besought the abbot to receive him into the monastery and let
him stay with the brothers he could not be persuaded, because the child was still so
very young; so they took him home again and he abode with his parents
4. Now when he was twelve years old* he heard his mother say 'My child, I have
dedicated you to God'. Thereupon one day without saying anything to anybody he
went out of the village for a distance of about ten miles where there was a
monastery containing fifty brethren. And entering the monastery he fell at the
abbot's feet and begged to be received by him. But the abbot said to him, 'Child, you
are still very young in years and are not able to endure so hard a discipline; you
know nothing of the monks' life; go home, stay with your parents and after some
time when you are able both to fast and to sing and to endure discipline, then come
back to us'. But the child answered, 'Father, I should prefer to die in these hardships
than to quit the shelter of your flock!' And when, in spite of all he could do, the
archimandrite was unable to persuade the child, he said to the brethren, 'In truth, my
children, let us receive this boy for he seems to me to be very much in earnest' And
they all yielded to the abbot's counsel, and thus Daniel remained in the brotherhood.
5. And shortly afterwards his parents, who had sought him found him in this
monastery and rejoiced with great joy, and then besought the abbot to give him the
tonsure. And he, having noticed his advancement in godliness and good disposition,
sent for him and said, 'Child, do you wish me to give you the tonsure?' Daniel
immediately threw himself at his feet and said, 'I beseech your Holiness, father, do it
to-day!' But the abbot again said, 'You are unable to endure the discipline' To this
the boy replied, 'I know well that I am young and weak, but I trust in God and your
holy prayers, because the Lord Who accepts our purpose gives us strength, for He is
a God of purposes'. Then after blessing him and praying fervently over him, the
archimandrite with the wisdom that had been given him by God instructed him in the
things necessary for salvation. And afterwards according to custom he bade all the
brethren gather together, and while they sang a hymn he bestowed upon him the
holy robe of the monk. And dismissing the parents with blessings he bade them not
to visit their son frequently.
6.While Daniel made progress in asceticism and in the splendour of his way of life he
could not bear the scrutiny and the praise of the abbot and, still less, that of the
whole brotherhood; so he planned to go to the Holy City, Jerusalem, and at the same
time to visit the holy and thrice-blessed Simeon, the man on the pillar, in whose
footsteps he felt constrained to follow.
Therefore he began to pray the abbot of the monastery to set him free to attain his
desire, but he could not persuade him.
Soon after this, since our Master God in truth so willed it and the need of the church
demanded it, the Archbishop of that time commanded all the archimandrites of the
East to assemble in the capital city of Antioch. And so it happened that this abbot
together with some others went, too, and amongst them he allowed the holy man
also to travel with him as his disciple.
7. As God granted that the matter for which they had suffered many vexations should
be brought to a satisfactory settlement, they departed to their own monasteries; and
on their way they lodged in a village called Telanissae* where there was a very large
monastery and monks pursuing a very noble and virtuous way of life; here, too, the
afore-mentioned holy Simeon had received his training. And when the monks there
began talking about the achievements of the holy Simeon, the monks from
Mesopotamia withstood them, contending that it was but a vainglorious proceeding.
'For', said they, 'it is true that a man even if he were living in your midst might
practise a mode of life hitherto unknown and please God, yet never has such a thing
happened anywhere that a man should go up and live on a pillar'.
So the monks of that monastery persuaded them to go and see what hardships
Simeon was enduring for the sake of the Lord.* And they were persuaded and went
and the holy Daniel with them. When they arrived at the place and saw the wildness
of the spot and the height of the pillar and the fiery heat of the scorching sun and
the Saint's endurance and his welcome to strangers and further, too, the love he
shewed towards them, they were amazed.
8. For Simeon gave direction that the ladder be placed in position and invited the old
men to come up and kiss him. But they were afraid and declined the ascent of the
ladder- one said he was too feeble from old age, another pleaded weakness after an
illness, and another gout in his feet. For they said to each other, 'How can we kiss
with our mouth the man that we have just been slandering with our lips? Woe unto
us for having mocked at such hardships as these and such endurance'. Whilst they
were conversing in this manner, Daniel entreated the archimandrite and the other
abbots and Saint Simeon as well, begging to be allowed to go up to him. On
receiving permission he went up and the blessed man gave him his benediction and
said to him, 'What is your name?' and he answered, 'Daniel'. Then the holy Simeon
said to him, 'Play the man, Daniel, be strong and endure; for you have many
hardships to endure for God. But I trust that the God Whom I serve will Himself
strengthen you and be your fellow-traveller'. And placing his hand upon Daniel's head
he prayed and blessed him and bade him go down the ladder. Then after the holy and
blessed Simeon had prayed for the archimandrites he dismissed them all in peace.
9. After they had all by the will of God been restored to their own monasteries and
some little time had passed, the holy man, Daniel, was deemed worthy to be raised
to the post of abbot.
Thereupon he said to himself, 'At last you are free, Daniel,* start boldly and
accomplish your purpose'. When he had made trial of him who held the second place
and found that he was able to undertake the duties of an archimandrite, he left
everything and quitted the monastery; and when he had reached the enclosure of the
holy Simeon he stayed there two weeks.
The blessed Simeon rejoiced exceedingly when he saw him and tried to persuade him
to remain still longer, for he found great joy in his company. But Daniel would not
consent thereto but pressed towards his goal, saying, 'Father, I am ever with you in
spirit'. So Simeon blessed him and dismissed him with the words, 'The Lord of glory
will accompany you'. Then Daniel went forth wishing to travel to the holy places and
to worship in the church of the Holy Resurrection and afterwards to retire to the inner
10. He heard, however, that the road to Palestine was dangerous, so he inquired the
cause of this and was told that the Samaritans* had revolted against the Christians.
But he said to himself, 'Start, Daniel, do not swerve from your purpose, and if
perchance you may even have to die for your faith with the Christians, a great thing
is in store for you'. Whilst he was thus deliberating with himself and walking along
one fine noon-day, a monk overtook him, a very hairy man; he appeared to be a
venerable man resembling Saint Simeon.
After greeting him he said in the Syrian dialect, 'Whither are you going, beloved?'
And our Master, Daniel answered, 'I am going to the holy places, if it is the will of
God'. And the old man replying said, 'You say rightly, "If it be the will of God", for
have you not heard of the unrest in Palestine?' Daniel, the servant of God, answered,
'Yes, I have heard, but the Lord is my helper and I hope to pass through unhurt, and
even if we must endure suffering, yet if we live we are the Lord's, and if we die we
pass into His hands'. The old man said to him, 'Do you not know that it is written,
"Do not let your foot be moved, for He that keepeth thee will not slumber''?'(Ps.
121.3) To this holy Daniel replied, 'I told your reverence before that even death for
the sake of God is good'. Then the old man waxed angry and turned away saying, 'I
cannot put up with your arguing, for such is not our custom'. So Daniel, the servant
of God, said to him, 'What do you bid me do? to return?' The old man replied, 'I do
not advise you to return for "he that putteth his hand to the plough and turneth back
is not fit for the kingdom of Heaven".(Luke 9.62) But if you will listen to me, there is
one thing I advise.'
Our Master, Daniel answered, 'Indeed, sir, if you advise anything that is possible and
that I can do, that I certainly will do, for I see that you are both a father and a
teacher'. And the old man said, 'Verily, verily, verily, behold three times I adjure you
by the Lord, do not go to those places, but go to Byzantium and you will see a
second Jerusalem, namely Constantinople; there you can enjoy the martyrs' shrines
and the great houses of prayer, and if you wish to be an anchorite in some desert
spot, either in Thrace or in Pontus, the Lord will not desert you'.
11. Whilst they were speaking of these matters, they reached a monastery, and
evening had already fallen. Then holy Daniel said to the elder, 'Do you bid us lodge
here?' and the old man said, 'Go in first and I will follow'. Our Master, Daniel
imagining that a bodily need constrained him, went in first and waited, but never saw
him again;* and all this happened, beloved, because divine power so willed it. For
had not Palestine been in a troublous state at that time, the West would never have
encountered this wonderful man.
12. Of these things which I have here written down, beloved, I heard some, as I told
you before, from those who were the Saint's disciples before me ;* others from
trustworthy men who followed the footsteps of the Saint from the beginning; and yet
others I heard myself when our good shepherd related them with his own mouth-not
indeed in order that we should commit them to writing, for he did not wish to receive
glory from men but looked to his reward from God-but when he confirmed and
comforted us and continually counselled us to abide patiently under our sufferings.
And that you, beloved, may know that what I say is true, there are still living some
of the devout men who frequently visited the enclosure of the Saint who bear in
memory that which I will now relate, how that a certain disciple of the Saint's
thinking he would achieve a work of piety and edification, sent for a painter and
[Another reading says: 'And had the events which occurred in the reign of Basiliscus
painted"] had the portrait of the Saint painted above the porch at the entry to the
chapel in the quarter of the city named after Basiliscus*, and he himself also wished
to write the life of the Saint. But when our most saintly father heard of it he was
exceedingly angry and ordered the painting to be wiped off, and the papers to be
thrown into the fire, so determined was the servant of God not to receive glory from
men.-Let us now return to our subject.
13. When Daniel had entered the monastery and had saluted the abbot and the
brethren there, they asked him to partake of food. But he replied that he had an old
man with him and must wait for him. So they all waited patiently for several hours
and as he did not appear they decided he must be lodging in another monastery, so
after giving thanks they took their supper. And after supper when the monks were
sleeping, the old man came in a vision, they say, and spoke thus to the holy man,
'Again I say unto you, do that which I counselled you to do'. Therefore, on awakening
Daniel debated within himself what was this aged counsellor-man or angel?
Then saying nothing to anybody about this, but bidding them all farewell after the
psalm-singing in the night and having received their 'God speed you!' he left the
monastery and started on the road to Byzantium. When he reached a place called
Anaplus* where there was an oratory dedicated to the archangel Michael he spent
seven days there in this oratory.
14. Once he heard some men conversing in the Syrian dialect and saying that there
was a church in that place inhabited by demons who often sank ships and had
injured, and still were injuring, many of the passers-by, and that it was impossible
for anyone to walk along that road in the evening or even at noonday.
As everybody was continually complaining about the destructive power which had
occupied the place, the divine spirit came upon Daniel and he called to mind that
great man, Antony, the model of asceticism [and Paul, his disciple] ;* he
remembered their struggles against demons and the many temptations they suffered
from them and how they had overcome them by the strength of Christ and were
deemed worthy of great crowns. Then he asked a man who understood the Syrian
dialect about this church and begged him to show him the spot.
On reaching the porch of the church, just as a brave soldier strips himself for battle
before venturing against a host of barbarians, so he, too, entered the church reciting
the words spoken by the prophet, David, in the Psalms: 'The Lord is my light and my
saviour, whom shall I fear? the Lord is the defender of my life, of whom shall I be
afraid?' (ps. 27:1) and the rest. And holding the invincible weapon of the Cross, he
went round into each corner of the church making genuflections and prayers .
15. When night fell, stones, they say, were thrown at him and there was the sound
of a multitude knocking and making an uproar; but he persevered in prayer. In this
way he spent the first night and the second; but on the third night sleep
overpowered him, as it might overtake any man bearing the weakness of the flesh.
And straightway many phantoms appeared as of giant shapes some of whom said,
'Who induced you to take possession of this place, poor wretch? do you wish to
perish miserably? Come, let us drag him out and throw him into the water!' Again,
others carrying, as it seemed, large stones stood at his head, apparently intending to
crush it to pieces. On waking, the athlete of Christ again went round the corners of
the church praying and singing and saying to the spirits, 'Depart from hence ! if you
do not, then by the strength of the Cross you shall be devoured by flames and thus
be forced to flee'. But they made a still greater uproar and howled the louder. But he
despised them and taking not the slightest notice of their uproar, he bolted the door
of the church and left a small window* through which he would converse with the
people that came up to see him.
16. In the meantime his fame had spread abroad in those regions, and you could see
men and women with their children streaming up to see the holy man and marvelling
that the place formerly so wild and impassable lay in such perfect calm, and that
where demons danced lately, there by the patience of the just man Christ was now
glorified day and night.
17. Now the priests of the Church of the Archangel Michael lived nearby and they
were simple folk. So when the envious demon who hates the good saw such victories
gained through the power of Christ, he was mad with rage and suggested to the
minds of the priests an argument that ran like this: 'It is no good thing that you are
doing in letting the man dwell there; for just look how all the world goes to him and
you in consequence remain with nothing to do.* You had better go to the city and
say to your bishop, "Some man, come from we know not where, has shut himself in
near us and he is attracting people to him, although he is a heretic. But he is a
Syrian by birth and so we are unable to hold converse with him."' Having reasoned
thus among themselves the priests went in and reported the matter to the man who
was then the bishop, namely the blessed Anatolius, the Patriarch of Constantinople.*
But the Archbishop said to them, 'If you do not understand his language, how do you
know that he is a heretic? Leave him alone, for if he has been sent by God he will be
established; but, if it is otherwise, he will go away of his own accord before you
chase him out. Do not bring a scandal upon us and yourselves'. With these words he
dismissed them. And they went home and kept quiet for a time.
18. But when the demons saw that they were accomplishing nothing, they again rose
in rebellion against the servant of God and brought phantoms before him, carrying, it
is said, naked swords, and crying, 'Whence have you come, man? give place to us for
we have been living here for a long time. Do you wish your limbs to be cut in pieces?'
And then, it is said, they came towards him with their swords and spoke again saying
to one another, 'Do not let us slay him, but let us drag him along and cast him into
the water where we sank the ship 1' And they made as though they would drag him
away. But the servant of God arose, and after uttering a prayer he said to them,
'Jesus Christ my Saviour, in Whom I have trusted and do trust, He will Himself drown
you all in the deepest abyss.' A great howling arose and they flew round his face like
a swarm of bats and with a whir of wings went out of the window, and so he drove
them all forth by the power of God through prayer.
19. The Devil, seeing that once more his ministers had been routed, again stirred up
the priests to go to the Archbishop; and they said to him: 'Master, you have authority
over us; we cannot bear that man, bid him come away from that church, for he is an
impostor.' Then the blessed Anatolius sent the officer of the most Holy Church with
the deacons and in the night they burst open with crowbars the door which the Saint
had closed and brought him to the City. When the Saint was brought before the holy
and blessed Anatolius in his palace, the Archbishop asked him 'Who are you? and
whence have you come to these parts and what is your belief?-tell us.' And the
servant of God declared his blameless faith by means of an interpreter and the
blessed Anatolius stood up and embraced him and besought him to remain in the
palace, but the men who had brought him he dismissed, saying, 'Go, hold your peace,
for I find great edification in this man'. So they left him there in the bishop's palace
and went their ways.
20. In the meantime the Bishop fell into a very severe illness, so he sent for the holy
man and begged him to offer prayers on his behalf that he might be freed from the
illness. And, since it so pleased the Divine Power, after the Saint had made his
prayer, the Bishop was cured of his illness by God's good pleasure. Thus the words of
the psalm were fulfilled towards the Saint: 'He will perform the desire of them that
fear Him, He also will hear their cry and will save them.' (Ps. 114:19) After the
Bishop's recovery the servant of God asked to be allowed to depart; but the
Archbishop would not agree thereto and said 'I wish you to live with me'. Then he
again begged to be allowed to go, and asked him to grant pardon to the men who
had slandered him to the Bishop, for the latter was threatening to excommunicate
them. And the Bishop said, 'I must ask pardon of you, servant of God, for your arrest,
but God has made your presence here a great blessing to me, for if your holiness had
not settled there, I should certainly have departed this life'. He also implored him to
let him build a cell for him saying, 'Since I am unable to persuade you to live here
with me, if you will let me I will build you a small monastery,* for our most Holy
Church has many a suitable spot in the suburbs of the city. Go out and look at them
and whatever pleases you, I will give you'. But the holy man replied, 'If you really
wish to do me a service, I beseech your Holiness to send me to the place to which
God led me'. Finally the Bishop bade him be taken back with great respect and
settled in the aforementioned church. Then the people could be seen flocking to the
holy man again with joy and delight and many were granted healing so that all
marvelled at the merciful grace of our Master Christ which He poured out upon His
servant. And even those who had formerly wished to persecute him did not cease
serving him and in all ways caring for the holy man. And he did as he had done
formerly-he bolted the door and left only a small window open* through which he
spoke, instructing and blessing the people, as I said before.
21. After a space of nine years had elapsed, the servant of God fell into an ecstasy,
as it were, and saw a huge pillar of cloud standing opposite him and the holy and
blessed Simeon standing above the head of the column and two men of goodly
appearance, clad in white, standing near him in the heights. And he heard the voice
of the holy and blessed Simeon saying to him, 'Come here to me, Daniel'. And he
said, 'Father, father, and how can I get up to that height?' Then the Saint said to the
young men standing near him, 'Go down and bring him up to me'. So the men came
down and brought Daniel up to him and he stood there. Then Simeon took him in his
arms and kissed him with a holy kiss, and then others called him away, and escorted
by them he was borne up to heaven leaving Daniel on the column with the two men.
