Sv. Simeon of Zadar – Sv. Šime: patron of Zadar

Now this is a special place!
The church of St Simeon is located in historic quarters of Zadar: near the Roman entrance to ancient Jadera. The tiny square is one of my most favorite places in the World! Small, quiet, historic… just radiates with harmony! I cannot explain it, but it simply shines with tranquility.

The church of St Simeon (Sveti Šime) was originally an old Christian three-nave basilica, then a Gothic adaptation and finally an important monument of provincial baroque. This church was mentioned for the first time in 1190. but most of it originates from the 16th and 17th centuries. The facade, as it is now, was finished in 1632. and the bell tower was built in 1707.

The church of St Simeon - Sv Šime
The church of St Simeon – Sv Šime

The patron’s day is October 8th and I try to make it to Zadar to see the saint in his sarcophagus every year. On Oct. 8th, the chest is opened and the mummy of the saint displayed for a week. The sarcophagus is a silver chest from the year 1380.and it is a goldsmith’s work of great value and one of the finest of medieval Europe. It was commissioned in 1377 and built by Franjo of Milan and his assistants. The actual coffin is made from cedar and gilded inside and out with pure silver. The scenes depict the legends and miracles of the saint.

The sarcophagus on altar
The sarcophagus on altar

The legend says that, in 1203, a merchant who was carrying the body of St Simeon from the Holy Land to Venice was caught in a storm, and sought shelter in Zadar. Not to become suspicious, he was telling everyone that the body he carried was of his brother. He fell ill, and before he died had the body of the saint buried, but told the nurses taking care of him that they would find something interesting in his documents. The nurses found an inscription of the powers of the saint around his neck, and asked three local priests to dig up the grave. Miraculously, the three city rector’s had the same dream that night that the body of the Saint Simeon was to be excavated that morning.
So, at dawn, all three appeared in front of the surprised priests and realized that they all had the same dream. St Simeon has been revered in Zadar ever since. The silver casket of St. Simeon can be viewed daily and his remains are shown to the public on his patron day, October the 8th.

St Simeons open sarcophagus on Oct. 8th 2009
St Simeon’s open sarcophagus on Oct. 8th 2009

The most interesting part is to actually see the mummy of the saint behind the glass!
A 2000 years old mummy is a fascinating sight!

The mummy!
The mummy!

It is not allowed to take photos but how could have I resisted? That is why the photos are not of the usual quality.
This is to all Zaratini in the world to remember where they are from…

It was a lovely day yesterday and I took my clients Gerry and Christine Meijer from Australia on a hiking trip to Ljuba fortress and, when we returned, I wanted to show them the saint since they would have probably have missed it seeing Zadar on their own.

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