The monk who wanted to live in the sky

I am utterly captivated by this story. In the country of Georgia stands a 140-foot rock pillar, crowned with a small hermitage. Hermits have lived atop the Katskhi Pillar in ages past, doing little more than praying for the life of the world. But no one has lived there in 600 years. That might change someday soon. Watch this:

Fr. Maxim has fixated on living atop Katskhi Pillar since he was a boy, something that is undoubtedly hard for most of us to appreciate. He’s been painstakingly restoring the hermitage for several years — every block and board hoisted up the side of the rock by pulley and rope.

I found this brief BBC story about Fr. Maxim for some additional background:

As a pop culture reference, Minnie Driver’s movie Uncorked makes loving sport of the crazy uncle Cullen (played by Nigel Hawthorne) who clambers up his own pillar to follow in the footsteps of fifth-century Syrian monk, Simeon Stylites. Simeon lived and prayed alone on his perch for decades. The documentary being made about Fr. Maxim is perhaps more serious. I can’t wait to see it.

Thanks to Fr. Stephen Freeman for pointing this out.

About Joel J. Miller

I'm the author of Lifted by Angels, a look at angels through the eyes of the early church. Click here for more about me or subscribe to my RSS here.

  • Susan_G1

    How incredibly cool! How beautiful the hermitage. Praise God for Fr. Maxim, and may God richly bless him.

    Thanks so much for this refreshing post. Will you be reminding us when the documentary comes out, or should I find a way to keep track?

    • Joel J. Miller

      Truthfully, I found out about this by accident. I’ll probably find out about the completed movie the same way. Maybe there’s a feature on the doc website to stay updated.

      • Susan_G1

        What a great find! I’ll check it out. Thanks!


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