When holy Daniel saw him being carried up to heaven he hard the voice of Saint
Simeon, 'Stand firm and play the man'. But he was confused by fear and by that
fearful voice, for it was like thunder in his ears. When he came to himself again he
declared the vision to those around him. Then they, too, said to the holy man, 'You
must mount on to a pillar and take up Saint Simeon's mode of life and be supported
by the angels'. The blessed one said, 'Let the will of God, our Master, be done upon
His servant'. And taking the holy Gospel into his hands and opening it with prayer he
found the place in which was written, (Luke 1:76) 'And thou, child, shalt be called the
prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His
ways'. And he gave thanks and closed the book.
22. Not many days later a monk came from the East by name Sergius, a disciple of
Saint Simeon, annou1lcing the good end of the Saint's life and carrying in his hands
Saint Simeon's leather tunic* in order to give it to the blessed Emperor Leo by way of
benediction. But as the Emperor was busy with public affairs, the aforesaid Sergius
could not get a hearing, or rather it was God who so arranged it in order that the new
Elisha might receive the mantle of Elijah. When Sergius grew weary of waiting in the
City because he could not obtain a hearing, he decided to go as far as the monastery
of the Akoimetoi (The Sleepless ones): now it was not possible for anyone to reach
that monastery except by passing the church and the channel by it, as there was
generally a north wind blowing. When he had entered into the boat with many
others, men and women, they set sail. On reaching the spot where the demons used
formerly to hurl stones at the passengers and continually sank their boats, those in
the boat gave thanks to God and made mention of the holy man.
Sergius inquired who he was, for said he, 'I should like to be blessed by him'. They
answered 'Whilst the sailors tow the boat past, we can all land and go up to him.'
And this they did. And Sergius came and embraced the Saint. And whilst they were
talking and Daniel, the servant of God, was hearing about the end of the holy Simeon
he related his vision to Sergius, who on hearing it said, 'It is to thee rather than to
the Emperor that God has sent me; for here am I, the disciple of thy father; here,
too, is his benediction'. And taking out the tunic he handed it in through the window.
The Saint took it and kissing it with tears said, 'Blessed be Thou, O God, Who dost
all things after Thy will and hast deemed my humbleness worthy of the benediction
which Thy servant has brought'. Then some men from the ship upbraided Sergius for
delaying and preventing them from sailing; to them Sergius answered, 'Go on your
ways and fare well; God has led me from one father to another'.
23. From that day he remained near the blessed Daniel, and Sergius saw the
following vision. Three young men, it seemed, came to him and said, 'Arise, say unto
father Daniel "The appointed time of thy discipline in this church is now fulfilled, from
henceforth leave the church, come hither and begin thy contest".' When he awoke he
related what he had seen. The blessed Daniel said to him, 'Brother, the Lord has
revealed quite clearly to us what should be done, for this dream which your Piety saw
fits in with the vision which I saw; be ready therefore to endure hardships for the
Lord and come up on the hill and we will search out the more desolate and higher
lying spots in these parts and judge where we ought to set up a column. For it was
not without a purpose that God guided you to bring to my unworthiness the father's
garment'. Whilst the blessed Daniel was saying this to Sergius, lo! a certain imperial
guardsman,* by name Mark, who had been a friend of the holy man from the
beginning joined them; and now, knowing his intention from the conversation he had
overheard, besought Daniel to allow him to provide the column. The blessed Daniel
said to him, 'Behold God has sent you according to your faith, my son Mark, so that
you may be the pioneer in this good work; pray therefore that the good Lord may
also grant us endurance.'
24. After the guardsman had embraced the holy man and sailed away, Sergius went
up to view the spot where the column was to be set; and a short distance away he
saw a white dove fluttering* and then settling again. Thinking it was caught in a
snare he ran towards it, and then it flew up and away out of his sight. Seeing that
the place was solitary and considering the incident of the dove that it had not been
shown to him casually or by chance, he gave thanks to the Lord and returned to the
holy man in the church bringing him the glad tidings that the Lord had prepared for
them a suitable place. Then he, too, gave thanks to the Lord Who brings all things to
pass according to His will.
25. And indeed after two days men came back from the city carrying the pillar; there
were with them two workmen sent by the guardsman to fix the column in whatever
place it was desired. So Sergius went up with them by night and they fixed the pillar
and came back reporting that the pillar was erected. Daniel gave them his blessing
and sent his blessing to the guardsman, and then dismissed them. And the blessed
Daniel said to Sergius, 'We do not know the measure of the circumference of the
pillar'. But Sergius was unwilling to go up again and take the measurement of the
column. However, the blessed man had another disciple dwelling near him by name
Daniel, him he bade go up and take the measurement of the column. So he went up
and as he was measuring the column, he was seen by the men who were guarding
the vineyards in the neighbouring field which belonged to Gelanius, who at that time
was steward of the sacred table* to the most pious Emperor Leo. They ran up and
held him and asked, 'Whence are you and by whose authority are you taking the
measurements of the column?' He answered them, 'I am not a stranger, I belong to
the father Daniel who lives in the church and I have come upon his business. And
when I saw the column I was delighted'. And when they heard his answer they let
him go. And the brother went back to the City to a place called 'The Three Crosses',
and ordered a balustrade, and took it with him. Afterwards he related to Daniel
everything that had happened to him and the answer he had given to the men. The
blessed man replied, 'The will of the Lord be done !'
26. And it came to pass after three days when night had fallen they opened the
church in which Daniel was shut up, and taking the brother he went up to the spot-for
Sergius had departed to another place Thrace-wards-and they found a long plank
lying there which the inhabitants of the suburb had prepared for knocking down the
column. This they bound with a rope and stood it up against the column, and then
went up and put the balustrade on the column, for that column was not really high,
only about the height of two men. When they had fitted the balustrade and bound it
firmly with a rope they knelt and prayed to God. And the blessed Daniel went up and
stood on the column inside the balustrade and said, 'Oh Lord Jesus Christ, in Thy
holy name, I am entering upon this contest; do Thou approve my purpose and help
me to accomplish my course'. And he said to the brother, 'Take away the plank and
the rest of the rope and get away quickly so that if anybody comes he may not find
you'. And the brother did as he was told.
27. The next morning the husbandmen came and when they saw Daniel they were
amazed; for the sight was a strange one, and they came near him, and when they
looked on him they recognized him as the man who had formerly been in the church.
After having received the Saint's blessing they left him and went to the City and
reported to Gelanius, the owner of the property. On hearing their news he was very
angry with them for not having guarded that part of his land; and he was also
annoyed with the blessed Daniel for having done this without his consent. And he
went and reported the matter to the blessed Emperor Leo and the Archbishop
Gennadius, for the blessed Anatolius had already gone to his rest.* The Emperor for
his part said nothing. But the Archbishop said to him, 'As master of the property,
fetch him down; for where he was he had no right to be, but he was not there on my
Then Gelanius took several men with him and went up to the servant of God, and,
although it was a calm day and the air was still, yet it came to pass that suddenly
the clouds gathered and a storm arose accompanied with hail so that all the fruit of
the vineyards was destroyed and the leaves were stripped from the vines, for it was
the time of the vintage. And it was only with difficulty that the men who were with
Gelanius got away and they muttered amongst themselves, for they were astonished
at the strangeness of the sight.
Gelanius then approached the blessed man and said, 'Who gave you permission to
take up your stand on land belonging to me? Was it not better for you in the church?-
but since you have shown contempt of me, the owner of the property, and have taken
no account of the Emperor and the Archbishop, let me tell you that I have been
empowered by them to fetch you down.
28. But when he persisted and repeated his demands it seemed an unjust and illegal
proceeding to his companions and they opposed its being done, 'Because', said they,
'the Emperor himself is a pious man and this man is orthodox and this spot lies at a
distance from your field'. When Gelanius perceived that there would be a disturbance
he said to the Saint in the Syrian language-for by birth he was a Syro-Persian* from
Mesopotamia-'Please pretend to come down for the sake of those who ordered you to
descend, and then I will not allow you really to touch the ground.' So then a ladder
was brought and Daniel came down about six rungs from the column. There were still
several rungs before he actually reached the ground, when Gelanius ran forward and
prevented his coming down the last rungs,* saying, 'Return to your dwelling and your
place and pray for me'. For as Daniel was coming down he had noticed that sores and
swellings had begun to appear on his feet, and he was distressed. And the blessed
man went up the rungs of the ladder down which he had come, and stood inside the
balustrade on the column; and after offering prayer. all received his blessing and
went down from the hill in peace. So Gelanius, when he had reached the capital,
reported everything to the Emperor telling him of the patience and endurance of the
man so that he won the Emperor s pity for him.
29. Not many days later Gelanius went up to the Saint asking him to allow him to
change the column and have a very large one placed for him. And lo! while they were
conversing a certain Sergius arrived from the parts about Thrace, a lawyer by
profession, bringing with him a very young boy, his only son, by name John, who was
grievously tormented by a demon. This man came and threw himself to the ground in
front of the column, weeping and lamenting and crying out, saying, 'Have pity upon
my son, oh servant of God; it is now thirty days since the unclean spirit first called
upon the name of your Holiness; and after inquiring for you through eight long days,
we have come to claim your blessing'. When Gelanius heard this and saw the old
man afflicting himself thus out of pity [or, by altering the punctuation, '…afflicting
himself, he, too, was moved with sympathy for him] he, too, was affected and burst
into tears. And the holy Daniel said to the old man, 'He that asketh in faith receives
all from God; if therefore you believe that through me a sinner, God will heal your
son, according to your faith it shall be given unto you'. And he bade the young man
approach; and he drew near and stood before the column. And the Saint bade them
give him a drink of the oil of the saints. And it came to pass when they gave him to
drink that the demon threw him to the ground and there he rolled in their midst.
Then the evil spirit rose up and shouted swearing that he would go out on that very
day a week hence. (see Ch.. 23)
30. Gelanius was amazed when he saw this and besought the holy man to agree to a
new column being brought; and when the Saint yielded to his entreaties Gelanius
went home after receiving a blessing. And on the following day he sent stones for
the steps, and the base together with the column itself and the workmen and all the
things necessary for fixing it, and for a week they were at work preparing the
foundation and erecting the column. While this work was in progress Sergius returned
from Thrace and the blessed Daniel said to him, 'Oh faint-hearted, why did you
desert me?' Sergius fell down and received forgiveness and remained with him again.
And the other brother, seeing that the Lord made all things prosper for the Saint,
fashioned for himself a booth of branches and dwelt there near the Saint opposite
the column. And by the grace of God the number of disciples increased and Sergius
was made their superior as he was qualified by his age and had been the disciple of
Saint Simeon.
31. In the meantime there came to the Saint one Cyrus,* an exconsul and ex-
pretorian prefect. He was a very trustworthy and wise man who had passed through
all the grades of oice owing to his extreme sagacity. But late in life he suffered from
a plot hatched by Chrysaphius,* the Spatharius, and was sent as bishop to a small
town, namely to Cotyaeum in Phrygia, and realizing the treachery of Chrysaphius he
yielded so as not to bring his life to a miserable end. After the death of the Emperor
Theodosius he divested himself of his priestly dignity and resumed his secular rank
and so continued to the end of his life, for he lived till the reign of Leo of most pious
memory. He used to distribute all his belongings to the poor. This man Cyrus, had a
daughter called Alexandria who was afflicted by an evil spirit, and he had brought her
to the holy man Daniel when the latter was still at the foot of the hill in the church,
and thanks to the intercessions of the archangels and the tears and prayers of the
holy man the Lord freed her from the demon within seven days. Consequently from
that time forth the two men had a passionate affection for each other.
32. So when Cyrus came and found that the column had been erected, he inquired
who had placed it and hearing that it was Gelanius, the steward at the imperial court,
* to whom the lands also belonged, at first he was indignant that Daniel should have
allowed this to be done by one who had shown him such insolence. 'Should not I far
rather have been allowed to do this, if anything else was wanted?' Then the Saint
began to beg and beseech him saying, 'All people everywhere proclaim your good will
towards me; I accepted this column from Gelanius in order that I might not offend
him. The God Whom I serve will recompense you with good things according to your
faitll'. And after giving him his blessing he dismissed him.
33. And it came to pass that on the following day, Saturday, Gelanius came with a
large company to remove the Saint to the larger column; and as they were about to
transfer the servant of God from pillar to pillar, the demon in Sergius' son (see ch.
29) became agitated, for he was being forced to go out of him, and he cried with a
loud voice saying, 'Oh, the violence of this false magician! When he was still in the
church he drove me out of Cyrus' daughter; so I went away to Thrace and found a
dwelling in this young man; and behold, he has brought me here from Thrace and
now he persecutes me. What have you to do with me, Daniel?-oh violence! I must
come out from this one, too !' and after reviling the Saint furiously and afflicting the
young man he came out of him by the power of the Lord. As the demon came out, he
created such a stench that all the crowds present could not endure the stench and
had to cover their noses; and the young man lay on the ground with his mouth open
so that all said he was dead and his father beat his breast as if over a corpse. Then
the holy Daniel said to Sergius, 'Make him sit up and give him to drink of the oil of
the saints'. And as the boy drank, vomiting came upon him and he brought up black
clotted blood. Then the servant of God cried from above with a loud voice saying,
'John, what ails you? stand up!' And immediately, as if awakened from sleep, the boy
said, 'What is your will, master?' and He ran forward and embraced the column,
giving thanks to God and the Saint. And fear seized upon them all and for a long
space of time they stretched out their hands to heaven and with tears kept shouting
the 'Kyrie, eleison' (Lord, have mercy!).
34. Then with great ceremony and with an escort to guard him Daniel moved on to
the taller column. And Gelanius, having seen the wonderful works of God, went down
from the hill and related everything in detail to the Emperor and to all the great folk
of the Court. The young man who had been cured fell at his father's feet and
implored him to entreat the servant of God to grant him the holy robe of a monk and,
as the old man could not be persuaded because he wished to keep his son near him,
the son protested saying, 'If you will not do this, then I shall go away secretly to
some other place where you will not even be able to see me'. In this way he
persuaded his father who then petitioned the holy man who received his son and
bade him live with the brethren. After a year had been fulfilled and the young man by
the grace of God was making progress towards the good way of life the holy man
sent for his father and gave the son the holy robe. Then the father was content and
returned to his home rejoicing and glorifying God. After three years the young man
passed away and went to the Lord after having lived a good life.
35. And when these things had thus been auspiciously accomplished Eudoxia* of
pious memory came from Africa and heard all about this holy man from her own son-
in-law Olybrius* of glorious memory; she rejoiced greatly and visited the Saint's
And after prayers had been offered and she had been blessed by him she said,
'Everything I heard from my son Olybrius I have found more abundantly in your
angelic presence* and the prophecies which you announced to him about my coming
here when you were still in the church are also known to me. On that account am I
come both to enjoy seeing you face to face and to receive a perfect blessing. Now I
have many convenient lands here, therefore, if it is to your liking, I beg you to move
on to land that belongs to me, for by so doing you would cause me great content of
spirit'. But the Saint replied to her, 'May the God, Who has shown us sinners the face
of your Piety in the flesh, grant you together with an earthly kingdom a heavenly and
eternal one according to your faith. But as regards my removal you will remember
that our Lord told us (1. Cor 7:24) not to move from place to place, but where each
man is called-provided only that the place be pleasing to God-there, too, let him
practise to remain until he leave this tabernacle; therefore as the Lord has once
planted me here, it is not permissible for me to move from here. For as your Piety
sees, this place is barren and I must not seek a pleasant resting-place'. When
Eudoxia, the most faithful Empress, heard these words she was edified by them all
and, having paid him reverence with all good-will, she came down from the hill.
36. On the following day there happened to come the elder daughter of Cyrus, the
eminent man of whom we have already spoken,* and she had an evil spirit; and after
staying some time in the enclosure she obtained healing through God. After his
daughter had been freed from the demon and returned to her home, the most
distinguished man, Cyrus, whom we have often mentioned, came giving thanks to
God and to the Saint and asked to be allowed to put an inscription on the column.
Though the just man did not wish this to be done, yet, being hard pressed by Cyrus
and not wishing to grieve him, he allowed him to do it. So he had carved on the
column the following lines:
Standing twixt earth and heaven a man you see
Who fears no gales that all about him fret;
Daniel his name. Great Simeon's rival he
Upon a double column firm his feet are set;
Ambrosial hunger, bloodless thirst support his frame
And thus the Virgin Mother's Son he doth proclaim.*
These verses are still inscribed on the column and thus preserve the memory of the
man in whose honour they were written.
37. Things were in this state when a certain elder born in Pontus came to the Saint's
enclosure bringing with him his son, a young man of about twenty years old, who was
afflicted by an evil spirit. And this evil spirit was deaf and dumb. Then the father fell
down before Daniel begging him to heal his son. Now while the father and his son
were still on their way the Saint saw the young man being held fast by his own
servants. And knowing in his spirit why the man was coming, he besought God for
him and asked that He would give him a speedy healing. In consequence the demon
was greatly agitated and having wrenched the young man from the grasp of the
servants who were holding him he dashed away from them. It was Sunday and thus
by the providence of God the ladder was necessarily standing against the column.
