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July 24, 2018

Saint Symeon the Newly-Revealed of Thessaloniki

St. Symeon the Newly-Revealed (Feast Day - July 24)

Our Venerable Father Symeon the Newly-Revealed is only known to us from a Divine Office in his honor which was published in Venice in 1777. The Synaxarion contained in this Office presents a paradoxical case, which is rare but not unknown among the pious. The source for the Synaxarion is a text that no longer exists, but it was written by a hieromonk named Daniel from Kerkyra, who was told about this Saint in a dream which was narrated to him by the Holy New Martyr Anastasios of Paramythia († 7/18/1750), who had previously converted Daniel before his martyrdom from Islam and whom Daniel afterwards honored and revered.

The reason why Saint Anastasios revealed to the Hieromonk Daniel the life of Saint Symeon was because Daniel was dissatisfied with the commissioner of the Church of Saint George in Venice, Nicholas Kanelis, who, as the Neomartyr Anastasios revealed, was a relative of Saint Symeon, who had great boldness before God, and interceded on behalf of his relatives, and was upset with the grumbling of Daniel against one of his relatives.

According to the narrative of the New Martyr Anastasios, Saint Symeon was born in Thessaloniki in 1042, during the reign of the Empress Zoe (together with her sister Theodora), to pious parents. Due to his virtuous way of life, the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki (who is not named) sought to ordain him to the priesthood. Symeon however, as one who loved solitude and quiet, departed Thessaloniki and went to Alexandria, and from there went to the famous monastic area of the Upper Thebaid in Egypt. There he settled in a cave and lived in strict asceticism till the end of his life, which took place on July 24th, but the year is not given in his Synaxarion, though we can assume he was in deep old age since he is called an "elder". The Synaxarion also says that his body was left incorrupt, and he was buried in the place where he lived in asceticism.

When these things were revealed to the Hieromonk Daniel by Saint Anastasios in a dream, at first he did not believe in its authenticity. This resulted in Saint Symeon himself appearing in the dream of Daniel, who informed him to tell Nicholas Kanelis about this revelation, and ordered him to commission an icon of Saint Symeon and compose a Divine Office in his honor that he may be liturgically celebrated.

Archbishop Cyril of Sinai and Raitho was informed about this revelation, due to his friendship with Nicholas Kanelis. Cyril contributed substantially to the establishment of the commemoration of the newly-revealed Saint. He was present at the reception of the icon of Saint Symeon sent from Kerkyra by Daniel to Venice, which arrived there in a miraculous fashion, having survived a shipwreck. Cyril also composed the Divine Office to Saint Symeon and wrote the Synaxarion based on the text by the Hieromonk Daniel which was sent to him, as well as the testimony of Nicholas Kanelis, and of course his own experiences.

The Divine Office to Saint Symeon was published in 1777 at the expense of Nicholas Kanelis, and on the back cover of this publication is an icon of the Saint, which is a faithful copy of the icon commissioned by the Hieromonk Daniel which he sent to Venice. The title in Greek of this Divine Office is as follows: ᾿Ακολουθία τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ θεοφόρου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Συμεὼν Θεσσαλονικέως τοῦ νεοφανοῦς, οὕτω λεγομένου διὰ τοῦ ἤδη φανερωθέντος εὐδοκίᾳ Θεοῦ, ὡς ἡ ῾Ιστορία αὐτοῦ διαλαμβά­νει. Ψάλλεται δὲ τῇ κδ τοῦ ᾿Ιουλίου μηνός, ἐν ᾗ ἐκοιμήθη. ᾿Ερανι­σθέντα καὶ πονηθέντα ἅπαντα τὰ τῆς ᾿Ακολουθίας ταύτης παρὰ τοῦ ᾿Αρχι­επισκόπου Σινᾆ ῎Ορους κυρίου Κυρίλλου εἰς δόξαν μὲν τοῦ ῾Αγί­ου, ἀπαρτισμὸν δὲ τῆς ᾿Ακολουθίας, διὰ τοὺς θέλλοντας ψάλλειν, καὶ Δο­ξολογίαν ποιεῖν προαιρουμένους, εὐλαβείᾳ καὶ ἀγάπῃ τῇ πρὸς τὸν ῞Α­γιον. Νῦν πρῶτον τύποις ἐκδοθείσης, ἐπιμελείᾳ καὶ σπουδῇ καὶ δαπά­νῃ τοῦ τιμιωτάτου καὶ εὐγενοῦς κὺρ Νικολάου Κανέλη Θεσσα­λονι­κέ­ως, συγγενοῦς τυγχάνοντος τοῦ ῾Οσίου, κατὰ τὴν ἱστορίαν. ῾Ε­νετίῃσιν 1777. Παρὰ Νικολάῳ Γλυκεῖ τῷ ἐξ ᾿Ιωαννίνων. 

Saint Anastasios and Saint Daniel are commemorated together by the Church on November 18th. There we are told that Daniel was formerly a Muslim named Musa, converted by Anastasios, was later was baptized Demetrios in Venice at the Church of Saint George, and later became a monk with the name Daniel.