A Christian Perspective

A site to muse on Christian Spirituality, Church History, and other things of interest to me.

Still out of the country...

Posted by James Bennett (jimb) on 2/17/07
Well, it looks like I'll be able to post a couple of times while I'm in Aleppo. Yesterday was the one day during the two week course that we got off. We spent it touring 4-6th century CE churches. The highlight of the day was a visit to the Church of St. Simeon. For those who don't know of St. Simeon, he was a 5th C ascetic monk. When I say ascetic I mean he was a REAL ascetic. Simeon became a monk and then spent much time trying to get farther and farther from people in order to be closer to God. Finally he ended up spending about 37 years sitting on top of a pillar. This has the unfortunate side effect of making him somewhat of a celebrity and people from all over Christendom came to see the monk. After he died, the Church was built around the pillar upon which he sat. This was the largest Christian church in existence until the Hadia Sophia in Constantinople was built. It rivaled most if not all of the great cathedrals of the middle ages. The church had four wings in a cross shape centered around the pillar, a side chapel for the monks, a monastery, a chapel for baptisms and the instruction of non-christians, and facilities for pilgrims visiting the site. The site is really beautiful and fairly well preserved. Several inscriptions can be found in both Greek and Syriac.

The food is wonderful here. For those who know me personally, and have been to our house for the Saturday night dinner for college students, know that I enjoy middle eastern cooking. I get up each morning to a breakfast of flat bread, olives, jam, cheese, and butter. A standard breakfast for many in Syria. Then sometime around 6-7pm I eat dinner. Most of the time I get a Falafel sandwich ($0.30) , Schwarma sandwich ($1), treat myself to a Schwarma platter with a drink ($3). On two ocassions (tonight was one) I have treated myself to dinner and it was always under $10. Once was at a five star restaraunt.

Well, got to go now, need to pick up laundry and treat some suite mates to Baklava.