And the young man rushed headlong to the ladder and climbed up it, but before he
had gone half way up he was cleansed and descended in perfect health and stood in
front of the column with his father glorifying God; and other signs, too, God did at
Daniel's hands.
38. Now the blessed Emperor Leo* of pious memory had heard from many of these
things and desired for a long time to see the man. Therefore he sent for the pious
Sergius, who carried the Saint's messages, and through him he asked that the Saint
would pray and beseech God to grant him a son. And Daniel prayed, and through
God's good pleasure the Emperor's wife, the Empress Verina,* thereafter conceived
and begot a son- whereupon the Emperor immediately sent and had the foundations
laid of a third column.
39. Now the demon of envy could not control his envy so he found an instrument
worthy of his evil designs. A certain harlot,* Basiane, who had lately come to
Constantinople from the East, entrapped many of those who hunted after women of
her sort. The sons of some heretics summoned her and made the following
suggestion to her: 'If you can in any way bring a scandal upon the man who stands
on the pillar in Anaplus* or upon any of those who are with him, we will pay you a
hundred gold pieces.' The shameless woman agreed and went up to the holy man
with much parade and took with her a crowd of young men and prostitutes and
simulated illness and remained in the suburb opposite the Saint's enclosure. And
though she stayed there no little time she spent her time in vain. As she was
anxious to get possession of the money she went down to the city and plotted after
this fashion. To her lovers she said, 'I managed to seduce the man, for he became
enamoured of my beauty and ordered his disciples to bring me up to him by means of
the ladder; but as I would not consent, the men there planned to lie in wait and kill
me; and it is with difficulty that I have escaped from their hands'. When her lovers
heard this they thought they had gained their object and imparted the news to all
their fellow conspirators. And thereupon as the report spread you could have seen a
war between the believers and unbelievers. While matters were in this state, God
Who rejoices in the truth and ever defends His servants, brought it about that the
abandoned woman, Basiane, should be tormented by an evil demon in the middle of
the City and then and there should proclaim her plot and the wrong which the
licentious men had suggested to her against the righteous Daniel, promising her
money if she were successful. And not only did she make public their names,
shouting them for all to hear, but their rank also. Then could be seen a change in the
ordering of affairs, for the faithful now rejoiced, whilst the faithless who had
threatened to throw stones against the just man were put to shame.
40. While she was being chastised terribly for many days, the Christ-loving
inhabitants of the City took pity upon her and led her away to the Saint and
importuned him to pray to God on her behalf that she might obtain healing. But the
servant of God said to them, 'Believe me, beloved, the former calumnies have now
become as it were blessings to me; for neither does a man who is praised falsely
benefit thereby nor does he sustain any injury who is slandered unjustly. For he who
has entrusted his soul to God rejoices rather in false calumnies-for they procure a
reward for him-than in true praises which swell and puff up the mind'. After these
words as they all besought him to bear no malice against her, because they saw the
wretched woman being so afflicted before the column, he
bade them all stand for prayer. And stretching out his hands to heaven in the sight of
them all, he besought God with tears for many hours that she might be healed. And
it came to pass, as he prayed, that the demon cast her to the ground and came out
of her in that same hour; and he bade them give her to drink from the oil of the
saints. And when she came to herself she stood up and embraced the pillar weeping
and praising God. And all those who were present gave thanks to God Who had
granted such grace to the holy man: and they took her and went away with rejoicing.
41. About that time it was revealed to the holy man by the power of God that very
great wrath from heaven was about to descend upon the city, and he made this
known to the blessed Archbishop Gennadius,* and also to the Emperor, begging them
to order rites of intercession concerning this. But as the feast of the saving Passion
of Christ was at hand, they did not wish to disturb the people and cause sorrow to
reign through the whole city during the feast. And when the holy feast was past, the
matter was not remembered any more.*
42. Thereafter the blessed Emperor Leo of pious memory reflected that he had often
put Daniel to the test and had obtained many benefits through his holy prayers; so,
through a guardsman,* he sent a message to the Archbishop, of whom I have already
spoken, saying, 'Go up to the holy man and honour him with the rank of priest'.-But
the Archbishop was unwilling and sent various excuses to the most pious Emperor
through the messenger. The Emperor waxed indignant at the delay and sent again to
the blessed Gennadius saying, 'If you intend to go up, do so, for I myself am going
and the will of God is coming to pass'. Then the Bishop was afraid, so he took some
of the clerics with him, and came to the holy man's enclosure. The reason of his
coming had been made known to the holy man beforehand. The Archbishop said,
'Father, bless your children'. The holy man replied, 'Your Holiness must bless both me
and them'. The blessed Gennadius said 'For a long time I have wished to come up
and enjoy your prayers; I pray you order the ladder to be placed so that I may come
up and receive a full blessing, for God will convince your Holiness that it is through
my being busied with the manifold needs of the Church that I have not been able to
do this long ago'. But the servant of God having heard these words, though the
Archbishop continued to implore him to allow the ladder to be set against the
column, yet refused to make any further answer.
43. Whilst all those present continued to importune Daniel and the just man still
refused to consent, the day was slipping by; and as the crowd was tormented with
thirst owing to the heat and the Archbishop saw that he was not achieving anything,
he bade the Archdeacon offer a prayer; he himself stood and uttered a further prayer
and through the prayer ordained the holy man to be a priest and said, 'Bless us, sir
priest; from henceforth you are a priest by the grace of Christ; for when I had prayed
God laid His hand upon you from above'.* And for a long time the crowd shouted,
'Worthy is he'. Afterwards all, together with the Archbishop, besought the holy man
saying, 'Order the ladder to be put in position, seeing that you have now become
what you wished to avoid'. On the just man's giving permission for this to be done,
the Archbishop mounted the ladder holding in his hand the chalice of the Holy Body
and the Precious Blood of our good Mediator Jesus Christ our God. After saluting each
other with a holy kiss, they received the communion at each other's hands. Then the
Archbishop descended from the hill and entering the palace reported all that had
happened to the Emperor.
44. And the blessed Leo of pious memory rejoiced in these doings; and not long
afterwards he visited the place in which the holy man dwelt and asked for the ladder
to be set so that he might go up and be blessed. When the ladder was placed, the
Emperor went up to the servant of God and begged to touch his feet; but on
approaching them and seeing their mortified and swollen state he was amazed and
marvelled at the just man's endurance. He glorified God and begged the holy man
that he might set up a double column and that Daniel would take his stand upon it.
[And when this double column had been set up] the Bishop and almost the whole city
came up and people, too, from the opposite shore. As the Emperor Leo importuned
him incessantly to cross over on to it there and then, the servant of God bade planks
to be laid to form a bridge from one ladder to another. This being done, the holy man
walked across to the double column. And on that day so many received healing that
all were astonished.
45. And it came to pass shortly afterwards that there was a great fire in the capital.*
So all the inhabitants were in great distress and the majority had to flee from the
city. They made their way to the holy man and each of them implored him to placate
God's anger so that the fire should cease. At the same time they would relate to him
the personal misfortunes they had suffered; one would say, 'I have been stripped
bare of great possessions'; another, 'As the fire was far off I felt no uneasiness but
slept with my wife and children; but suddenly the catastrophe overtook me and now I
am a widower and childless, and have barely escaped being burnt alive'. Or again
another, 'I ran away from that terrible danger only to suffer shipwreck of my scanty
belongings'. The holy man wept with them and said, 'The merciful God wished to
spare you in His goodness and made these things known beforehand and He did not
keep silence concerning it ;* you should therefore have importuned God and escaped
His terrible wrath. For once upon a time when the Ninevites were warned by the
prophet that destruction threatened them, they escaped it by repenting. I was not
vexed by the thought that God's mercy might prove me to be a false prophet; for I
had as an example the prophet who was angry because of the gourd; and now I beg
you bear with gratitude that which God has sent. For a master is most truly served
when he sees his servant bearing chastisement gratefully; and then he deems him
worthy not only of his former honour but even of greater by reason of his goodwill
towards him'. And many other words of counsel he spoke unto them and turned their
hopelessness into hopefulness and then dismissed them saying, 'The city will be
afflicted for seven days'.
46. When the fire had ceased, fear seized upon all the citizens. And then the most
blessed Emperor Leo of pious memory took his wife and went up and did reverence to
the servant of God and said, 'This wrath was caused by our carelessness; I therefore
beg you pray to God to be merciful to us in the future'.- Now consider, dear reader,
how the saying of the holy man's mother was fulfilled. For now he received the
adoration of the two lights which his mother had seen over her bed in a vision of the
night.*-After all had with one accord received a blessing, the Emperor lodged in the
palace of St. Michael, which was about one mile distant near the sea.
47. One day a terrific storm arose and as for some reason the column had not been
properly secured, it was torn from its supports on either side by the violence of the
winds and was only kept together by the iron bar which held the two columns in the
middle. Thus you could see the double column swaying to and fro with the just man;
for when the south wind blew it leant over to the left side, but when the north wind
blew it inclined to the right, and streams of water poured down like rivers, and the
base was getting shattered, for the violent winds were accompanied by
thunderstorms. His disciples sought to underpin it with iron bars, but one swing of
the column smashed them, too, and very nearly killed the men who tried to
withstand it. Their shouts were mingled with their tears, for they were likely to suffer
the loss of their father, and in their distracted state one ordered one thing and
another. By this time they had all become pretty well desperate; there they stood
trembling and aghast, turning their head from side to side as the column swayed now
this way and now that, following with their eyes to see in what direction the corpse
of the just man would be hurled with the column. But the servant of God answered
not a word to anyone but persevered in prayer and invocations to God for aid; and
through His compassion the merciful God caused the danger to cease by sending a
48. On the following day the Emperor sent his chamberlain,* Andreas by name, to
inquire whether the holy man had suffered any harm from the violence of the winds.
When the messenger came up and saw the extremity of the danger through which
the just man had passed he went back and reported it to the Emperor. When he
heard it he was furious against the architect who had laid the foundation of the
column so badly and the Emperor purposed to put him to death. He went up at once
in all haste and when he saw with his own eyes how the column had been shaken
and what the holy man had endured, he was amazed and all present glorified God.
And the Emperor said to the holy man, 'For all that man could do, you were helpless
and in sore peril, but as you had God to support you, you have triumphed over the
plot of the devisers of evil'. Hearing of the Emperor's threat against the architect, the
servant of God begged the Emperor not to do him any harm. And so a pardon was
granted him, and instructions were given that the column should be fixed securely;
and this was done.
49. As the Emperor was on the point of leaving, the Devil, who is ever envious of the
good, devised against him a dangerous snare because of the so great affection which
he cherished for the holy man; for the horse he was riding shied and reared, and then
fell to the ground on its back together with its rider. The curved edge of the saddle
caught the Emperor's face and grazed it a little and the crown which he was wearing
was shot from his head, and some of the pearls which hung over the back of his neck
were dashed from their setting. The Emperor by the will of God was preserved unhurt,
and after he had gone down to the City a special act of grace was shown by God. For
the Emperor was angry with the general, Jordanes*, who was his count of the stable,
and the latter, seized with fear on hearing his threats, took refuge in the holy man's
enclosure and obediently listening to the just man's counsel, he renounced the
doctrine of the Arians and joined the community of the Orthodox faith. At the same
time the Emperor was reconciled to him; for when he of pious memory heard that the
holy man was anxious about the accident which he had sustained on riding home he
immediately sent Calapodius, his head chamberlain, to reassure the servant of God
and say, 'Your angelic presence* must not have any anxiety about me, for through
your holy prayers I was preserved unhurt, and I know now why I had that accident,
for when visiting your Holiness I ought not to have mounted my horse so long as you
could see me; but, I beg you, pray earnestly to God to forgive me for my ignorance'.
50. Remark now, dear readers, the Wicked One's disgrace!- for just as he thought he
would have some success, he was still further disgraced, for the aforementioned
most pious Emperor built a palace close to the church of St. Michael and spent the
greater part of his days there and became the holy man's inseparable companion.
And in future as soon as he perceived the just man from a distance he alighted from
his horse; similarly, too, when he went down from the hill, he did not mount until he
was hidden from his sight.
51. It happened about the same time that Gubazius,* the king of the Lazi arrived at
the court of the Emperor Leo, who took him up to visit the holy man. When he saw
this strange sight Gubazius threw himself on his face and said, 'I thank Thee,
heavenly King, that by means of an earthly king Thou hast deemed me worthy to
behold great mysteries; for never before in this world have I seen anything of this
kind'. And these kings had a point in dispute touching the Roman policy; and they
laid the whole matter open to the servant of God and through the mediation of the
holy man they agreed upon a treaty which satisfied the claims of each. After this the
Emperor returned to the city and dismissed Gubazius to his native land, and when
the latter reached his own country he related to all his folk what he had seen.
Consequently the men who later on came up from Lazica to the City invariably went
up to Daniel. Gubazius himself, too, wrote to the holy man and besought his prayers
and never ceased doing so to the end of his life
52. In the following year a storm of unbearable violence took place and caused the
Saint's leather tunic* to become like a bit of tow under the searing blast of the
winds, and then the wind tore off even that wretched rag from the holy man and
hurled it some distance away into a gully and the holy man was exposed to the snow
all night long. And as the bitterest winds dashed against his face, he came to look
like a pillar of salt. When morning broke the ladder could not be dragged along to
him because of the tempest's violence, so he remained as he was and very nearly
became a lifeless corpse.
53. But by God's mercy a calm followed, and they brought up the ladder. His disciples
saw the hair of his head and beard glued to the skin by icicles, and his face was
hidden by ice as though it were covered by glass and could not be seen and he was
quite unable either to speak or to move. Then they made haste and brought cans of
warm water and large sponges and gradually thawed him and with difficulty restored
his power of speech. When they said, 'You have been in great danger, father', he
answered them as though he were just awaking from sleep and said at once, 'Believe
me, children, until you woke me, I was completely at rest. When the terrible storm
broke and my garment was torn off me by the force of the winds, I was in great
distress for about an hour, and then after a violent fainting fit I called upon the
merciful God for help. And I was wafted, as it were, into sleep and I seemed to be
resting on a magnificent couch and kept warm by rich coverings and I saw an old man
sitting on a seat by my head, and I thought he was the man who met me on the road
when I was coming away from the blessed Saint Simeon's enclosure.* And he
appeared to be talking with great love and sincerity and he pointed out to me a huge
hawk coming from the East and entering this great city and finding an eagle's nest on
the column in the Forum of the most pious Emperor Leo. And he came and settled
down in the nest with the eagle's young and then no longer appeared to be a hawk
but an eagle. And I inquired of the old man what that might mean. And he answered.
"There is no need for you to learn that now, but you shall know hereafter". And whilst
he held me in his arms and warmed me, the same Old man said very pleasantly, "I
love you dearly; I wanted to be near you; many fruit-bearing branches are to blossom
from your root". And as we found pleasure in each other you did not do well in waking
me; for I was delighted at meeting him'. Then the disciples said to the holy man,
'We pray your forgiveness, but truly we were in great despair; for we thought your
Holiness had died. What do you think that vision means, father?' He said to them, 'I
do not understand it clearly, but God will do what is pleasing to Him and expedient
for us'. But his disciples tried to interpret the vision and said, 'It behoves you with
the help of the Emperor to bring the corpse of the holy and most blessed Simeon to
this city. For it appears from the vision that this is the pleasure of the blessed Saint
The servant of God said to them, 'Fetch another leather tunic and wrap me in it'.
54. And the Emperor considering the peril through which Daniel had passed, said, ' It
is not right for him to stand naked and unprotected and incur such dangers'. And he
went up to him and begged him to let him make him a shelter of iron in the shape of
a little enclosure. But the holy man did not wish it saying: 'Our sainted father Simeon
did not have anything of the kind although he was far older than myself; therefore it
is right that I who am young should practise endurance and not seek ease which
relaxes the body'. But the Emperor replied, 'You have spoken well, father, and I
approve your resolve; for I rejoice in your endurance, when I see, too, the help of
God which constantly sustains you. For this reason a crown is being woven for you;
yet be willing to serve us for many years still, and therefore do not kill yourself
outright, for God has given you to be fruitful on our behalf'. With these arguments he
with difficulty persuaded the holy man to accept his offer; and then the shelter was
made. And from that time on the holy man remained untouched by storms. All the
visitors who came from different nations, were they kings or emperors or
ambassadors, the Emperor in person would either take them to see the Saint or send
them up, and he never ceased boasting of the Saint and showing him to all and
proclaiming his feats of endurance.
55. About that time a certain Zeno,* an Isaurian by birth, came to the Emperor and
brought with him letters written by Ardaburius, who was then General of the East; in
these he incited the Persians to attack the Roman State and agreed to cooperate
with them. The Emperor received the man and recognizing the importance of the
letters he ordered a Council to be held; when the Senate had met the Emperor
produced the letters and commanded that they should be read aloud in the hearing of
all the senators by Patricius,* who was Master of the Offices at that time. After they
had been read the Emperor said, 'What think you?' As they all held their peace the
Emperor said to the father of Ardaburius, 'These are fine things that your son is
practising against his Emperor and the Roman State'. The father replied, 'You are the
master and have full authority; after hearing this letter I realize that I can no longer
control my son; for I often sent to him counselling and warning him not to ruin his
life; and now I see he is acting contrary to my advice. Therefore do whatsoever
occurs to your Piety; dismiss him from his command and order him to come here and
he shall make his defence'.
