Monday, August 14, 2017


St. Simon

St. Simeon, Bishop of Jerusalem, Martyr


A.D. 116.

Feastday: February 18

 St. Simeon, amidst the consolations of the Holy Ghost and the great progress of the church, had the affliction to see two heresies arise within its bosom, namely, those of the Nazareans and the Ebionites; the first seeds of which, according to St. Epiphanius, appeared at Pella. The Nazareans were a sect of men between Jews and Christians, but abhorred by both. They allowed Christ to be the greatest of the prophets, but said he was a mere man, whose natural parents were Joseph and Mary: they joined all the ceremonies of the old law with the new, and observed both the Jewish Sabbath and the Sunday. Ebion added other errors to these, which Cerenthus had also espoused, and taught many superstitions, permitted divorces, and allowed of the most infamous abominations. He began to preach at Cocabe, a village beyond the Jordan, where he dwelt; but he afterwards travelled into Asia, and thence to Rome. The authority of St. Simeon kept the heretics in some awe during his life, which was the longest upon earth of any of our Lord’s disciples. But, as Eusebius says, he was no sooner dead than a deluge of execrable heresies broke out of hell upon the church, which durst not openly appear during his life.

ST. SIMEON was the son of Cleophas, otherwise called Alpheus, brother to St. Joseph, and of Mary, sister of the Blessed Virgin. He was therefore nephew both to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin, and cousin-german to Christ. Simeon and Simon are the same name, and this saint is, according to the best interpreters of the holy scripture, the Simon mentioned, 1 who was brother to St. James the Lesser, and St. Jude, apostles, and to Joseph of José. He was eight or nine years older than our Saviour. We cannot doubt but he was an early follower of Christ, as his father and mother and three brothers were, and an exception to that of St. John, 2 that our Lord’s relations did not believe in him. Nor does St. Luke 3 leave us any room to doubt but that he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost with the Blessed Virgin and the apostles; for he mentions present St. James and St. Jude, and the brothers of our Lord. Saint Epiphanius relates, 4 that when the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser, his brother Simeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. St. James, bishop of Jerusalem, being put to death in the year 62, twenty-nine years after our Saviour’s resurrection, the apostles and disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint him a successor. They unanimously chose St. Simeon, who had probably before assisted his brother in the government of that church.
  In the year 66, in which SS. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, the civil war began in Judea, by the seditions of the Jews against the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city, and by a divine revelation 5 commanded to leave it, as Lot was rescued out of Sodom. They therefore departed out of it the same year, before Vespasian, Nero’s general, and afterwards emperor, entered Judæa, and retired beyond the Jordan to a small city called Pella; having St. Simeon at their head. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem, they returned thither again, and settled themselves amidst its ruins, till Adrian afterwards entirely razed it. St. Epiphanius  and Eusebius  assure us, that the church here flourished extremely, and that multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in it.

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