Symeon of Trier
Our venerable and God-bearing Father Symeon of Trier, also referred to as Symeon of Syracuse and Symeon of Mount Sinai, was a monastic and recluse of the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. He was one of the last great figures that linked the Orthodox West and the Orthodox East. His feast day is May 1.
Symeon was born in the late tenth century in Syracuse, Sicily to a Greek father, who was a soldier, and a Calabrian mother. When Symeon was seven years old his father took him Constantinople for an education. As Symeon grew to be an adult he decided on a religious life and set out on a pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem where he remained for seven years.
After working as a guide for the pilgrims among the holy places, Symeon tired of the life and yearned to live as a recluse. Thus, he took up the life of a servant for a recluse who lived on the bank of the River Jordan from whom he practiced life as a recluse. Before having to leave, Symeon learned from reading the Lives of the Fathers that he should first receive training in a monastery. He then entered the Monastery of St. Mary in Bethlehem where he became a monk.
At the monastery, Symeon was ordained a deacon, and after two years he joined the monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. After serving at the monastery for several years, Symeon received permission from the abbot to leave the monastery to live as a hermit. After two years living alone in cave over looking the Red Sea and being served his food daily by a monk from the monastery, Symeon decided to return to the monastery as he was concerned with the work he imposed on the monk and of harassment from passing sailors.
After fulfilling the direction of the abbot to restore the monastery on the top of Mt. Sinai, Symeon, still looking for life as a recluse, left the monastery without permission for an isolated place in the desert. After the abbot brought him back to the monastery, the abbot sent Symeon on a mission to collect alms from Duke Richard II of Normandy. Setting out, Symeon reached Antioch where, in 1026, he met Abbot Richard of Verdun who was leading a group of pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem. Joining with Richard, Symeon at last reached Rouen, but found Richard II had died.
At the time, 1028, Archbishop Poppo of Trier, who was planning a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, heard about Symeon and invited him on the pilgrimage. After they returned in 1030 from the pilgrimage, Symeon asked Abp Poppo if he could live as a recluse in the great Roman gate, the Porta Nigra in Trier. There, Symeon lived until his repose on June 1, 1035.
As he had requested, he was buried in his cell in the Porta Nigra. Within a month miracles were reported at his tomb and his cell became an often visited shrine. Abbot Eberwin of the Monastery of St. Martin in Trier, who had known Symeon, wrote an account of his life and early miracles. Abp. Poppo sent the account to Pope Benedict IX who then quickly issued a bull of canonization.