Hey, a crazy abba!

"...after spending three days in the holy places, he arrived in the city of Emesa. The manner of his entry into the city was as follows: When the famous Symeon found a dead dog on a dunghill outside the city, he loosened the rope belt he was wearing, and tied it to the dog’s foot. He dragged the dog as he ran and entered the gate, where there was a children’s school nearby. When the children saw him, they began to cry, “Hey, a crazy abba!” And they set about to run after him and box him on the ears.

On the next day, which was Sunday, he took nuts, and entering the church at the beginning of the liturgy, he threw the nuts and put out the candles. When they hurried to run after him, he went up to the pulpit, and from there he pelted the women with nuts. With great trouble, they chased after him, and while he was going out, he overturned the tables of the pastry chefs, who (nearly) beat him to death. Seeing himself crushed by the blows, he said to himself, “Poor Symeon, if things like this keep happening, you won’t live for a week in these people’s hands.”

According to God’s plan, a phouska-seller saw him, who did not know that he was playing the fool. And he said to him (for he seemed to be sane), “Would you like, my lord abba, instead of wandering about, to be set up to sell lupines?” And he said, “Yes.” When he set him up one day, Symeon began to give everything away to people and to eat, himself, insatiably, for he had not eaten the whole week. The phouska-seller’s wife said to her husband, “Where did you find us this abba? If he eats like this, it’s no use trying to sell anything! For while I observed him, he ate about a pot full of lupines.” But they did not know that he had given away all the rest of the pots to fellow monks and others—the beans, the lentil soup, the desert fruits, all of it. They thought that he had sold it. When they opened the cash box and did not find a single cent, they beat him and fired him, and pulled his beard."
- The comedy stylings of an early Christian saint, as recounted by Leontius of Neapolis.1

Surprisingly, I have something in common with St. Symeon; we both respond to awkward situations in the same clever way:
"It was also the saint’s practice, whenever he did something miraculous, to leave that neighborhood immediately, until the deed which he had done was forgotten. He hurried on immediately elsewhere to do something inappropriate, so that he might thereby hide his perfection."



1Krueger, Derek. Symeon the Holy Fool: Leontius's Life and the Late Antique City. Berkeley: Berkeley: University of California Press, c1996.

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