The Emperor took this advice; he appointed a successor to Ardaburius and dismissed
him from the army; then ordered him to present himself forthwith in Byzantium. In
his place he gave the girdle of office to Jordanes* and sent him to the East; he also
appointed Zeno, Count of the Domestics.
And the Emperor went in solemn procession and led him up to the holy man and
related to him all about Ardaburius' plot and Zeno's loyalty; others told him, too, how
Jordanes had been appointed General of the East in place of Ardaburius. The holy
man rejoiced about Jordanes and gave him much advice in the presence of the
Emperor and of all those who were with him then he dismissed them with his
56. Some time later it befell that a report was spread that Genseric, King of the
Vandals, intended to attack the city of Alexandria;* this caused great searchings of
heart to the Emperor and to the Senate and to the whole city. So the Emperor sent
his spatharius* Hylasius, who was a eunuch, to inform the holy man about Genseric
and of the Emperor's intention to dispatch an army to Egypt. Hylasius went up and
delivered the Emperor's message to the holy man; and the holy man said to him, 'Go
and say to the Emperor, "Do not be troubled about this, for God sends word to you
through me, a sinner, that neither Genseric nor any of his will ever see the city of
Alexandria; but if you wish to send an army that is a matter for you to decide; the
God, Whom I adore, will both preserve your Piety unhurt and will strengthen those
who are sent against the enemies of the Empire".' Hylasius departed and reported
these words to the Emperor, and by the grace of God his words come true.*
57. Thereupon the Emperor returned thanks to God and the holy man, and went up to
the ladder and asked his permission to build a lodging for the brethren and for
strangers. But the blessed Saint opposed the idea saying, 'Saint Simeon never had
any building at all in his enclosure during his lifetime; but I beseech your Piety to
grant me the request I make of you'. The Emperor said, 'I for my part beseech you to
do so, command me if you have any wish', to which the holy man replied, 'I beg you
to send men to Antioch, and to bring back the corpse of Saint Simeon'. The Emperor
rejoiced at this request and answered, 'Do you then give orders for a house to be
built where strangers can rest, and a dwelling for the brethren: for I see that with
God's help the number of brethren and disciples will increase, and there will be a
large crowd of strangers who will be sore put to it if they come up and find no place
wherein to lodge. For the blessed Simeon, as you said, did not live in such a storm-
beaten place, nor did people go up to him for so many different needs but only to
pray and to be blessed; whereas you suffer annoyance in many ways from those who
are perplexed over matters of State. Through them I receive many letters from you
and rejoice to do so, for they bring me much profit. And so let that come to pass
which I wanted when I made my request'. Then the blessed Daniel said to the
Emperor, 'Since it was for the glory of God and for the protection of brothers and
strangers that your Piety proposed to do what you suggest, give orders for it to be
done'. Then the Emperor planned that the martyr-chapel of Saint Simeon should be
placed to the north of the column and be built with piers and vaults but no columns;*
and the monastery for brothers and strangers should be behind the column. And after
prayers had been offered, he returned to the city.
58. While the work was progressing well by the grace of God, the remains of Saint
Simeon arrived from the city of Antioch.* Being informed of this the Emperor ordered
the Archbishop to announce that the deposition of the holy remains would take place
and that there would also be an all-night service in the church of St. Michael at
Anaplus because the Emperor himself was in his palace there. Thus on the following
day an imperial carriage was prepared in which the Archbishop took his seat and
taking the remains with him went up the hill in this fashion, and all the people in
untold numbers, some going ahead, and others following, made their way to the
appointed place singing psalms and hymns. And many healings took place on that
day of the deposition of the holy remains. After the service which followed the whole
populace streamed out into the enclosure to the holy man in order to be blessed. And
the Archbishop with all the clergy went there likewise; and a throne was placed in
front of the column; and when the Archbishop had taken his seat he said to the holy
man, 'Behold, the Lord has fulfilled all your desires; and now bless your children with
your counsel'. After the deacon had said the 'Let us attend', the holy man from his
pillar said to the people: 'Peace be upon you !' and then opening his mouth taught
them, saying nothing rhetorical or philosophical, but speaking about the love of God
and the care of the poor and almsgiving and brotherly love and of the everlasting life
which awaits the holy, and the everlasting condemnation which is the lot of sinners.
And by the grace of God the hearts of the faithful people were so touched to the
quick that they watered the ground with their tears. After this the Archbishop offered
a prayer, and then the holy man dismissed them all, and each man returned to his
house in peace.
59. One day a disbelieving heretic came up to the holy man, ostensibly for prayer,
with his wife and children and some girls; but instead of prayers he began uttering
calumnies against the holy man and poking witticisms at him. And the crowds who
were united in their belief in God said to him, 'What are you doing, man, talking thus
foolishly and, instead of praying, hindering us? Why have you come up here?' He said
to them, 'I, too, heard from many about this man and came up to be edified, and I
found the opposite; for when I approached the column to do obeisance I found this
fish lying on the step'. And from the inside of his garment he pulled out a very large
fried fish, which he had prepared in the market as lunch for himself and his
companions; this he showed them, casting blame upon the holy man for being a
voluptuary and not temperate. They who saw it first were astonished at his scheme
and then, after censuring him severely, they left him alone saying, 'You will find out
what lies you are uttering against the servant of God'. And as he was returning to
the city, in order that the merciful God might make manifest how He protects His
servants, it came to pass that the man himself, as well as his wife and children,
began to shiver with ague; then after they had reached the market of the Archangel
Michael and he wanted to partake of the fish, the wretched fellow was suddenly
seized by an unclean spirit, and as he was driven by the demon all round the market
he confessed all the deception he had practised against the holy man. And so, being
driven on by the demon, he reached the enclosure with all his friends following him.
There they persisted in their repentance and made full confession. Within three days
the Lord healed them after they had been given oil of the saints to drink. As thank
offering he dedicated a silver icon, ten pounds in weight, on which was represented
the holy man and themselves writing these words below, 'Oh father, beseech God to
pardon us our sins against thee'. This memorial is preserved to the present day near
the altar.
60. At that time the blessed Emperor Leo heard from many about a certain Titus, a
man of vigour who dwelt in Gaul and had in his service a number of men well trained
for battle; so he sent for him and honoured him with the rank of Count that he might
have him to fight on his behalf if he were forced to go to year. This Titus he sent to
the holy man for his blessing; on his arrival the Saint watered him with many and
divers counsels from the Holy writings and proved him to be an ever blooming fruit-
bearing tree; and Titus, beholding the holy man, marvelled at the strangeness of his
appearance and his endurance* and just as good earth when it has received the rain
brings forth much fruit, so this admirable man Titus was illuminated in mind by the
teaching of the holy and just man and no longer wished to leave the enclosure, for
he said, 'The whole labour of man is spent on growing rich and acquiring possessions
in this world and pleasing men; yet the single hour of his death robs him of all his
belongings, therefore it is better for us to serve God rather than men'. With these
words he threw himself down before the holy man begging him to receive him and let
him be enrolled in the brotherhood. And Daniel, the servant of the Lord, willingly
accepted his good resolve. Thereupon that noble man Titus sent for all his men and
said to his soldiers,* 'From now on I am the soldier of the heavenly King; aforetime
my rank among men made me your captain and yet I was unable to benefit either
you or myself, for I only urged you on to slaughter and bloodshed. From to-day,
however, and henceforth I bid farewell to all such things; therefore those of you who
wish it, remain here with me, but I do not compel any one of you, for what is done
under compulsion is not acceptable. See, here is money, take some, each of you, and
go to your homes'. Then he brought much gold and he took and placed it in front of
the column and gave to each according to his rank. Two of them, however, did not
choose to take any, but remained with him. All the rest embraced Titus and went
their ways.
61. When the Emperor heard this he was very angry and sent a messenger up to the
holy man to say to Titus, 'I brought you up from your country because I wanted to
have you quite near me and I sent you to the holy man to pray and receive a
blessing, but not that you should separate yourself from me'. Titus replied to the
messenger, 'From now on, since I have listened to the teaching of this holy man, I
am dead to the world and to all the things of the world. Whatever the just man says
about me do you tell to the Emperor, for Titus, your servant, is dead'. Then the
messengers went outside into the enclosure to the holy man and told him everything.
And the holy man sent a letter of counsel by them to the Emperor, beseeching him
and saying, 'You yourself need no human aid; for owing to your perfect faith in God
you have God as your everlasting defender; do not therefore covet a man who to-day
is and tomorrow is not; for the Lord doeth all things according to His will. Therefore
dedicate thy servant to God Who is able to send your Piety in his stead another still
braver and more useful; without your approval I never wished to do anything'.
And the Emperor was satisfied and sent and thanked the holy man and said, 'To
crown all your good deeds there yet remained this good thing for you to do.* Let the
man, then, remain under your authority, and may God accept his good purpose'. Not
long afterwards they were deemed worthy of the holy robe, and both made progress
in the good way of life; but more especially was this true of Titus, the former Count.
62. Next the Devil, the hinderer of good men, imbued Titus with a spirit of
inquisitiveness and suggested that he should watch the holy man in order to see if
he ate and what he took to eat. So one day he waited till about the time of lamp-
lighting and then unnoticed by all the brethren he remained outside in the enclosure
hidden behind the column. When the nightly psalmody took place in the oratory the
brothers imagined he had stayed behind because he was sick. The following day he
spent with all the others. Although he did the same thing for seven nights, he found
out nothing. Finally he openly conjured the holy man to explain his manner of life to
him. And the holy man granted him his wish saying, 'Believe me, brother, I both eat
and drink sufficient]y for my needs; for I am not a spirit nor disembodied, but I too
am a man and am clothed with flesh. And the business of evacuation I perform like a
sheep exceedingly dryly, and if ever I am tempted to partake of more than I require,
I punish myself, for I am unable either to walk about or to relieve myself to aid my
digestion; therefore in proportion as I struggle to be temperate, to that degree I
benefit and the pain in my feet becomes less intense'. Titus answered, 'If you, your
Holiness, who are in such a state of body and standing in such a wind-swept spot,
struggle in that manner to be temperate for your own good, what ought I to do who
am young in years and vigorous in body?' The Saint replied, 'Do whatever your flesh
can endure; neither force it beyond measure nor on the other hand abandon it to
slackness; for if you load a ship beyond its usual burden, it will readily be sunk by its
weight, but if on the contrary you leave it too light, it is easily overturned by the
winds. By the grace of God, brother, I understand my natural capacity and know how
to regulate my food'. After hearing this Titus went away to the oratory, took his place
in one corner and hung himself up by ropes under his armpits so that his feet did not
rest upon the ground, and from one evening to another he would eat either three
dates or three dried figs and drink the ration of wine. He also fixed a board against
his chest on which he would sometimes lay his head and sleep and at others place a
book and read.
63. And he did this for some long time and benefited all those who visited him;
amongst these was the most faithful Emperor, Leo, for whenever he went up to the
holy man, after taking leave of him, he would go in to the blessed Titus; and
beholding his inspired manner of life he marvelled at this endurance and besought
him to pray for him. And it pleased the Lord to call him while he was at prayer, with
his eyes and his face turned upwards and heavenwards, and thus it was that he
breathed his last. The brethren looking at him thought he was praying as usual.
When evening had fallen, the two brethren came who had formerly been his servants
and now ministered unto him and brought him all he required, and they discovered
that he was dead. And when they began to lament all recognized that he had gone to
his rest. His head lay back on his neck, his hands were crossed and supported by the
plank and since the weight of the body was borne by the shoulder ropes his legs
hung down straight and were not bent up. And as one looked on the corpse of this
saintly champion it showed the departed soul's longing for God. The brethren went
and told the elders who came out to the holy man's enclosure and announced to him
the death of the glorious saint. When he heard of it he thanked the Lord and bade
them carry out the corpse to him after the time of lamp-lighting and put it in front of
the column and hold an all-night service there in his memory. The nest day Titus was
buried in the tomb of the elders by command of the holy man.
64. After Titus had died this holy death, one of the barbarians who had come with
him and had been named Anatolius by the holy man aspired to the same kind of life
in the same place, and conducting himself blamelessly therein for a long time he
greatly benefited all those who visited him. Thus his fame spread on every side. As
he wished to flee from glory among men he went out at night into the enclosure to
the holy man and fell down before him imploring him to grant him his permission.
The holy man inquired the reason and, on hearing it, prayed over him and dismissed
him. After receiving his dismissal Anatolius travelled to the chapel of St. Zacharias in
Catabolus (the Harbour) and took up his dwelling there in a suburb on the opposite
shore; at that time Idoubingos* was general. Shutting himself up in a small cell, he
lived in it for a long time; later he established a small monastery* of about twelve
men, which by the grace of God and the prayers o f the holy father is still in
existence to-day; thus in blessedness he passed away to the Lord.
65. About that time the pious Emperor Leo married his daughter Ariadne to Zeno* (of
whom we have spoken before) and also created him consul. And shortly afterwards
when the barbarians created a disturbance in Thrace, he further appointed him
commander-in-chief in Thrace.* And in solemn procession he went up to Anaplus to
the holy man and besought him as follows: 'I am sending Zeno as general to Thrace
because of the war which threatens; and now I beg you to pray on his behalf that he
may be kept safe'. The holy man said to the Emperor, 'As he has the holy Trinity and
the invincible weapon of the Holy Cross on his side he will return unharmed.
However, a plot will be formed against him and he will be sorely troubled for a short
time, but he shall come back without injury'. The Emperor said, 'Is it possible, I beg
you, for any one to survive a war without some labour and trouble?' When they had
received a blessing and taken their leave they returned to the city. Then the
aforesaid Zeno set out for the war and soon afterwards a plot was formed against
him as the holy man had foretold, but by God's assistance he escaped and reached
the Long Wall and crossed from there and came to Pylae ;* and later still he reached
the city of the Chalcedonians.
66. Now while the patrician Zeno was still absent at the war a male child was born to
him by the Emperor's daughter and received the name of Leo.* When Aspar and his
sons stirred up a rebellion against the most pious Emperor Leo, He 'that maketh wars
to cease unto the ends of the earth (Ps. 45:9) fought on the side of the pious
Emperor and destroyed them both. After that Leo crowned his own grandson and
namesake, emperor. And thus it came to pass that Zeno took courage and crossed
from Chalcedon to the city and entered the palace and came to the Emperor Leo.
67. As time went on it befell that the pious Emperor Leo the Great fell sick and died;
* he made a good end and left as successor to the throne his own grandson Leo, son
of the patrician Zeno. Then the Senate convoked a meeting because the Emperor was
an infant and unable to sign documents; and they determined that his father Zeno
should hold the sceptre of the Empire. And thus he was crowned and became
Emperor. After three years had passed the Lord took the infant, the pious Emperor
Leo, into His eternal kingdom; and he went to the land of his fathers, and left the
Empire to his* father.
68. The Roman government was being well administered by the will of God, and the
State was enjoying a time of quiet and order, and the holy churches were living in
peace and unity, when the ever envious and malignant Devil sowed seeds of unjust
hatred in the hearts of some who claimed to be the Emperor Zeno's kinsmen, I mean
Basiliscus, Armatus and Marcianus and some other senators. When Zeno became
aware of the treachery that was being planned against him, he went up to the holy
man and confided to him the matter of the plot. The holy man said to him, 'Do not
let yourself be troubled about this; for all things that have been foreordained must
be accomplished upon you. They will chase you out of the kingdom, and in the place
where you find a refuge, you will be in such distress that in your need you will
partake of the grass of the earth. But do not lose heart; for it is necessary that you
should become a second Nebuchadnezzar, and those who are now expelling you,
having felt the lack of you, will recall you in the fullness of time. You will return to
your Empire, and more honour and glory shall be added unto you and you shall die in
it. Therefore bear all with gratitude; for thus must these things be'. The Emperor
thanked him for these words (for he had already put him to the test in the case of
other prophecies of his) and after being blessed by the holy man he took his leave
and went down to the City.
69. Now the malicious men whom I mentioned above had free access to the blessed
Empress Verina, Basiliscus because he was her brother and chief of the Senate, and
Armatus as being her nephew and Zuzus as being the husband of her sister, and
Marcianus the husband of her daughter and son of an emperor. They were constantly
at her side and by their guile persuaded her to conspire with them to drive Zeno from
the throne. As he knew of their wickedness and that he was in danger of
assassination, he took his own wife, the Empress Ariadne, and some eunuchs, and
unbeknown to all he left the palace one night during a very heavy storm. They
crossed the straits and landed* at Chalcedon because of their pursuers, and they
escaped and reached the province of Isauria. The Empress Verina so controlled the
revolution that she secured the crown for her brother Basiliscus; who shortly
afterwards attempted to do away with his own sister. However, she fled to the
oratory of the Ever-Virgin Mary in Blachernae and remained there as long as
Basiliscus lived.
