July 21, 2014

The Marvelous Death and Translation to Heaven of a Holy Fool

St. Symeon the Fool for Christ (Feast Day - July 21)

By St. Leontius of Neapolis

Now the time calls, O Friends, to narrate to you the marvelous death, or rather sleep. For his death does not present ordinary edification, but it was more remarkable than everything I said before. It became both seal and guarantee of his triumph and confirmation that his behavior did not defile him. 

For when the great one perceived the profane hour, not wanting to obtain human honor after his death, what did he do? He went inside, lay down to sleep underneath the bundle of twigs in his sacred hut, and committed his spirit to the Lord in peace.

When they had not seen him for two days, those who knew him said, "Let's go, let us visit the Fool in case he's ill." And they went and found him lying dead under his bundle of twigs. Then they said, "Now all will believe he was beside himself. Behold his death is another idiocy." And two of them lifted him up without washing him, and they went out without psalm singing, candles, or incense, and buried him in the place where strangers are buried. 

Then when those who were bearing him and going out to bury him passed the house of the formerly Jewish glassblower, whom Symeon had made a Christian, as I said before, the aforementioned former Jew heard psalm singing, music such as human lips could not sing, and a crowd such as all humanity could not gather. This man was astounded by the verse and the crowd. He glanced out and saw the saint carried out by the two men and them alone bearing his precious body. Then the one who heard the invisible music said, "Blessed are you, Fool, that while you do not have humans singing psalms for you, you have the heavenly powers honoring you with hymns." And immediately he went down and buried him with his own hands. And then he told everyone what he heard in the angel's songs. 

John the deacon heard this and went running, with many others, to the place where he was buried, wishing to take up his precious remains in order to bury him honorably. But when they opened the grave, they did not find him. For the Lord had glorified him, and translated him. Then all came to their senses, as if from sleep, and told each other what miracles he had performed for each of them and that he had played the fool for God's sake....

Having lived the angelic and most admirable life on earth, Symeon, who for Christ's sake was named Fool, died on July 21, having shone exceedingly in his achievements according to God and astounded even the supernatural powers of the angels with his virtues. And when he received confidence, he placed himself at the insufferable throne of God the Father of lights, and he honored Him in unceasing hymns along with all the heavenly powers. May the Lord grant us part and portion with this holy Symeon, and with all the saints in His eternal kingdom, for His is the glory forever and ever. Amen.

From Symeon the Holy Fool: Leontius's Life and the Late Antique City by Derek Krueger, p. 170-171.