Who Am I?

  1. I am a saint of the late fourth and early fifth century.
  2. I am Syrian
  3. As a boy I lived the shepherds’ life.
  4. At sixteen I entered a mionastery, but was dismissed on account of the fact that my austerities were not in conformity with community life.
  5. My next venture was to live alone as a hermit in a very small hut. I fasted there every Lent without any food or water.
  6. When people came to me I received them but preferred my solitude, so, after three years in my hermitage, I left and hid myself in the desert living on a rocky promontory only twenty yards in diameter.
  7. My refuge was discovered and, once again, pilgrims came to me for prayers, healing, and direction.
  8. Unable to give myself to prayer as a solitary I fixed my abode in the sky. Thereafter, my feet never touched the earth.
  9. At last I had my solitude, or some solitude, but the faithful could still see me and they would shout to me from below begging for my prayers. I could never refuse them.
  10. Sometimes, with my permission, I allowed certain ecclesiastics to set up a ladder and climb up to reach written petitions to me. They gave me paper and a quill and I wrote replies to many questions. And I wrote spiritual addresses for the crowds assembled below. I saw clearly that this was God’s will.
  11. My fame spread throughout Christendom East and West.
  12. Once, when the Catholic Eastern Emperor Theodosius II (408-450) heard that I was gravely ill, he sent three bishops to me asking me to descend and see a doctor. I declined and soon recovered.
  13. I later wrote to Leo, the Eastern Roman Emperor (457-474), telling him to support the decrees of the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451), which passed a Creed defining the two natures in Christ against the monophysite heresy..
  14. The Church historian Theodoret visited me and wrote an eye-witness account of my life in the heights.
  15. I was the same age as Our Lady when I died, seventy-two.
  16. I am buried in Antioch.