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Saint Alypius the Stylite

Saint Alypius or Ἀλύπιος ὁ Στυλίτης in Greek was born in the city of Hadrianopolis in Paphlagonia (an ancient region between Bithynia to the west and Pontus to the east and the Black Sea to the north, essentially northern now Turkey) to a very pious mother who had been widowed early in the year 522 AD. He was educated to the Bishop Theodore and once he had left the house, his mother sold all of her possessions, gave the money to the poor and became a deaconess.

Saint Alypius wished very much in his heart to pursue the solitary life of a hermit, but Bishop Theodore did not grant permission. When journeying with the Bishop to Constantinople, he had a vision in which Saint Euphemia appeared to him and directed him to return to Adrianopolis and build a church in her name. Saint Alypius returned home and built a church on the site of a dilapidated pagan temple and dedicated it to the great Martyr and Saint Euphemia the All-Praised. He erected a stone pillar next to the church and onto p of a pagan tomb from which he lived on top of for his adult life. Tradition holds that the demons that had been worshipped in the pagan temple pelted him with stones at night.

Eventually a monastery and nunnery were built on either side of the pillar and looked to Saint Alypius as their spiritual director. Many Christians came from across the land to visit and learn from such a steadfast man. He never complained or worried about the physical pain he found himself in living on top of the pillar. For fifty three years he stood upon the pillar and when his legs eventually physically gave up, he laid down on his side atop the pillar, staying in this position for another fourteen years. Tradition holds that he died in the year 640 AD, at the age of 118.

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