70. Next Basiliscus-name of ill omen*-made an attack upon the churches of God, for
he wished to bring them to deny the incarnate dispensation of God. For this reason
he came into conflict with the blessed Archbishop Acacius, and sought to malign him
so as to bring about his ruin. Directly news of this attempt reached the monasteries
all the monks with one accord assembled in the most holy Great Church in order to
guard the Archbishop. After some consideration the Archbishop ordered all the
churches to be draped as a sign of mourning, and going up into the pulpit he
addressed the crowds and explained the blasphemous attempt which was being
made. 'Brethren and children', he said, 'the time of martyrdom is at hand; let us
therefore fight for our faith and for the Holy Church, our mother, and let us not betray
our priesthood.' A great shout arose and all were overcome by tears, and since the
Emperor remained hostile and refused to give them any answer, the Archbishop and
the archimandrites determined to send to the holy man, Daniel, and give him an
account of these things, and this they did.
71. And it happened by God's providence that on the following day Basiliscus sailed
to Anaplus, and sent a Chamberlain* named Daniel, to the holy man to say, 'Do
those things which the Archbishop Acacius is practising against me seem just to your
angelic nature?* for he has roused the city against me and alienated the army and
rains insults on me! I beg you, pray for us that he may not prevail against us'. After
listening to him the holy man said to Daniel, 'Go and tell him who sent you, "You are
not worthy of a blessing for you have adopted Jewish ideas and are setting at nought
the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ and upsetting the Holy Church and despising
His priests. For it is written 'Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast
your pearls before the swine' (Matt. 7: 6.) Know therefore and see, for the God Who
rendeth swiftly will surely rend your tyrannous royalty out of your hands". When the
chamberlain heard this answer he said he dared not himself say these things to the
Emperor and besought Daniel to send the message in writing, if he would, and to
seal it with his seal. The holy man yielded to the eunuch's entreaties, wrote a note
and after sealing it, gave it to Daniel and dismissed him; and he returned and
delivered the sealed note to the Emperor. He opened it and when he learnt the
purport of the message he was very angry and immediately sailed back to the city.
These things were not hidden from the Archbishop Acacius and his most faithful
people; therefore on the following day almost the whole city was gathered together
in the Great Church and they kept shouting, 'The holy man for the Church! let the
new Daniel save Susanna in her peril! another Elijah shall put Jezebel and Ahab to
shame! in you we have the priest of orthodoxy; he that standeth for Christ will
protect His bride, the Church'. And other such exclamations they poured forth with
72. On the morrow the Archbishop Acacius sent to Daniel some of the archimandrites
who were best beloved of God; these were the blessed Abraamius of the monastery
of St. Kyriakus, Eusebius who dwelt near the Exakionium* Athenodorus of the
monastery of Studius* and Andreas, the vicar of the exarch,* and some others.
Having chosen these he sent them saying, 'For my sake and the faith's go to the holy
man Daniel, throw yourselves before his column and importune him with entreaties
saying, "Do you imitate your teacher Christ Who 'bowed the heavens and came down'
(Ps. 18:9) and was incarnate of a holy virgin and consorted with sinners and shed His
own blood to purchase His bride, the Church. (Acts 20:28) Now that she is insulted
by the impious, and her people are scattered by fierce wolves and the shepherd
tempest-tost, do not ignore my grey hairs but incline your ear and come and
purchase your mother, the Church'. And they went and did as they were bid and threw
themselves down before the column; and the holy man seeing them lying on the
ground was disturbed and began to call to them from above, 'What are you doing,
holy fathers, mocking my unworthiness? What is it that you bid me do?' Then they
stood up and said, 'That you with God's help should save the faith which is being
persecuted, save a storm tossed church and a scattered flock, and save our priest
who, despite his grey hairs, is threatened with death'. And Daniel said to them, 'He
is truthful that said, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against the holy Church''
(Matt. 16:18); wait patiently therefore where you are and the will of God shall be
done; pray then that God may reveal to us what we should do'. And it came to pass
that as Daniel was praying in the middle of the night, and as the day dawned-it was
a Wednesday-he heard a voice saying distinctly to him, 'Go down with the fathers
and do not hesitate; and afterwards fulfil your course in peace!' Obedient therefore
to the counsel of the Lord he woke his servants. And they placed the ladder and went
up and took away the iron bars round him. And Daniel came down with difficulty
owing to the pain he suffered in his feet, and in that same hour of the night he took
the pious archimandrites with him and they sailed to the City and entered the church
before the day had begun.
73. And thus it was that when the people came to God's house while, according to
custom, the fiftieth psalm was being sung, they saw the holy man in the sanctuary
with the Bishop and marvelled; and the report ran through the City that he had come.
All the City, and even secluded maidens, left what they had in hand and ran to the
Holy Church to see the man of God. And the crowds started shouting in honour of the
Saint saying, 'To you we look to banish the grief of the Church; in you we have a high
priest; accomplish that for which you came; the crown of your labours is already
yours'. But the holy man beckoned with his hand to the people to be silent and
addressed them through the deacon, Theoctistus, 'The stretching forth of the hands
of Moses, God's servant, utterly destroyed all those who rose up against the Lord's
people, both kings and nations; some He drowned in the depths of the sea, others
He slew on dry land with the sword and exalted His people; so to-day, too, your faith
which is perfect towards God has not feared the uprising of your enemies, it does not
know defeat nor does it need human help; for it is founded on the firm rock of Christ.
Therefore do not grow weary of praying; for even on behalf of the chief of the
apostles earnest prayer was offered to God, not as if they thought he was deserted
by God but because God wishes the flock to offer intercessions for its shepherd. Do
you, therefore, do likewise, and amongst us, too, the Lord will quickly perform
marvellous things to His glory'. After he had said this they took down all the
mourning draperies from the sanctuary and the whole church. Daniel also wrote a
letter to the Emperor saying, 'Does this angering of God do you any service? is not
your life in His hands? What have you to do with the Holy Church to war against its
servants, and prove yourself a second Diocletian?' And many other things like these
he wrote both by way of counsel and of blame. When the Emperor received the letter
and found that Daniel had come down and was in the church he was stung by the
prick of fear and sent back word to him, 'All your endeavour has been to enter the
City and stir up the citizens against me; now see, I will hand the City, too, over to
you'. And he left the palace and sailed to the Hebdomon.*
74. When the holy man heard this news, he took the crossbearers and the faithful
people and bidding the monks guard the Church and the Archbishop he went out. As
they reached Ammi, close to the chapel of the prophet the holy Samuel, the just man
being carried by the crowd of the Christ-loving people, behold, a leper approached
and cried aloud saying, 'I beseech you, the servant of the God Who healed lepers, to
pray Him that I may be healed!' On hearing him the holy man ordered his bearers to
halt; and when the leper had drawn near, the holy man said to him, 'Brother, how
came you to think of asking me things that are beyond my power? for I, too, am a
man encompassed with weakness even as you are'. The leper replied, 'But I beg you,
I know that you are a man of God; and I believe that the God Whom you serve will
grant me cleansing in answer to your prayers; for the apostles too were but men and
yet through their prayers the Lord healed many'. The holy man marvelling at his faith
said to him, 'Do you then believe in Him Who gave healing to many through His
saints?' The leper said, 'Yes, and I believe that even now if you pray I shall be
healed'. Then Daniel turning to the East asked the people to stretch forth their hands
to heaven and with tears to cry aloud the 'Kyrie eleeson' (Lord, have mercy!) And
when he deemed that they had done this long enough, he said to the men near him,
'In the name of Jesus Christ, Who cleansed lepers, take him and wash him in the sea
and wipe him clean and bring him back'. They ran off with the man, washed him in
the sca and by the power of Jesus Christ the leper was healed on the spot. When the
multitudes saw this astonishing miracle they shouted unceasingly the 'Kyrie eleeson'.
Then the crowds took the man that was healed, all naked as he was, and returned to
the City and brought him into the Holy Church and leading him up to the pulpit
declared this wondrous miracle to all. The whole city ran together and beholding him
who had been a leper cleansed by God through the holy man's prayers they glorified
God for making the leper spotless. And so all those in the City who had sick folk ran
to the servant of God. And the Lord gave healing abundantly to them all.
75. Thereafter as the holy man with the crowd approached the palace of Hebdomon,
a Goth leant out of a window and seeing the holy man carried along, he dissolved
with laughter and shouted, 'See here is our new consul !' And as soon as he said this
he was hurled down from the height by the power of God and burst asunder. Then
sentinels, or the palace guards,* prevented those who had seen the fall from
entering into the palace, saying they should have an answer given them through a
window. But when the people insisted with shouts that the holy man should enter
the palace but received no answer, the servant of God said to them, 'Why do you
trouble, children? You shall have the reward promised to peacemakers from God; and
since it seems good to this braggart to send us away without achieving anything, let
us do to him according to the word of the Lord. For He said to His holy disciples and
apostles, "Into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter and they do not receive you,
shake off the dust of your feet against them as a testimony to them"; (Matt 10:11)
let us therefore do that'. And he first of all shook out his leather tunic and incited the
whole crowd to do likewise; and a noise as of thunder arose from the shaking of
garments. When the guards who were on duty* saw this and heard all the marvellous
things God had wrought by Daniel most of them left all and followed him.
76. When the impious Basiliscus heard what the holy man had done in condemnation
of him, he sent two guardsmen of the court and a legal secretary of the Emperor*
with them to overtake Daniel and implore him to return. These men overtook Daniel
and implored him in the name of Basiliscus saying 'The Emperor says "if I indeed
sinned as a man, do you as servant of Christ propitiate Him on my behalf and I will
seek in everything to serve God and your Holiness"." But the holy man said to them,
'Return and say to the Emperor: Your words of guile and deceit will not avail to
deceive my unworthiness, for you are doing nothing but "treasuring up for yourself
wrath in the day of wrath"; (Rom 2:5) for in you there is no fruit of good works;
wherefore God will shortly confirm his wrath upon you that you may know that "the
Most High ruleth over the kingdom of men" (Dan 5:21) and will give it to the good
man in preference to you'.(Cf. I Sam 15:28) With these words he bade the Emperor's
secretary to spread out his cloak and after shaking the rest of the dust from his own
clothing into the cloak he said, 'Go, carry this to the braggart as a testimony against
him and against her who is his confederate* and against his wife' Directly after the
messengers had returned and given the Emperor the just man's answer, the tower of
the palace fell; since even lifeless things may feel the wrath of God to the salvation
of many.
77. When the just man had arrived at the Golden Gate and saw the concourse of
people, he besought them to return each to their own home. But they as with one
voice cried, 'We intend to live and die with you; for we have nothing with which to
repay you worthily; receive the resolve of your suppliants and lead us as you will, for
the Holy Church awaits you'. Whilst the people were uttering these cries two young
men afflicted with demons were brought to him; and after he had prayed with tears
to God, they were immediately cleansed and they followed him glorifying God.
78. When they came to the chapel of St. John in the monastery of Studius* the
monks came out and requested the holy man to come in and offer prayer in their
prophet's shrine and to rest a little from the thronging press which encompassed him.
When he consented to come in and offer prayer there was such a crush of people in
the narrow passages that many only narrowly escaped being trodden to death. Then
after Daniel had offered prayer in the venerable shrine and passed through to the
sacristy he and the men who carried him had a short rest. And the monks had the
idea of taking him through the garden to the sea and bringing him by boat to the
Great and very Holy Church. When the people got wind of this, a great tumult arose
among them and they shouted and said, 'Bring the just man here if you love
orthodoxy; do not begrudge healing to the sick'. They also said to the just man,
'Freely you have received therefore freely give! (Matt 10:8) if you desert us we will
burn down the chapel at once'. So the holy man came out of the sacristy and
addressed them, reassuring them and asking them to go on ahead of him and thus
relieve the pressure of the crowd.
79. When Daniel came out of the prophet's shrine and was going on his way, behold,
a certain woman, as did the woman of Canaan, (Matt 15.22) cried to him saying, 'Oh
servant of God, have pity on my daughter, for she whom you see has now been
bedridden for three years in the grip of an unknown disease, and though many
doctors have visited her, not one of them has been able to help her. So now I
beseech you, oh holy man, do not despise my tears for I am sorely distressed about
her'. Seeing her in such terrible grief, the holy man was dissolved in tears, and
raising his eyes to heaven and stretching out his hands to God he prayed; and then
calling the girl close to him he sealed her with the sign of the precious Cross and
said to her, 'In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Who ever worketh our salvation and
does not desert us, be thou cured of this disease'. And the girl was cured of her
scourge in that hour in the sight of all the people.
80. When they drew nigh to the house of the most glorious patrician Dagalaiphus,*
the patrician himself leaned out from an upper window and seeing that the holy man
was being unbearably crushed by the thronging crowd, he ran down with a body of
helpers and took him out of the crush and caused him to be carried into his house
near the Forum of the Ox* to rest there. He himself stood in the porch and excused
himself to the people by saying, 'I did this in order that my house might be blessed'.
And he put Daniel into a litter and secured him well by posting men round the litter
to prevent his being troubled by the crowd. And in this manner he was brought in
safety to the Church without any difficulty.
81. When he entered into the most holy Cathedral he was received in great sincerity
and with acclamation by the Archbishop Acacius and the holy archimandrites and all
the reverend clergy and the most pious monks and the most faithful people. And all
glorified the merciful God for the marvellous things that they had heard and seen
which God had done through him. And they led him into the vestry that he might
have a short rest from the pressure of the crowd. And behold a snake came out from
some hole and wound itself round his feet; those present were terrified on seeing the
animal and ran forward to kill it; but the holy man prevented them saying, Leave it
alone, it is near its end'. and shaking it off his feet he said to it 'Go to thy place !'
and it went to the wall opposite them and in the sight of all of them it burst in
82. The patrician Herais* hearing that he was in the vestry came in, threw herself on
the ground and seized the holy man's feet, begging him that she might have a son.
But when she saw that on the one foot the sole had dropped away from the ankle
bone and there was nothing left but the shin bone she was amazed at the man's
endurance. She gave him a little cord and begged him to wind it round his inflamed
foot and give it to her. But he would not suffer this to be done. Then the Archbishop
Acacius and all the pious men present besought the holy man to grant her what she
asked. Then the holy man consented, took the cord and placed it on his inflamed foot
and gave it to her saying, 'According to thy faith may the Lord grant thee thy request
for a son; and his name shall be Zeno'. And it came to pass that soon afterwards this
most noble woman conceived and bore a son and called him by the name of Zeno
according to the word of the Saint.
83. When all these things had been thus auspiciously accomplished by the grace of
the Lord, and when Basiliscus of ill-omened name* had heard from his legal secretary
of the Saint's condemnation of him and of the sudden fall of the palace tower, it did
not seem to him to augur any good. And immediately without a moment's delay he
entered a boat and sailed from the Hebdomon to the City; and the next day he sent
senators to the very holy Cathedral to beseech the Saint to take the trouble to come
as far as the palace. But he would not consent to go but said, 'Let him come himself
to the Holy Church and make his recantation before the precious Cross and the holy
Gospel which he has insulted; for I am but a sinful man'. The senators went back and
gave this message to the Emperor, whereupon in solemn procession he at once went
to the Church. The Archbishop met him with the holy Gospel in the sanctuary and was
received by the Emperor with dissimulation; then after the customary prayer had
been offered Basiliscus went in with the Archbishop to the holy man. And they both
fell at his feet before all the people, both Basiliscus and the Archbishop Acacius. And
Daniel greeted them and counselled them to seek the way of peace and for the
future to refrain from enmity towards each other. 'For if you are at variance', he said,
'you cause confusion in the holy churches and throughout the world you stir up no
ordinary unrest'. The Emperor then made a full apology to the holy man and the
people cried out saying, 'Oh Lord, protect both father and sons; it is in Thy power to
grant us concord between them; let us now hear the Emperor's confession of faith!
why are the canons of orthodoxy upset? why are the orthodox bishops exiled? To the
Stadium with Theoctistus,* the Master of the Offices! the Emperor is orthodox! burn
alive the enemies of orthodoxy! send the disturbers of the world into exile! a
Christian Emperor for the world! let us hear what your faith is, Emperor!'
These and countless other exclamations the people kept shouting, and all the time
the Emperor and the Archbishop lay prostrate on the ground at the holy man's feet.
84. Then the holy man summoned Strategius, the imperial secretary, and bade the
Emperor make a proclamation to the people by way of justification, and this he did.
And the secretary mounted the pulpit and began to read as follows: 'We believe that
your Reverences-perfect in understanding as you are-cannot fail to know that from
infancy up we have been orthodox and have communicated in the very Holy Church in
which our children were baptized; and that we believe in the one holy and
consubstantial Trinity, and we approve your warm championship of the faith. Do not,
therefore, accept any childish insinuation against us from those who say that we do
not think rightly concerning the holy faith. For you know yourselves that we who are
soldiers brought up and trained to arms are not able to understand the depths of the
holy faith; but since it is now a time for peace and no season for controversy, I can
pass over many things, since we are able completely to convince you, our beloved
subjects, that we shall not be found guilty of a single one of those charges which
men in their fickleness plotted to bring against us. This is our justification before
God and the holy man and we have stated it clearly to you.' Having in this way
appeased the holy man and the people, the Emperor was reconciled to them. And
having been reconciled to the Archbishop in the sight of them all the Emperor
returned to his palace. Thus did our Master God bring the enemy of His Holy Church
to His feet.
