This week we have a boat load of interesting saints ranging from a Pope to a Metropolitan of Moscow and stretch from Georgia to Norway and England.
Symeon the Stylite (c. 388 – 2 September 459)
Simeon the Stylite is one of the cooler hermits as he lived on a pillar for 37 years. My first introduction to Simeon was the Tennyson poem about him. If you haven’t read or heard this poem take some time and do so soon. Simeon was a hermit who lived upon a pillar. He became a monk at 16 and he attracted a following, so in order to get away from all the people who wanted to talk to him Simeon made his way to live upon a rocky pillar. Simeon couldn’t escape the world horizontally, so he went vertically. It is said that young boys would climb up the pillar and bring him bread and milk to drink.
Pope Agatho (d.10 January 681)
Agatho was a pope and little is really known about him until his papacy. Shortly after becoming Pope Agatho had a big problem to solve. the Archbishop of Canterbury had carved up the arch diocese of York and named bishops to govern, the Archbishop of York wasn’t happy about this. Wilfrid, the Archbishop of York, went to the pope to intervene. Agatho called anmn synod and it was decided that York needed to be divided but the bishops should be appointed by Wilfrid. The other big thing that happened during Agatho’s Papacy was the Third Council of Constantinople (EC 6) at this council the monothelite hersry was suppressed and healed a schism.
Pega (c. 673-c.719)
Pega was an anchoress from Mercia, she also happens to be the sister of St. Guthlac. She lived in what is now known as Peakirk (Pega’s Church). A cool story about Pega is that when her brother knew his death was close he called for Pega to come for his funeral. She sailed down the Welland River and cured a blind man on the way. Pega went on pilgrimage to Rome and died there and it is said that her relics survived in an unnamed Roman church for around 300 years, if they are still there who knows. Pega’s heart it is rumored what brought back to Peakirk and was a relic in the church. The heart stone, which contained her heart, was smashed by Cromwell and it can be seen in the south aisle window.
Abo of Tiflis (c.756-6 January 786)
Abo is a martyr and patron saint of Tbilisi Georgia. Abo was born in Iraq and grew up Muslim. He was a perfumer by trade and at around 18 he made his way to Tbilisi, he was close to Prince Nerses. after much soul searching Abo was convinced to become a Christian, but it didn’t happen immediately since Georgia was under Arab rule. The prince for political reason had to shelter in Kahazaria and it is here that Abo was baptized. Eventually the prince went back to Tbilisi and Abo followed. and he openly confessed he was a Christian and hope to convert other Arabs as well. This didn’t end well as Abo was arrested and martyred.
Thorfinn of Hamar (d. 1285)
Thorfinn was from Norway and he may have been a Cistercian before he became bishop of Hamar. Not much is known about him. Thorfinn and many other bishops were not happy with King Eric II known as “Priest-hater” Eventually Thorfinn and a couple other Bishop were outlawed and they left the country. Thorfinn made his way to the Abbey of Ter Doest in Belgium, on his way there he experienced a shipwreck and many other hardships.
Philip II Metropolitan of Moscow (11 Feburary 1507-12 December 1569)
Philip was a Russian orthodox monk who became the Metropolitan of Moscow. Philip was born Feodor Kolychev into a noble boyar family. It is said that her and Ivan IV were friends since he was a child. There are conflicting account of how he became a monk but he left Moscow and went of Solovetsky Monastery where he join and by his 32nd birthday he was tonsured and took the name Philip. Within 11 years he became Abbot and while he was Abbot did many great things, many of which still exist today. The tsar heard about this monk and asked him to fill the vacant metropolitan see of Moscow, Philip agreed if Ivan would abolish his secret police force, this didn’t really happen. It came to pass and Philip became Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia. After two years Ivan the terrible came to the Cathedral for Divine Liturgy and Philip refused to bless him as the secret police force still existed. Ivan had him arrested under charges of sorcery and dissolute living, and Philip was imprisoned in a cell at Theophany monastery, with heave chain and a collar around his neck. Philip was moved to Otroch Monastery and it was there that Ivan sent one of his stooges to do away with Philip.