This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 11 -- St. Daniel the Stylite

Here's a tough break. You're the Byzantine Emperor in the fifth century, a chap named Basiliscus. The Western Roman Empire is being ravaged by barbarians, but you're in the East, so you're the pinnacle of Western Civilization. The Apex. The Nile. The Tower of Pisa. The Smile on the Mona Lisa. You're the Top.

Fast forward sixteen hundred years and put your name in The Google. What do you learn about yourself? Only that St. Daniel the Stylite, who lived for thirty-three years on top of a pillar in your capital city, came down once to persuade you to abandon the Monophysite heresy. That's it. You were the Roman Emperor (in the East), heir to the legacy of Augustus, Hadrian, & Marcus Aurelius, the bearer of the Torch of classical culture. And you are... an object in someone else's story. If this were translated into Latin, you wouldn't even be in the nominative case. So to make amends (even though you were a Monophysite heretic), I've hijacked Daniel's feast day to focus on you, whoever you were and whatever else you may have done.

Monophysite -- the Christian heresy that contended that Christ was not human, but purely divine. Other Christian heretics held variations of this notion, while still others held that he was purely human. Orthodox Christians like Daniel prevailed in the belief that he was both human and divine

Stylite -- An urban hermit who lives on top of a pillar or column, from which he prays. Stylites were living symbols of religious devotion and attracted many acolytes and adherents. Many stayed exposed in all types of weather, standing in prayer until they dropped in exhaustion. Proximity to them was believed to convey blessings, including healing.

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