Symeon Stylite

Symeon the Stylite
Birth 390
Death 459

Saint, who pioneered a new and totally bizarre form of extreme asceticism. He was probably mentally ill: he spent around 40 years atop a 15-metre pillar with just about enough room to stand and sit, and exhausted himself with hunger and prayer. He was very proud of his worm-infested wounds and sores (just imagine the stench) and the fact that he didn’t let any women onto the pillar, not even his own mother.

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