January 4, 2018

Saint Timothy of Kakhushta the Stylite (+ 872)

St. Timothy the Stylite (Feast Day - January 4)

Saint Timothy was the youngest of four children, and born in the village of Kakhushta in the province of Antioch. While still a baby, both of his parents died and his sister took charge of his upbringing. At the age of seven he was beaten by his elder brother for failing in the task of guarding some sheep, and he ran away. He was taken in by some villagers, who looked after him until he became an adult. This is when he renounced the world and decided to became a monk.

After a vision confirmed him in this plan, he traveled to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Places. In the vicinity of Jerusalem he met an elderly ascetic, with whom he spent a number of years in the eremitic life. He then decided to return to the village of Kakhushta, where he resided in a cell built for him by some villagers. One day he was invited by some monks known to him to visit Antioch, and on the way they passed by his birthplace where the stopped and celebrated the feast of Saint George. After this he was reunited with his family, and lived the remainder of his life in Jabal Barisha as a stylite. During this time he worked many miracles. He was clairvoyant, traveled in a miraculous fashion, healed the sick, brought clement weather through his intercession, and rebuked, interceded for and forgave sinners. At one time he even chastised and exorcised a preacher who was preaching the apocalypse.

Among the twenty-five recorded miracles of Saint Timothy are three that involve Muslims. The first concerns a Muslim man who was fornicating with a woman of the town and is led to repentance by Timothy. The second concerns a contentious Muslim who was brought to recognize the truth of Christianity through an apparition. The third tells how Patriarch Theodoret was saved by Timothy's prayers from execution at the hands of the caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809) and cured the latter's son with oil blessed by the Saint; this deed earned concessions for the Christian population from the grateful ruler.