85. When all minds were set at rest and the people were moving off to their own
homes the servant of God returned to his usual practice of asceticism, but when he
had sailed back he reached his column only with difficulty owing to the press of
faithful people and of those overmastered by divers illnesses. Therefore with great
danger and much distress he made the ascent of his column and summoned them all,
and after praying to God he dismissed them all restored to health. To the clergy and
monks and the people who had remained behind he said, 'It was not with honesty of
purpose that the persecutor appeared to make peace with us; be patient therefore
and you will soon see the glory of God; for the Lord will not overlook the affliction of
His servants and His holy churches'. And thus it was accomplished by the will of God,
for after a short time Zeno, the Emperor, returned with his wife, the Empress
Ariadne, the daughter of royal parents.* Thenceforth the holy churches rested in
much contentment and the State grew glorious and the Roman government waxed in
strength. And the aforesaid usurper met with his due reward, as the servant of God
had foretold. And thereafter the Emperor often went up to the holy man returning
thanks to the merciful God, and also to the Saint, reminding him of the things which
he had foretold should happen.
86. Once a goldsmith came up from the City to the holy man with his wife and they
brought with them their seven-year-old child who had never walked from birth but
spent his life crawling along. This goldsmith came to the holy man and throwing
himself and his child in front of the column, he besought the holy man saying, 'Oh
servant of God, have pity on my young child who longs to stand up but cannot do so,
for nature conceived him contrary to nature; grant me this joy, oh servant of God, for
I have followed your holy foosteps; do not send me away, I pray you, with my
petition unfulfilled'. The holy man replied, 'Do not be so impatient in your words; for
your zeal towards God, if accompanied by faith and patience, will release your son
from his calamity; do not be discouraged but go with the child and remain by the holy
relics of Simeon,* the holy servant of God and our father; anoint the child's feet with
the holy oil and bring him back here when prayer is being offered, and we trust in
God that He will give him healing'. The man did as the holy man had ordered him,
and on the seventh day, when prayer had been offered in the enclosure, the boy
suddenly jumped on to the steps of the pillar and went up and embraced the column;
all marvelled and glorified God for this wonderful happenings And his parents gave
thanks to God and to the holy man and took the boy home in health. When the boy
grew to be a man he frequently visited the holy man, received a blessing and
returned home.
87. A certain man travelling to Constantinople from the East fell among robbers who
stole from him everything that he had with him, mutilated his body, cut the sinews of
his knees and leaving him half dead, went their ways; but by the providence of God
they had not inflicted any mortal wound on him. Some wayfarers who came to that
place picked him up and carried him to the city of Ancyra, for it was close to that city
that this had befallen him. There they took him to the bishop who ordered him to be
conveyed to the hospital and cared for there. But while his wounds were tended he
was not able to walk. He therefore made this request of the bishop, 'I was travelling
to Constantinople in fulfilment of a vow making my way to our lord Daniel, who
stands on the column, when I met with this accident; and now that, thanks to you, I
have been healed it behoves me to fulfil my vow. I pray you, therefore, servant of
God, to send me safely to Constantinople to the holy man' The bishop, since he
thought that this was a pious request; gave him money for his expenses, also a
beast and two men to conduct him to the holy man Daniel. So the men took him and
brought him to the holy man's enclosure and then carried him and laid him in front of
the column. The man cried aloud and told the holy man the reason for which he had
come and related what had happened to him and how he had been saved by the help
of God and the bishop. The holy man sent thanks to the bishop for the kindness he
had shown to the man and after furnishing those who had brought him with supplies
for their journey he dismissed them in peace with presents for the bishop. He handed
over the man to some of the servants with orders to carry him and bring him to the
enclosure daily at the hour of prayer, and to anoint him with the oil of the saints; the
man's legs hung down as if they did not belong to him. After a few days, one Friday
when the Saint had said the prayers as usual and all had said 'Amen', the man
suddenly leapt from the litter, and stood on his feet and said with a loud voice,
'Bless me, oh servant of God'. And he quickly ran up the steps and embraced the
column giving thanks the while to God.
88. Here I think it would be reasonable to make known the faith which lay hidden in
Hippasius, the 'second centurion'.( Matt 7:5-13: Luke 7:2-10) This man was so rich in
the great poverty of Christ that the cures performed by Christ's disciples he accepted
as though wrought by the Lord Himself; for if any one of his house, be it son or
daughter or man-servant or maid-servant, fell ill or suffered from anything, he judged
himself unworthy to seek the intercession of the Saint, but would send letters asking
for the Saint's prayers. On receiving the holy man's written rep1y he would lay the
letter, as if it were the miracle-working hand of Jesus, on the sufferer and
immediately he received the fruits of his faith
89. A certain woman had a son of twelve years, Damianus by name, dumb from birth;
him she brought to the holy man's enclosure and signing to him not to go away, she
left him and departed. Then when the brethren saw the boy staying there and saying
nothing to anybody, they brought him to the holy man. He, beholding him, ordered
that he should remain in the monastery, saying, 'The boy shall be God's minister'.
The brethren said, 'He is dumb, master !' He said to them, 'Moisten his tongue with
the oil of the saints'. But the brethren suspected that from stress of poverty the
mother had suggested to him to feign dumbness; so very often when the boy was
asleep they woke him suddenly by making a noise; and at other times they would
prick him in the body with needles or pens to try whether he would speak. But he
said nothing, as he was held by the power of dumbness. One Sunday, after some
considerable time had passed, when the holy Gospel was going to be read aloud, and
the deacon had announced the lesson from the holy Gospel of St. Matthew, the boy
shouted out ahead of the others, 'Glory be to thee, oh Lord!' And after uttering this
first cry he in future surpassed all the brethren in his singing of the psalms. A certain
chamberlain, Calopodius by name, had built an oratory to the holy Archangel Michael
and came to the holy man asking him to give him some brethren for this oratory in
Parthenopolis.* And together with the brethren the holy man gave him this boy to
sing the psalms and he became God's minister, as the servant of God had foretold
about him. So great are the achievements of grace, so great the gifts of our Master
to His sincere servants; he came not speaking and became a good speaker, he came
voiceless and gained a beautiful voice, he was deserted by his mother as dumb and
he proved to be the wonderful herald of the church.
90. Many other marvellous works, too, were performed by God through His servant
Daniel which neither words can describe nor tongue relate; these we must of
necessity omit so as not to prolong our story unduly; for those we have told are
sufficient to confirm the faithful and to lead the faithless to turn to the faith. But let
us attempt to describe how resolute and inflexible was the faith of the holy man.
Through the Devil's working a tumult once arose in the most holy churches, for tares
had sprung up from vain disputations and questionings, so that some of the monks,
who were renowned for good living, through their simple-mindedness and through
their failure to consider the matter with precision, left the most Holy Church and
separated themselves from the holy fellowship and liturgy. These mischief-makers
came to the holy man and tried to confound him with similar arguments, but he who
kept the foundation of the holy faith unmovable and unshakable answered them
saying, 'If the question which you raise is concerning God, your inquiry is no simple
or ordinary matter, for the Divinity is incomprehensible; and it will be sufficient for
you to study the traditions of the holy apostles about Him and the teaching of the
divine Fathers who followed in their steps and not trouble yourselves any further. But
if the matter in dispute is about human affairs, as, for instance, if one priest has
removed another, or has accepted one to whom the others object, all such things
must be submitted to the judgment of God and to the rulers themselves to judge
according to the divine canons; for we are the sheep and they are the shepherds, and
they will give account to God for the flocks entrusted to them; let us abstain from
vain and dangerous questionings and let us each consider that which concerns
ourselves knowing that it is not without danger that we separate ourselves from our
holy mother, the Church. For her bridegroom is the true Shepherd Who is able to
recall to His fold the sheep that have strayed and to lead those who have not
strayed to better pasture. Therefore it suffices us to believe unquestioningly in the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and to receive the incarnate dispensation of our Lord
Jesus Christ and his birth from the Virgin in the same way as He Himself was pleased
to do in His own loving kindness, for it is written: 'Seek not out the things that are
too high for thee, neither search the things that are too deep for thee' (Ecclesiasticus
3:21). With this and similar counsel and warning he led their hearts away from soul-
destroying questionings and kept them unshaken in the faith.
91. He also foresaw the death of the Emperor Zeno and this he made known to him
through one of those who often came to visit him, first by ambiguous messages, and
then later he warned him clearly that he would receive the recompense for his good
and evil deeds. He told Zeno that owing to his faith in God and his good deeds he
might have full confidence when he came into the presence of God; but he must be
mindful to abstain from all covetousness, and he must excel in the good ordering of
his life and banish all informers and treat with generosity all those who had sinned
against him; for by nothing is God better pleased than by forgiveness and
gentleness. These things he said before Zeno's death; and to us he foretold that
after her husband's death the Christ-loving Ariadne would reign over the Empire
because of her perfect faith in the God of her fathers. And that with her would reign a
man who loved Christ and had devoted his whole life to hymns to God and to vigils,
who was a model of sobriety to all men and who in gentleness and justice would
surpass all those who had reigned at any time; 'he will turn aside, too', he said,
'from that love of money which according to the apostle is "the root of all evil''.(I Tim
6:10) He will govern the State impartially and honestly, and throughout his reign he
will grant peace and confidence to the most holy churches and to the order of monks.
In his time the rich shall not be favoured, neither shall the poor be wronged, for this
above all, both in peace and in war, will be the surest guarantee of prosperity to the
world.' All these predictions were confirmed shortly afterwards, for when Anastasius*
had been elected Emperor, his acts in themselves were sufficient proof to the world
that the Saint's prophecies had been fulfilled, and those who dwelt in the holy man's
enclosure realized this more especially since they received all manner of benefits.
92. During the holy man's first illness, from which he was expected to die, the pious
sovereigns of whom I have spoken moved by divine zeal, displayed great eagerness
to honour his memory, for they brought from the capital a very large tomb of precious
stone and splendid metal-work which can be seen to this day in the consecrated
enclosure, a very wonderful sight for visitors and of surpassing lavishness, and
whatever was needed for the funeral they supplied with the greatest generosity. And
it is superfluous to mention the munificence of the liberality of the pious sovereigns
and their unfailing protection. This devotion to the Saint which was so fruitful and a
fountain of kindly deeds the servant of God heard of after his recovery and said, 'All
these acts are truly great and worthy of their faith in God and sufficient to call down
the goodwill from above upon them, but a resting-place of stone and one so
distinguished does not befit me; for I desire the earth only according to God's
command: "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return''.(Gen. 3:19) The rulers will
receive a far greater recompense from God; but I myself wish to be buried deep down
in the earth and have the remains of holy martyrs laid above me, so that, if anyone
should wish to visit my resting-place to strengthen his faith, he may pay his
reverence to the Saints and from them receive the reward of his good deeds and free
himself from condemnation'. This wish we carried out according to his orders after his
second illness and actual translation. For above his revered grave lie the relics of the
three holy children, Ananias, Azarias and Misael. These were brought from Babylon by
the Emperor Leo of pious memory during the lifetime of the holy man, and were
deposited by Euphemius,* the most holy Archbishop of the imperial city, who out-
rivalled all others in his zeal for showing honour to the holy man; so we did not
experience any feeling of separation from our blessed and glorious father. And at the
moment of Daniel's blessed death the sovereigns increased their gifts, for they
bought tens of thousands of candles and illuminated both the oratories; and
beginning at the very top of the column they filled with candles all the spiral
scaffolding built for the descent of the holy corpse.
93. So great a grace of prophecy was granted to this holy man that three months
before his falling asleep he foretold to us that within a few days he would quit the
dwelling of his body and go to dwell with the Lord. And from that time on he did not
converse with those that resorted to him about present-day matters only, but by
foreknowledge he also announced future events to them, strengthening them with
words of good counsel, and he gave injunctions to his usual attendants and to us
how his precious body was to be brought down from the column.
And in every instance in which we obeyed him things turned out propitiously for us;
but if perchance we did anything contrary to his command, or as we thought fit, being
satisfied with our human planning, it was sure to turn out contrariwise for us; for he
had been deemed worthy by God of the prophetic gift.
94. And as he had been granted this wonderful grace the glorious man also told us
beforehand of Herais,* the servant of God, and said that moved by spiritual zeal she
would not allow his holy body to be brought down except by the means she herself
would provide, and he warned us that nobody should oppose her in this intention,
and this, too, came to pass. For this most noble servant of God, Herais, generous as
ever, made lavish provision for the funeral of our thrice-blessed father Daniel
supplying an abundance of candles and oil beyond measure and gold for distribution
to the poor and a great quantity of wood. And she ordered a number of men who
were experienced in such works to erect a structure spiralwise round the column and
about the entrance to the oratory where the much-enduring body of the noble
champion of the ascetic life was to lie, so that it might not be injured by the onrush
of the crowd trying to snatch a relic. And according to the command of the holy man
nobody hindered her in this pious purpose.
95. Seven days before his falling asleep he summoned the whole brotherhood, from
chiefest to least, and some he bade stand quite near him on the top of the ladder
and listen to his words. When he knew they were assembled, he said, 'My brothers
and children, behold, I am going to our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. God Who
created all things by His word and wisdom, both the heaven and the earth and the
sea and all that in them is, Who brought the race of men into being from that which
was not, He Who is terrible to the angels but good to men, Who "bowed the heavens
and came down'' (Ps. 18:9) upon the earth "like rain upon the mown grass", (Ps. 72:
6) upon the holy virgin Mary, the mother of God, and was pleased to be incarnate of
her, as He alone understands, and to be seen by men upon earth, Who "took away
the sins of the world'' (John 1:29) and suffered for us, and "with His stripes" (Is. 53:
5) upon the Cross healed our spiritual wounds, and "nailed the bond that was against
us to the wood of the Cross'', (Col 2:14) He will strengthen you and will guard you
safe from evil and will keep your faith in Him firm and immovable if you continue in
unity with each other and perfect love until you draw your last breath. May He give
you grace to serve him blamelessly and to be one body and one spirit continuing in
humility and obedience. Do not neglect hospitality; never separate yourselves from
your holy mother, the Church, turn away from all causes of offence and the tares of
heretics, who are the enemies of Christ, in order that ye may become perfect even as
also your heavenly Father is perfect. And now, I bid you Farewell, my beloved
children, and I embrace you all with the love of a father; the Lord will be with you.'
These words he ordered to be read aloud to the brethren by those who had stood
nearest to him and caught the words, for he was lying down. When this had been
done, and the brethren had heard the holy father's prayer and farewell they burst into
such weeping and wailing that the noise of their lamentation sounded like unto a
clap of thunder. Once again the holy man prayed over us and then dismissed us
telling us not to be faint-hearted but bear up bravely, 'and make mention of me in
your prayers !'
96. From that hour on, as if moved by some divine providence, the body of faithful
people came up of their own accord. And they would not move from the holy man's
enclosure until Euphemius, the most holy Archbishop of this imperial city, arrived. He
mounted the column and looked, and then standing high up on the ladder, announced
to all the people, 'The holy man 1S still alive and with us; do not be troubled; for it
is impossible for his holy body to be consigned to the grave before news of his death
has been published to everyone and all the holy churches everywhere have been
informed'. And this was done.
But I must not forget to mention the greatest thing of all which was indeed worthy of
wonder. Three days before his falling asleep in the middle of the night he was
allowed to see at one time all those who had been well-pleasing to God. They came
down and when they had greeted him they bade him celebrate the divine and august
sacrament of the Eucharist, and two brethren standing by were allowed to be hearers
of the words and to make the due responses. And directly he had completed the
liturgy of God he woke up from his trance and coming to himself he asked for the
holy communion to be administered to him; this was done and he partook first, and
we all at that hour of midnight also partook of the Holy Mysteries just as if he had
been administering to us the holy sacrament. Then, bidding farewell to the crowds
who surrounded him, he bade the brethren present throw incense into the censer
without ceasing.
97. Just about the time of his holy departure from this life a man vexed with an
unclean spirit suddenly cried aloud in the midst of the people, announcing the
presence of the saints with the holy man, naming each one of them; and he said,
'There is great joy in heaven at this hour, for the holy angels have come to take the
holy man with them, besides there are come, too, the honourable and glorious
companies of prophets and apostles and martyrs and saints; they are tormenting me
now, and to-morrow at the third hour they will drive me out of this tabernacle; when
the holy man is going to his home in the heavens and his saintly corpse is being
brought down, I shall come out.' And this did indeed happen. Our glorious father
Daniel died at the third hour on the following day, a Saturday, December 11th in the
second indiction (A.D. 493), and at the time of his death he worked a miracle in that
the man with an unclean spirit was healed.
