Daniel, the Stylite
Daniel (9) the Stylite, of the 5th cent., was a Mesopotamian by birth,
and in his youth had visited Symeon the Stylite. After having
a monastic life in convents for several years, at the age of 47 he received as a
legacy the cowl of Symeon, and established his pillar 4 miles N. of Constantinople.
The patriarch Gennadius ordained him presbyter against his will, standing at the
foot of his column. Then the patriarch, by means of a ladder, administered the Eucharist,
and received it in turn from the Stylite. He lived on his pillar for 33 years, and
died at the age of 80. He was visited with reverence by kings and emperors as an
oracle; but discouraged all who brought complaints against their bishops. Towards
the end of his life, solicited eagerly by both sides, he took part in the dispute
between the emperor Basiliscus, a Monophysite, and Acacius patriarch of Constantinople.
Descending from his pillar, he appeared in the city, denounced Basiliscus, and inflamed
the people with such zeal that Basiliscus published an orthodox edict. The following
is his prayer before he began his life on the pillar: "I yield Thee glory, Jesus
Christ my God, for all the blessings which Thou hast heaped upon me, and for the
grace which Thou hast given me that I should embrace this manner of life. But Thou
knowest that in ascending this pillar I lean on thee alone, and that to Thee alone
I look for the happy issue of mine undertaking. Accept, then, my object; strengthen
me that I finish this painful course; give me grace to end it in holiness." In his
last will to his disciples, after commending them to the common Father of all, and
to the Saviour Who died for them, Daniel bade them "hold fast humility, practise
obedience, exercise hospitality, keep the fasts, observe the vigils, love poverty,
and above all maintain charity, which is the first and great commandment; avoid
the tares of the heretics; separate never from the church your mother: if you do
these things your righteousness shall be perfect." Baronius places his death in
a.d. 489. Vita S. Daniel, ap.
Surium, ad diem ii. decemb. cap. xli. xlii. xliii.; Robertson, Ch. Hist.
ii. 41-43, 274; Ceillier, x. 344, 403, 485. Baronius, ed. Theiner, vol. viii.
ad an. 460, § 20; 464, § 2; 465, § 3, 12, 13; 476, § 48, 50, 51, 53; 489, § 4.