St Daniel the Stylite

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Hermit. Daniel was born at Maratha in Mesopotamia, in 409. At the age of 12 he decided he wanted to join a monastery. The abbot consulted with his parents and admitted him to the community. Years later he visited St Simeon Stylite, who lived on top of a pillar, and received a blessing from him.

Daniel stayed in the monastery until he was 42, but never forgot his meeting with St Simeon. When the abbot died, his fellow monks asked Daniel to take his place but he refused. Instead he went on a series of pilgrimages and then lived alone in an old temple.

When St Simeon died in 459 Daniel decided to follow the way he had lived. For the next 33 years he lived on top of pillars, refusing to come down even for his own ordination. The Patriarch of Constantinople climbed up to lay his hands on the saint's head.

Thousands of people came to visit St Daniel on his pillar to ask for his advice and prayers. Many healings were attributed to him. He died at the age of 80 in 493 and was buried in a chapel at the foot of his column.

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