98. When they took down the railing they found his knees drawn up to his chest, and
his heels and legs to his thighs. And whilst his body was being forcibly straightened,
his bones creaked so loudly that we thought his body would be shattered; yet when
he was laid out, he was quite entire except that his feet had been worn away by
inflammation and the gnawing of worms. The weight of the hair of his head was
divided into twelve plaits, each of which was four cubits long; likewise his beard was
divided into two and each plait was three cubits long. Most of the Christ-loving men
saw this.
They clad him, as was his wont, in a leather tunic, and a plank was brought up and
laid on the column and he was placed on it.
99. At early dawn the Archbishop Euphemius, dearly beloved of God, came and went
up the column by the spiral way and kissed the precious corpse, and thus, too, did all
the faithful high dignitaries and officials, for they went up* to the head of the
column, gave their benediction and kissed his blessed body and came down.
But the people demanded that the holy man should be shown to them before his
burial, and in consequence an extraordinary tumult arose. For by the Archbishop's
orders the plank was stood upright-the body had been fixed to it so that it could not
fall-and thus, like an icon, the holy man was displayed to all on every side; and for
many hours the people all looked at him and also with cries and tears besought him
to be an advocate with God on behalf of them all. When this had been done, behold,
all the people suddenly saw clearly with the naked eye three crosses in the sky
above the corpse and white doves flying round it.
100. Next there was great anxiety about the manner of bringing it down for the
funeral; for the Archbishop Euphemius was afraid the corpse might be torn asunder
by the crowd, so he ordered it to be put into a case of lead, and this coffin the
aforementioned 'illustris', the most pious Herais, also provided. This coffin was raised
on the shoulders of the most holy Archbishop Euphemius and he bore it together with
the noblest officials and pious men, and they brought down the corpse by way of the
spiral stairway without its being hurt.
But in order to receive a blessing the people rushed forward in front of the entry to
the chapel and as the planks could not bear such a sudden rush they parted from
each other and all the men who were carrying the coffin were thrown to the ground
with the holy corpse. By the grace of the Lord the carriers did not suffer any injury
nor did they give way, but they most marvellously withstood the onrush of the crowd
so that among those countless thousands of men, women and children not a single
one sustained any harm.
And Daniel was brought into the oratory and laid to rest underneath the holy martyrs
as he had wished.
101. These few short reminiscences out of many, beloved, we have recorded in this
our work as best we might. We rejected a multitude of words in order to avoid
satiety, and although numberless incidents have been omitted, we are assured that
these will suffice the faithful for remembrance and give them all that they desire.
Now let us in a short summary review his whole life down to the end of his time on
Our all-praiseworthy father Daniel bade adieu to his parents when he was twelve
years old, then for twenty-five years he lived in a monastery; after that during five
years he visited the fathers and from each learned what might serve his purpose,
making his anthology from their teaching. At the time when the crown of his
endurance began to be woven the Saint had completed his forty-second year, and at
that age he came by divine guidance, as we have explained above, to this our
imperial city. He dwelt in the church for nine years, standing on the capital of a
column, thus training himself beforehand in the practice of that discipline which he
was destined to bring to perfection. For he had learned from many divine revelations
that his duty was to enter upon the way of life practised by the blessed and sainted
For three and thirty years and three months he stood for varying periods on the three
columns, as he changed from one to another, so that the whole span of his life was a
little more than eighty-four years.
During these he was deemed worthy to receive 'the prize of his high calling';( 1
Philipp. 3:14.)1 he blessed all men, he prayed on behalf of all, he counselled all not
to be covetous, he instructed all in the things necessary to salvation, he showed
hospitality to all, yet he possessed nothing on earth beyond the confines of the spot
on which the enclosure and religious houses had been built. And though many,
amongst whom were sovereigns and very distinguished officials occupying the
highest posts, wished to present him with splendid possessions he never consented,
but he listened to each one's offer and then prayed that he might be recompensed by
God for his pious intention.
102. While we bear in mind our holy father's spiritual counsels let us do our utmost
to follow in his steps and to preserve the garment of our body unspotted and to keep
the lamp of faith unquenched, carrying the oil of sympathy in our vessels that we
may find mercy and grace in the day of judgment from the Father, the Son and the
Holy Ghost now and henceforth and to all eternity, Amen.
For the whole subject of the asceticism of the Stylite Saints see the masterly study
of Hippolyte Delehaye, Les Saints stylites (=Subsidia Hagiographica, vol. I4),
Brussels, Société des Bollandistes, 1923; the text of the Life of Daniel, pp. I-94.
There is a previous publication of the Life in Analecta Bollandiana 32 (19I3), pp. 121-
229; this has an index of proper names which is lacking in the later edition. For a
study of the new historical material contained in the Vita cf. English Historical Review
40 (1925),pp.397-402.
The reader of the Life of Daniel will naturally be interested in the life of Daniel's
master Simeon: for that life the sources are
(i) Theodoret, Historia Religiosa, ch. 26, the account of an eye-witness;
(ii) a Syriac Life of which there is a German translation by Hilgenfeld in H. Lietzmann,
Das Leben des heiligen Symeon Stylites (=Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte
der altchristlichen Literatur, edd. A. Harnack and C. Schmidt, vol. 32, Heft 4),
Hinrichs, Leipzig, 1908;
(iii) a Greek Life-the text in Lietzmann, ibid.;
(iv) Evagrius, Historia Ecclesiastica, Book I, ch. I3; of this there is an English
translation in Bohn's Ecclesiastical Library, History of the Church by Theodoret and
Evagrius, London, 1854,pp.272-6.
[Note (Halsall): Now also see Robert Doran, trans, The Lives of Simeon Stylites,
(Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1992), for translations of the lives by
Theodoret of Cyrrhus, by Antonius, and of the Syriac Life]
Of these sources there is an admirable study by P. Peeters recently published in
Analecta Bollandiana 61 (1943), pp. 29-71, S. Syméon Stylite et ses premiers
Biographes which shows that our most reliable source is the Syriac Life.
Antioch might share with Constantinople the possession of the saint's relics, but the
pillar remained and about the pillar the devotion of Simeon's Syrian admirers raised a
majestic church. The remains of that church have been closely studied of recent years
and a note of the principal publications may be of interest:
H. W Beyer, Der Syrische Kirchenbau (=Studien zur spätantiken Kunstgeschichte,
edd. Richard Delbruck and Hans Lietzmann, vol. I), De Gruyter, Berlin, I925, pp. 69-
72: the building of the church dated between A.D.460 and 490.
H. C. Butler, Early Churches in Syria: Fourth to Seventh Centuries, ed. E. Baldwin
Smith. Princeton Monographs in Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, I929,pp.97-
I09. For Simeon's column see p. 100: height 40 ft.: it is suggested that the summit
was 6 ft. square.
Daniel Krencker and Rudolf Naumann, Die Wallfahrtskirche des Simeon Stylites, etc.
Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften Jahrgang 1938
Philosophisch-historische Klasse Nr.4, De Gruyter, Berlin, 1939-a sumptuous
publication: account of excavations in the spring of 1938 with plans and photographs,
but see the review by A. M. Schneider in Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen for 1939, pp.
335-42; G. de Jerphanion, in Voix des Monuments N.S., Pontificio Istituto Orientale,
Roma, I938,pp. III-33 and in Orientalia Christiana Periodica 9 (1943),pp. 203-II.
Readers may be glad to have a reference to the French translation of the life of
another stylite saint: François Vanderstuyf, Vie de Saint Luc le Stylite (879-979),
Patrologia Orientalis, edd. R. Graffin and F. Nau, Tome II, Fasc. 2(1914).
For the history of the period covered by Daniel's life cf. J. B. Bury, History of the
Later Roman Empire, Macmillan, London, 1903, vol. I; Otto Seeck, Geschichte des
Untergangs der antiken Welt, vol. 6, Metzler, Stuttgart, I920, with an Anhang of
notes, 192I; Ernst Stein, Geschichte des spatromischen Reiches, Vol. I, Seidel,
Vienna, 1928. For details of the struggle between the Germans and the Isaurians cf.
E. W. Brooks in English Historical Review 8 (1893), pp.209-38.
ch. 2,
'two great lights': for the explanation of the vision see ch. 46.
ch. 4
'When he was twelve years old-' For the admission of children into monasteries at
this time cf. the case of Heliodorus who was received into the monastery of
Eusebonas when he was only three years old: for sixty-two years he never left the
monastery and he told Theodoret that he had no idea what a pig or a cock might look
like. Theodoret, Historia religiosa, Migne, Patrologia Graeca. vol. 82.Col 1468.
ch. 7
Telanissae: the Greek text of Theodoret has the form Telanissos or Telanessos: the
Syriac form is Telneschin or Telneschil: cf. H. Lietzmann, Das Leben des heiligen
Symeon stylites (see above), p. 205.
ch. 7
For the apologetic for St. Simeon's strange form of asceticism see Theodoret, Historia
Religiosa, ch. 26, Migne: Patrologia Graeca, vol. 82, col. 1473, and in Hilgenfeld's
translation of the Syriac Life in Lietzmann, op. cit., ch. 117, pp. 163-5.
ch. 9
'at last you are free': a surprising consequence of his appointment as abbot.
ch. 10
The revolt of the Samaritans. Hatred of the Christians led to many revolts of the
Samaritans: in 484 Zeno took Gerizim from the Samaritans and built there a church
dedicated to the Virgin. After the violence of the Samaritan revolution of 529 many of
their synagogues were destroyed: some of the Samaritans became Christians, while
others escaped into Persia.
ch. 11
For the reappearance of the old man see ch. 53.
ch. 12
On the writer's sources of knowledge see the Introduction, p. 6.
ch. 12
'in the quarter of the city named after Basiliscus': "epano tou propulou tes eisodou
tou marturiou ta kata Basilikon. Tà K.B. is curious and we are not sure how the words
should be translated.
ch. 13
a place called Anaplus: cf. J. Pargoire, Anaple et Sosthène, Izvyestiya russkago
arkheologicheskago Instituta v Konstantinopolye 3 (1898), pp. 60-97. Pargoire has
shown that the word Anaplous has many meanings: (i) the navigation of the
Bosphorus up against the current from Constantinople to the Black Sea or the whole
of the Bosphorus itself; (ii) the S.W. coastline of the Bosphorus from the suburb of
Sycae (Galata) to the narrows halfway between Constantinople and the Black Sea;
(iii) a specific place (or perhaps to two specific places), as in this Vita, where
Anaplus=the modern Roumeli-Hissar.
ch. 14
'Paul his disciple'-a mistake which was corrected by the author of the shorter Life who
omits the name of Paul. Antony is, of course, St. Antony, 'the first monk', whose Life
was written by Athanasius.
ch. 7
'a small'window': semnen thurida cf. ch. 20 s.f. Thurida; see ch. 20 monasterion
semnon, ch. 64 s.f. Kai sustesamenos semnon monasterion hosei andron dodeka. It
is not easy to see how semnos comes to mean 'small' .
ch. 17
with nothing to do: umeis adioketoi menete We are not sure of the translation of
ch. 17.
'the blessed Anatolius': Anatolius was Patriarch of Constantinople from 449 to July
3rd, 458. For the date of his death cf. Franz Diekamp, Analecta Patristica
(=Orientalia Christiana Analecta, No. 117), Pontificium Institutum Orientalium
Studiorum, Roma, 1938, p. 55 note.
ch. 20
'a small monastery': see note on ch. 15.
ch. 20
'a small window': see note on ch. I5.
ch. 22
St. Simeon's leather tunic: dermokoukoullon. There is a difficulty here, since Simeon's
instruction before his death was that the skins which were his only garments should
be his sole covering after death. The writer of the Syriac Life says 'and this was
done'. Hilgenfeld in Lietzmann, Das Leben, etc., ch. 123, p. 168.-The leather covering
may of course have been abstracted after Simeon's death to be presented to the
Emperor, as later the Saint's relics were carried to Constantinople. Peeters writes:
'S'il y a contradiction entre les deux textes, on ne la résoudra pas en accordant a
priori la préférence au narrateur gree', Analeeta Bollandiana 61 (1943), p. 59.
Perhaps dermokoukoullon should be translated 'leather tunic with its cowl', cf. ch. 52
ch. 22
'the sleepless ones': the monks who sought to maintain prayer both night and day
within the monastery: to 'pray without ceasing'. Cf. the article by E. Marin s.v.
'Acémètes' in the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, edd. A. Vacant and E.
Mangenot, vol. ix Paris, 1903, coll. 304-8. The founder of the body of 'sleepless
monks' was Alexander, who formed a monastery in Constantinople c. 420. The monks
had attacked Nestorius who was at that time supported by the Court; in consequence
they were driven from the capital and took refuge in the monastery of Rufinianae of
which Hypatius was abbot. Later they moved fifteen miles farther up the Asiatic
shore of the Bosphorus to Irenaion=the modern village of Tchiboukly opposite Stenia-
for the identification of Stenia with Sosthenion of the Byzantines see Pargoire, op.
cit. (note on ch. 13) pp. 61-5. At Irenaion the 'sleepless monks' built a large
monastery housing some 300 monks: they were divided into separate choirs and thus
praise to God was sung continuously without pause night or day. A vivid account of
the sufferings of the Akoimetoi before they settled at Irenaion is given in the Life of
St. Hypatius by Callinicus of which there is a useful edition, Leipzig [1895], and that
story is re-told by J. Pargoire, Les Débuts du Monachisme à Constantinople, Revue
des Questions historiques, N.S. 21 (1899), pp. 133-43.
ch. 23
'guardsman': Silentiarius. The silentiarii formed the body of 'ushers who kept guard at
the doors during meetings of the Imperial Council and Imperial audiences'. J. B`.
Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, Macmillan, London, 1923, vol. I, p. 33 note.
Cf. ch. 42 infra, and see A. Vogt, Constantin VII Porphyrogénète, Le Livre des
Cérémonies, Commentaire, Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1935, pp. 46-7.
ch. 24
'fluttering': Thopeuousan. Topeuein means to 'flatter'. There is apparently no parallel
to its meaning in this passage which can be only to 'flutter'. It has been suggested
that in English 'flatter' and 'flutter' are forms of the same word and that it has
undergone a change in meaning similar to that in the case of the Greek Topeuein,
though this differentiation has been marked in English by a vowel change. See
Maurice Leroy, Nugulae byzantinae, Annuaire de l'Institut de philologie et d'histoire
orientales et slaves 6 (1938), pp 95-9
ch. 25
'steward of the sacred table': kastriesios tes theias trapezes. For the imperial table
and its controller o epi tes trapezes, cf. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Ceremoniis
(Bonn edition), p. 463 (cf. pp. 70, 484); J. B. Bury, The Imperial Administrative
System of the Ninth Century (=British Academy Supplementary Papers I), Oxford
University Press, 1911, pp. 125-6. The Castresios (Castrensis) would appear to have
been his subordinate; he is mentioned by Constantine VII, ibid., pp. 742, 744.
ch. 27
Anatolius, cf. ch. 17. For a biography of Gennadius see Franz Diekamp, op. cit. (note
on ch. 17), pp. 54-70, and see ch. 41-3 infra.
ch. 28
'a Syro-persian from Mesopotamia': 'Syro-persian'= a Persian subject speaking Syriac.
Leroy argues that in the case of such compound words the first part describes the
country of origin and the second part the habitat. He compares Mark vii. 26. Maurice
Leroy, loc. cit. (note on ch. 24), pp. 102-4.
