St. Stylianos

St. Stylianos lived in the seventh century and grew up in the province of Paphlagonia, living under conditions of severe poverty. His was a hard and difficult childhood, but his loving parents instilled within him a fervent desire to serve Jesus Christ. At an early age, he took up residence in the desert with a community of hermits.

With a background like this, it is surprising that St. Stylianos is best known for his smiling countenance and cheerful disposition! This may be partially attricuted to the fact that he devoted most of his time to the service of children. It was common for him to periodically leave his monastic surroundings and make pastoral visits to neighboring towns. He loved seeking out children, and many ailing youngsters were cured by his healing touch and heartfelt prayers.

Parents would also bring children to the vace in which Stylianos lived, hoping that he would pass on some spiritual guidance to them. It became common for children to be left with him for extended periods of time, causing contemporary Orthodox writers to refer to Stylianos as the keeper of the world's first "day-care" center!

It is said that when St. Stylianos fell asleep in the Lord at an advanced age, he did so with a faint smile on his face.

Source: The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin, published in Cliffwood, NJ

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Constantine K. Christakos