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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saint Daniel the Stylite

St. Daniel the Stylite (Feast Day - December 11)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Life

Daniel was born in the village of Bethara near the city of Samosata in Mesopotamia of Christian parents, Elias and Martha. Through her tearful prayers, his barren mother received him from God, and as an only son he was dedicated to God from early childhood.

Daniel embraced the monastic rank at the age of twelve, visited Symeon the Stylite, and was blessed by him. Desirous of solitude, Daniel left the monastery and withdrew to an abandoned pagan temple on the shore of the Black Sea. There he endured countless assaults from demons, but he conquered them all by perseverance, prayer and the sign of the Cross.

Afterward he climbed up on a pillar. There he remained until his death, enduring both heat and cold, and attacks from both men and demons. Many disciples gathered around his pillar, and he directed them to eternal life by his example and his words. God rewarded His faithful servant with abundant grace while in this life, and he performed many miracles beneficial to men and prophesied future events.

People from all parts crowded beneath his pillar, seeking help and counsel from the saint of God. Emperors and patriarchs as well as ordinary people came to him. Emperor Leo the Great brought his foreign guests, princes and nobles, and showed them St. Daniel on the pillar, saying to them: "Behold, the wonder in my kingdom!"

Daniel foretold the day of his own death, instructed his disciples as a father to his sons, and took leave of them. At the time of his death, his disciples beheld angels, prophets, apostles and martyrs above his pillar. Having lived for eighty years, this holy angelic man entered into rest and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ in the year 489.

Reflection

"The Lord preserveth all them that love him" (Psalm 145:20). The lives of the saints confirm this as clearly as the sun. Certain envious priests complained to Patriarch Anatolius about St. Daniel, slandering him and saying that he was a magician. In essence, they were envious of the exceedingly young ascetic, who surpassed them in all the virtues and attracted many people to himself by his way of life. The patriarch summoned Daniel and examined him regarding his faith and his way of life. When Daniel told him everything, the patriarch rose from his seat, embraced him, praised him, and dismissed him in peace. Several days later, Patriarch Anatolius became ill, summoned Daniel and asked him to pray to God for his recovery. Daniel prayed to God, and the patriarch was immediately restored to health. Since the patriarch wanted to reward Daniel somehow, the young saint begged him to forgive his slanderers as his reward. To this the patriarch replied: "How can I not forgive them when they are the authors of so much good, namely, that I now know you and have received healing through you?" Truly, the Lord preserves all who love Him, and He turns to their good the evil that men conceive against them.


HYMN OF PRAISE: 
The Venerable Daniel the Stylite

When holy Daniel desired to die
He taught his disciples thus:
"My dear children, the fruit of my labor,
Affix your heart to the Living God,
Contemplate in spirit the Heavenly Father.
Glorify the wondrous Creator with praise.
Let humility be the first of your virtues;
The humble in heaven are God's noblemen.
Then show obedience, such as befits the humble.
These are two adornments of every true believer.
The humble and the obedient keep hospitality:
Be hospitable and magnanimous.
These are three virtues, and still more I will say:
Fasting, vigils, poverty - the path to eternal happiness.
Here are six candles in the earthly darkness,
And the seventh is love, the greatest of all."
Thus the saint spoke, and imparted his blessings,
Then rendered his holy soul to the Lord.
O holy Daniel, inhabitant of heaven,
Implore Christ for the needs of us sinners.



Apolytikion in the First Tone
Thou becamest a pillar of patience and didst emulate the Forefathers, O righteous one: Job in his sufferings, Joseph in temptations, and the life of the bodiless while in the body, O Daniel, our righteous Father, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
With longing and zeal for things on high, O venerable one, thou leftest behind all things that are found here below, when thou builtest thy pillar as another Heaven whence thou didst flash with the light of wonders and signs. Do thou ever pray Christ that our souls be saved. 
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