'the last rungs': In the Vienna MS. of the Vita the word 'four' is added here: if this
reading were adopted the ladder used for Daniel's first column would have had ten
ch. 31
Cyrus. For the famous Praefect of Constantinople and Praetorian Praefect of the East
cf. J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire (see note on ch.23), vol. l, pp. 227-
9. His buildings in the capital caused the crowd in the Hippodrome to shout
'Constantine built the city, but Cyrus renewed it'. See further the article by Otto
Seeck in Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll, Realencyclopädie der classischen
AItertsmswissenschaft, vol. 12, Stuttgart, 1924, coll. 188-90. Cf. ch. 36 infra.
ch. 31
Chrysaphius: the all-powerful eunuch under Theodosius II. See J. B. Bury, op. cit.,
vol. 1, pp. 229, 235-6; Otto Seeck, Realencyclopädie, vol. 3 (1899), coll. 2485-6-'the
Spatharius'-see note on ch. 56.
ch. 32
On Gelanius see note on ch. 25.
ch. 35
Eudoxia, the daughter of Theodosius II and Eudocia, married Valentinian III in 437
and in Ravenna was declared Augusta in 439. In 455 her husband died, and in the
same year Gaiseric, the Vandal, invaded Italy, sacked Rome and carried off as
prisoners Eudoxia and her two daughters, Placidia and Eudocia. In 462, under the
terms of a treaty of peace concluded with Gaiseric, Eudoxia and Placidia were
restored from captivity and returned to Constantinople. Of her later history we know
nothing. See the article by Otto Seeck, Realencyclopädie (see note on ch. 31), vol. 6
(1907), coll. 925-6.
ch. 35
Olybrius, a member of the aristocracy of Rome, escaped from the western capital
when it was sacked by Gaiseric and as the present Vita shows reached
Constantinople; he had probably been betrothed to Placidia, the daughter of Eudoxia,
while in Italy: this would explain his inquiries which Daniel had answered concerning
the return from Africa of Eudoxia and her daughtcr. Gaiseric (whose son Huneric had
married Placidia's sister Eudocia) desired Olybrius to be declared Emperor in the
West. Olybrius was sent to Italy by Leo, and after the death of Anthemius ruled
there as emperor for seven months. He died-surprisingly-a natural death. It is
doubtful whether he was recognized as Emperor by the East Roman Court; on the
circumstantial story given by Malalas of Leo's attempt to procure the assassination of
Olybrius see J. B. Bury, English Historical Review, vol. I (1886), pp. 507-9. The story
is unsupported by any other authority; how did Malalas learn the details which he
gives (Malalas, p. 374, Bonn ed.)? See Ernst Stein, Geschichte des spätramischen
Reiches, vol. I (see p. 73), pp. 582-3, and T. Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, vol. 2,
ed. 2, Oxford, I 892, index. s.v. 'Olybrius', and probable genealogy, p. 474.
ch. 35
'your angelic presence': para to so angelo i.e. 'with your angel'='with your angelic
self'. For this curious use of the word 'angel' see H. Grégoire, 'Ton Ange' et les Anges
de Théra", Byzantinische Zeitschrift 30 (1929-30), pp. 641-4. Professor Grégoire
thinks that this form went out of use after the seventh century: it was too 'osé de
saluer un ange dans un chrétien vivant, fût-il un saint'. 'On se contente d'expressions
plus prudentes comme isangelos ['equal to the angels'], angelikos ['angelic']; on
parla d'âmes concitoyennes des anges'. Cf. infra, ch. 49, 7 I .
ch. 36
Cyrus. See note p. 77, ch. 31I .
ch. 36
On this epigram cf. Père Delehaye's article Revue des Études grecques 9 (1896), pp.
216-24. Delehaye suggested that the inscription was the work of Cyrus himself: he
has contributed several epigrams to the Greek Anthology: cf. vii. 557; ix. s36,623,
808,809; xv. 9.
ch. 38
The Emperor Leo I. For the reign cf. J. B. Bury, op. cit. (see note on ch. 23), vol. I,
pp. 314-23; Ensslin in Realencyclopädie (see note on ch.31 ), vol. 12 (1925), coll.
ch. 38
The Empress Verina, cf. the note on ch. 55.
ch. 39
'a certain harlot': the Greek text has an otherwise unknown word tuphas.: Maurice
Leroy proposes to read truphas: cf. his study of the Greek words for prostitute, op.
cit. (see note on ch. 24), pp. 106-9.
ch. 39
Anaplus: see note on ch. 13.
ch. 41
Gennadius: see note on ch. 27.
ch. 41
'the rnatter was not remembered': see ch. 45.
ch. 42
'guardsman': Silentiarius; see note on ch. 23.
ch. 43
On this remarkable ordination to the priesthood see H. Delehaye, Les Saints stylites,
Brussels, 1923, p. lvi.
ch. 45
The great fire (cf. ch . 4 I )-September 2nd, 465 (for references cf. Ensslin,
Realencyclopädie -see note on ch. 31-vol. 12, coll. I959). A great part of the capital
was destroyed by the conflagration which is probably to be identified with that
reported in Chron. Pasch. (Bonn ed.), vol. I, p. 598, which was the greatest ever
known: the fire spread from sea to sea. The Emperor fled from Constantinople and
crossed to the Asiatic shore where he remained for six months.
ch. 45
'did not keep silence', etc.: or, as in the abbreviated version of the Vita: 'God in His
mercy and wishing to spare the people disclosed these things to me and I did not
keep silence, but more than once I declared them and besought men that they
should repent and my words were counted as idle babbling. You should have obeyed
my words and have escaped from such anger. For formerly-the Ninevites . . .'
ch. 46
'the two lights': see ch. 2 supra.
ch. 48
'his chamberlain': see note on ch. 7I.
ch. 49
Jordanes, son of John, the Vandal Master of the Soldiers, who was murdered in
Thrace in 44 I . Jordanes was consul in 470. For his appointment as general on the
Eastern front see ch. 55 infra.
ch. 49
'your angelic presence': see note on ch. 35.
ch. 51
Gubazius, King of the Lazi: In 456 Marcian had attacked Colchis and had called upon
the King of the Lazi to abdicate or to depose his son, as it was against tradition to
have two joint rulers. Gubazius abdicated and agreed to come to Constantinople to
discuss the relations of his kingdom towards the Empire. In 466 Gabazius pays his
visit. Lazica lay at the eastern extremity of the Black Sea. See the sketch-map in V.
Chapot, La Frontière de l'Euphrate, Fontemoing, Paris, 1907. On Lazica see ibid., pp.
13-14, and the chapter on L'Extrémité du Pont-Euxin et les Régions caucasiques,
ibid., pp. 363-73.
ch. 52
'the Saint's leather tunic': see note on ch. 22.
ch. 53
'the man who met me on the road': cf. ch.10.
ch. 55
This is an important section; it tells us for the first time how Zeno was brought to
the notice of the Emperor. For Ardaburius and his father Aspar see Otto Seeck in
Realeneyclopadie (see note on ch. 31), vol. 2 (1895), coll. 607-10.
ch. 55
Patricius: not to be identified with Aspar's son of that name (J. B. Bury, op. cit. (see
note on ch. 23) vol. I p. 317 note). Later Patricius became the paramour of Verina:
she plotted against Zeno in order to raise Patricius to the throne. In this she failed,
as her brother Basiliscus was made Emperor and he put Patricius to death (cf. Bury,
ibid., pp. 390-1). For Jordanes see note on ch. 49.
ch. 56
So far as we know this is the only place where a threatened Vandal attack upon
Egypt is mentioned.
ch. 56
spatharius: spatha = a long sword. Spatharii appear as private soldiers maintained,
as were the bucellarii, by generals and other potentiores. Here Hylasius is clearly a
member of the troop of imperial guards, cf. R. Grosse, Römische Militärgeschichte,
Weidmann, Berlin, 1920, pp. 137-8, 285-6.
ch. 56
The biographer here is very discreet: it is true that Gaiseric did not attack Egypt, but
the combined naval expedition of the forces of the East and of the West of the
Emperor directed against the Vandal kingdom ended in a complete catastrophe. The
expedition was under the command of Basiliscus and it was ruined by his
incompetence. It was said that he had been instigated by Aspar to betray the fleet
under the promise of empire: Priscus, a contemporary, states that he was bribed by
Gaiseric [for sources: E. W. Brooks, English Historical Review 8 (1893), p. 213]. It is
not necessary to accept either of these attempts to explain the disastrous failure.
For Gaiseric or Genseric see: Thomas Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, vol. 2, 2nd ed.,
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1892, pp. 227 sqq.; F. Martroye, Genséric, La Conquête
vandale en Afrique et la Destruction de l'Empire d'Occident, Hachette, Paris, 1907; E.
A. Gautier, Genséric, Roi des Vandales, Payot, Paris, 1932. For the range of Gaiseric's
hostile action see the account of his attack on Greece, Gautier, p. 254. For the
disastrous attack on Africa by the Empire, Gautier, pp. 255 sqq.; Hodgkin, p. 446;
Bury, op. cit. (see note on ch. 23), pp. 335-7.
ch. 57
but no columns: ektos kionon. We do not know how this should be translated: it
seems as if ektos must mean 'free from'
ch. 58
The relics of St. Simeon. Since Antioch continued to regard the body of St. Simeon as
its great protection we must conclude that a part only of the Saint's remains was
brought to Constantinople. 'II n'est pas nécessaire d'admettre, dans un pays où la
division des corps saints n'était pas regardée comme un sacrilège, que l'on n'a pu
enrichir la capitale sans dépouiller complètement Antioche.' Delehaye, Les Saints
stylites, p. Ivi.
ch. 60
'at his endurance': Here we have adopted a change in punctuation.
ch. 60
'to his soldiers': his bucellarii-i.e. soldiers serving under a military commander as his
own private troop. The word is said to be derived from bucella = fine white bread as
distinguished from the ordinary rations of the common soldier. See Grosse, op. cit.
(note on ch. 56), p. 287.
ch. 61
We owe this translation to Professor Dawkins; cf. ch. 49 (short version). Peri de
Iordanou kai touto to agathon te se emenen hoioteti.
ch. 64
We know nothing about Idoubingos.
ch. 64
'a small monastery': see note on ch. 15.
ch. 65
Zeno marries Leo's daughter Ariadne. Since Zeno was consul in 469 the marriage
presumably was celebrated in the winter of 467-8. Brooks placed it in 466, English
Historical Review 8 (1893), p. 212. Leo had previously promised that Patricius,
Aspar's son, should marry Ariadne. 'Henceforth there were two factions at the Court
of Constantinople, the Isaurian and the barbarian. . . For the next twenty years the
history of the Empire turns upon the struggle between these factions.' Brooks.
ch. 65
Apparently in 470 Anagast revolted in Thrace; this would explain Zeno's mission to
Thrace. Anagast later claimed that his revolt had been instigated by Ardadurius and
produced letters from Ardaburius in support of his assertion (John of Antioch, frag.
206). This revolt may in its turn have led to the murder in the palace in 47 I of both
Aspar and Ardaburius (ch. 66 infra).
ch. 65
'came to Pylae': see note to p. 191.[= note to chap 127 in Life of Theodore Sykeon]
ch. 66
Birth of Leo II. Leo was in his seventh year when he died in November 474. He must
therefore have been born in 468. Malalas xiv (Bonn ed.), p. 376; Seeck, Regesten der
Kaiser und Päpste, Metzler, Stuttgart, 1919, p. 425
ch. 67
Death of Leo I: January 18th, 474.
ch. 67
'went to the land of his fathers': this reads oddly here- eporeuthe en te ge ton
pateron. Presumably such texts as 1 Kings viii. 34, 48; 2 Chron. vi. 25, 38 are
interpreted as signifying Heaven.
ch. 67
'his father': oikeios has merely the force of the possessive pronoun.
ch. 68
For the plot organized by Verina in concert with her brother Basiliscus with the object
of dethroning Zeno, the husband of her daughter Ariadne, see Bury, op. cit. (note on
ch. 23), vol. 1, pp. 390-7.
Armatus, nephew of Verina, was the lover of Zenonis, the wife of Basiliscus: he was
created a Master of the Soldiers by his uncle and was his colleague in the consulship
in 476.
Marcianus, the son of Anthemius, the Roman Emperor in the West, had married
Leontia, the second daughter of Leo I. His participation in the revolt of Basiliscus
(475) is to be distinguished ffom his later attempt to overthrow Zeno, on which see
Bury, op. cit., Vol. l, p. 395. Cf.`the article by Ensslin, Realencyclopädie (see note on
ch. 31), vol. 14 (1930), coll. 1529-30. We do not know of any other mention of
Zuzus. It is to be noted how carefully the writer shields Verina and puts on others
the responsibility for the attack on Zeno.
ch. 69
'and landed': epoiesan hekotabla. We do not know how these words should be
translated: is it 'they landed' or does it mean literally 'they took horse'?
ch. 70
' Basiliscus-name of ill omen': Basiliscus-a diminutive of Basileus = 'a little emperor'.
For the Monophysitism favoured by Basiliscus see J. B. Bury, op. cit. (note on ch. 23),
vol. I, p. 403; Ernst Stein, op. cit. (see p. 73), p. 538; for the Encyclical of Basiliscus
anathematizing the Creed of Chalcedon cf. Zechariah of Mitylene, Book V, ch. 2-in the
translation of E. W. Brooks (Methuen, 1899), pp. 105-7; in the German translation of
K. Ahrens and G. Kruger (Teubner, Leipzig, }899), pp. 60-2.
ch. 70
Acacius: Patriarch of Constantinople, A.D. 471-89.
ch. 71
chamberlain: a cubicularius. On these trusted servants of the Emperor see the article
by Rostowzew, Realencyclopädie (see note on ch. 3}), vol. 4, coll. 1734-7.
ch. 71
'your angelic nature': literally 'to your angel'; see note on ch. 35.
ch. 72
The Exakionium, more usually Exokionion or corrupted into Hexakionion = the district
outside (exo) the wall of Constantine to the south of the City. Cf. Van Millingen,
Byzantine Constantinople (Murray, 1899), pp. 18 sqq. and map opposite p. 19.
The Monastery of Studius. Studius, a patrician from Rome, founded in 463 the famous
monastery dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It lay south of the Exokionion (see
note supra). Delehaye has shown that the monastery was always known as 'of
Studius' and never as 'Studium'. Analecta Bollandiana 52 (1934), pp. 64-5.
Exarch. Probably here = the superintendent of the monasteries of the capital.
ch. 73
The Hebdomon = seven miles from the central milestone in the capital. Its site at
Makrikeui on the shore of the Sea of Marmora, three miles to the west of the Golden
Gate, was determined by Van Millingen: Byzantine Constantinople, pp. 316-41 and
map opposite p. 316. See further Heinrich Gluck, Das Hebdomon und seine Reste in
Makrikoi (=Beiträge zur vergleichenden Kunstforschung Heft 1), Vienna, 1920
(illustrated), and for the most recent excavations cf. Échos d'Orient (Bucharest) 38
(1939), 146 sq.
ch. 75
sentinels or the palace guards':phrouroi eitoun phulakes tou palatiou. Of the precise
meaning of these terms we are not sure; are they synonymous? Cf. Phrourophulaki in
the Lexikon of Sophocles.
ch. 75
'the guards who were on duty': hoi scholarioi hoi ta ekskoubeta poiountes. Cf. J. B.
Bury, op. cit. (note on ch. 23), vol. 1, p. 37: 'The Scholarians were picked men and till
the middle of the fifth century chiefly Germans, mounted, better equipped and better
paid than the ordinary cavalry of the army. There were seven schools at
Constantinople each 500 strong.' They were under the control of the Master of the
Offices. 'The decline of the Scholarian Guards is attributed by Agathias (v. 15) to
Zeno, who bestowed appointments on Isaurian relatives of no valour.' Bury, ibid., p.
401. Cf. R. Grosse, op. cit. (see note on ch. 56), pp 93-6
ch. 76
'two guardsmen': here silentiarii - for these Court ushers see note on ch. 23.
ch. 76
'a legal secretary of the Emperor': raipherendarion, On the Referendarii see J. B.
Bury, Magistri Scriniorum, ANTIGRAPHES and REPHERENARIOI, Harvard Studies in
Classical Philology 21 (1910) (Harvard University), pp.23-9. 'The referendarii, who
might be described as legal secretaries of the Emperor . . . acted as bearers of the
unwritten answers of the Emperor, in judicial matters, to the persons concerned, and
they might be employed on various special missions. From the nature of the case
they might possess much influence on the imperial decisions', p. 29.
ch. 76
'against her who is his confederate': presumably Verina.
ch. 78
'monastery of Studius': see note on ch. 72.
ch. 80
Dagalaiphus: son of Areobindus (consul in 434) and married to the daughter of
Ardabur. He was consul in 461 .
ch. 80
Forum of the Ox (Bous): at Akserai, not far from the harbour of Eleutherius (see map
in Van Millingen, Byzantine Constantinople, at p. 19).
ch. 82
We do not know of any reference to Herais in other sources; cf. ch. 94.
ch. 83
'Basiliscus of ill-omened name': see note on ch. 70.
ch. 83
Theoctistus had been appointed Master of the Offices by Basiliscus; he was a doctor
from Alexandria. See Zechariah of Mitylene, translation of Hamilton and Brooks
(Methuen, 1899), p. 104. For his part in the religious controversy of the reign, ibid.,
pp. 104, 110. In the translation of Ahrens and Kruger (Leipzig, 1899), pp. 59, 65
ch. 85
Zeno's return to Constantinople: Armatus, the nephew of Basiliscus, went over to the
side of Zeno, cf. E. W. Brooks, English Historical Review 8 (I893), pp. 217-18. Zeno
had fled from the capital on January 9th, 475, and the fall of Basiliscus must be
placed at the end of August 476; see Seeck, Regesten (note on ch. 66), p. 426.
ch. 86
'The holy relics of Simeon": see ch. 58.
ch. 89
Parthenopolis: where is this place?
ch. 91
Anastasius: Emperor 491-518.
ch. 92
Euphemius: Patriarch of Constantinople, 490-6.
ch. 94
Herais. Cf. ch. 82.
ch. 99
anientes: we have translated as though the text read aniontes.
Source: Three Byzantine Saints: Contemporary Biographies of St. Daniel the Stylite,
St. Theodore of Sykeon and St. John the Almsgiver, trans. Elizabeth Dawes, and
introductions and notes by Norman H. Baynes, (London: 1948)
The book is currently [1997] published in the US. By St. Vladmir's Seminary Press.
Inquiries at SVSP confirmed, however, that the US copyright on this text was allowed
to lapse. The text in this case seems to be in the Public Domain in the US, but not
necessarily elsewhere.
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