Symeon of Thessalonica

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Our father among the saints Symeon, was a monastic, theologian, and Archbishop of Thessalonica during the fifteenth century. A Palamite and great liturgist, he was the archbishop of Thessalonica during its final days before its capture by the Ottoman Turks. He is especially known for his commentaries on liturgical practice. His feast day is September 15.


The birth date of Symeon is unknown, but was probably between 1381 and 1387. He was born in Constantinople a city that he greatly admired. He became a monk in one of the monasteries of Constantinople, possibly the Xanthopoulon monastery, and was ordained a hieromonk before he was consecrated to the episcopate. He was installed as Archbishop of Thessalonica in 1416/1417, and arrived as Ottoman forces were surrounding the city. In June 1422 as the Ottomans were forming their siege, Abp. Symeon slipped out of the city in an attempt to reach Constantinople and persuade the emperor to send more forces to protect Thessalonica. Narrowly escaping capture by the Ottoman forces, he was only able to reach Mount Athos, where he was convinced to return to Thessalonica.

Without any help from Constantinople, the city's despot (governor), Andronicus Palaiologos, turned to Venice in the hope that the maritime republic would keep Thessalonica out of Ottoman hands. Venetian rule, however, couldn't prevent the Ottoman sultan Murad II from maintaining his siege, and conditions in the city remained desperate. These events were described by Abp. Symeon in his Logos Historikos.

Abp. Symeon died, probably in September 1429, just shortly before Thessalonica fell to the Ottoman Turks in March 1430. In 1981, Abp. Symeon was glorified by the Church of Constantinople.


  • Politico-Historical Works, ed. David Balfour (Vienna, 1979) - includes the Greek text of the Logos Historikos.
  • Ἔργα θεολογικά, Ἁγίου Συμεὼν ἀρχιεπισκόπου Θεσσαλονίκης, 1416/17-1429 (Theological works of St. Symeon, Archbishop of Thessalonika, 1416/76-1429) ed. & intro. David Balfour. (Thessaloniki, 1981).
  • The Liturgical Commentaries, ed. Steven Hawkes-Teeples (Toronto, 2011).
  • 'Logos Historikos' (English translation) in Venice and Thessalonica 1423-1430: Greek Accounts, trans. John R. Melville-Jones (Padua, 2006), pp. 87–142
  • 'A Discourse on the Priesthood to a Pious Monk', in On the Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist (According to St. Symeon of Thessalonica, Patriarch Kallinikos of Constantinople and St. Mark of Ephesus), trans. George D. Dragas (Rollinsford NH, 2004)
  • "Dialogue against the Heresies"
  • "Only True Faith of Us Christians"
  • "Sacred Rituals and Sacraments of the Church", first published by Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem in Jassi, Moldavia, in 1683 and reprinted by J. P. Migne in his Patrologia Graeca (PG vol. 155), Paris 1866

In addition, he also wrote many hymns and liturgical works and a discourse on the priesthood.

Succession box:
Symeon of Thessalonica
Preceded by:
Archbishop of Thessalonica
1416 - 1429
Succeeded by:
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