Monk Simeon the Holy Fool in Edessa (Urfa) (d. AD 570)

Simeon was born in Edessa (modern Urfa). Along with his friend John, he became a monk in a Syrian monastery. After twenty-nine years living a consecrated spiritual life in the desert, Simeon and John moved to Emesa (modern Homs) in Syria.

In Emesa, they served the poor and needy with the love of Christ. Seeking the deep humility of Jesus Christ, Simeon asked the Lord to help him serve people in such a way that they would not honor or exalt him. Simeon dragged a dead dog along with him, threw food at people, and did many other odd things. As he played the fool, people and children yelled that he was a crazy man and hit him with sticks. Simeon endured all the insults and abuse with patience. Although he was seen as a crazy fool, in secret Simeon told people the good news of Jesus Christ, fed the hungry, healed the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, and served those who were in need. The only person with whom Simeon did not play a fool was his friend John.

Simeon died around 570 and was buried in the city’s cemetery for the poor, homeless, and unknown strangers. Only after his death did his secret acts of kindness, love, and miracles become known to everyone.