US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Simon the Pole-sitter

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

When I was in second grade, Sister Mary Janice told us about a guy named Simon who sat atop a column for 37 years to show his devotion to God. I thought that was crazy--and I didn't believe her.

But now that I've seen his column--or what's left of it--near Halab (Aleppo) in northern Syria, I guess I can't argue with Sister. That column was surrounded by a huge church built within 15 years of his death in the late fourth century. That shrine could hold up to 10,000 pilgrims at once! And the substantial amount that remains is worth the trip.

I still think Simon Stylites was a little nuts. But I walked around his column seven times anyway, just in case.