دير سمعان (سوريا)

( Church of Saint Simeon Stylites )

The Church of Saint Simeon Stylites (Arabic: كنيسة مار سمعان العمودي, romanized: Kanīsat Mār Simʿān el-ʿAmūdī) is one of the oldest surviving church complexes, founded in the 5th century. It is located approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwestern of Aleppo, Syria. It was constructed on the site of the pillar of Saint Simeon Stylites, a renowned stylite monk. The church is popularly known as either Qalaat Semaan (قلعة سمعان, Qalʿat Simʿān, the 'Fortress of Simeon') or Deir Semaan (دير سمعان, Dayr Simʿān, the 'Monastery of Simeon').

Saint Simeon was born in 386 AD in the Amanus mountains village. He entered a monastery at the age of 16, but he was judged to be unsuited for cenobitic life due to his extravagant asceticism. Following the example of Saint Anthony, he attempted to live the life of a hermit ascetic in the wilderness, but his feats of physical endurance and self-denial attracted pilgrims seeking religious instruction and other devout admirers. In an effort to escape from such distractions, he resolved to live on a small platform atop a 3-meter column. The height of the column was raised over time to 18 meters. From his perch, Simeon preached twice a day to the crowds who gathered to witness this spectacle of self-mortification. A ladder attached to the column allowed messengers to bring food and written messages to Simeon, who also sent letters to his followers this way. He became well-known enough to attract the attention of the eastern emperors Theodosius, Leo, and Theodosius III, who sought his advice and implored his intervention in state affairs. Simeon lived on the column for years, dying in AD 459 at the approximate age of 70. After a fierce contest for the possession of his remains between Antioch and Constantinople, it was settled in favor of Antioch. His remains were transported to Antioch, accompanied by a procession of the patriarch of Constantinople, 6 bishops, the Master-General of the East, 21 counts and tribunes and 6,000 soldiers.[1] His tomb became a major pilgrimage destination.[2]

A few decades following Saint Simeon's death, a large monastic church occupying over 5,000 square meters was constructed in on the site where his pillar stood. The church was made up of four basilicas that emanated from the sides of a central octagon. The octagonal crossing was surmounted by a dome; at its center stood Simeon’s column. The church was the centerpiece of a walled monastic complex that included two minor churches, and pilgrim hostels.

 The remains of the pillar of Saint Simeon Stylites in 2000, before 2016 Russian airstrikes.[3]

Long abandoned and ruined, the site is part of the series of ruins referred as the Dead Cities of Syria. Until just recently, remains of the pillar of Saint Simeon still stood, despite having been whittled down to a block only a few meters tall from years of pilgrims cutting down small parts for themselves as relics; substantial surviving parts of the column shaft were last visible in the 17th century.[4][5] The dome above it apparently survived until the 19th century.[5]

^ Gibbon, Edward (1977). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol. II. New York: Modern Library. pp. 362–363. ISBN 9780394604022. ^ Hase, Karl V.; Blumenthal, Charles E.; Wing, Conway P. (1855). A History of the Christian Church. New York: D. Appleton and Company. ^ Darke, Diana (2020-02-08). "Forgotten amid the bombs: Idlib's ancient riches". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-02-21. ^ Lawler, Michael G; Salzman, Todd A.; Burke-Sullivan, Eileen (2014). The Church in the Modern World: Gaudium Et Spes Then and Now. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. ^ a b Greenhalgh, Michael (2016-11-03). Syria's Monuments: Their Survival and Destruction. BRILL. pp. 251–253, & 524. ISBN 978-90-04-33460-1.
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