Commemorated on December 11
The Monk Daniel
the Pillar-Dweller was born in the village of Bythar, near the city of
Samosata in Mesopotamia. His mother Martha was childless for a long while and
in her prayers gave a vow, that if she had a child, she would dedicate him to
the Lord. Her prayers were heard, and Martha soon gave birth to a son, who
until he was 5 years of age was without a name. The parents of the boy desired,
that since he was born through the good-will of God, he should likewise receive
from God his name. They took their son to a monastery located nearby and
approached the hegumen. The hegumen gave orders to take down one of the
Divine-service books, and at random having unrolled it, found in it the mention
of the Prophet Daniel (Comm. 17 December). Thus did the lad receive his name.
The parents asked that the lad might remain at the monastery, but the hegumen
would not accept him, since he was still but a small boy. At 12 years of age,
saying nothing to no one, the lad left home for the monastery.
His parents were
happy when they learned where their son was, and they went to the monastery.
Seeing that he was still going about in his worldly clothes, they besought that
the hegumen should attire him in the Angelic garb. And on that Sunday the
hegumen fulfilled their request, but permitted them often to visit their son.
The brethren of the monastery were astonished at the efforts of the monk.
One time on a visit
to the monastery came Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller (comm. 1 September), who
foretold to the young monk, that he too would undertake the feat of
pillar-dwelling. The Monk Daniel continued on with his ascetic life in
seclusion. When in a vision the place of a new exploit was revealed to him, he
withdrew into the Thracian wilderness together with two students, where they
set up a pillar, upon which the Monk Daniel dwelt for 33 years. People thronged
to the pillar, those who were misfortunate and those who were sick, and all
received from the Monk Daniel help and healing. Byzantine emperors likewise
besought the prayers of the holy ascetic. And from the numerous predictions of
the monk, the most notable was about a strong conflagration in Constantinople.
The Monk Daniel possessed also the gift of gracious words. He guided many onto
the path of correcting their lives. The monk reposed in his 80th year.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.