The Last Will & Testament of Simeon the False Prophet
Part 1: Simeon’s Salvation from the Sea and how News of his Death reaches him
In the year of our Lord, AD 325, in the time when the Great Nile began to retreat from the lands of my people, I, Simeon, Bishop of Alexandria, Defender of the Faith and Guardian of the One True Secret, did leave the city of my fathers and follow my calling to the Council of Nicaea at the behest of my patrons and fathers, the Grand Council of Constantinople. This small city, in the Province of Bithynia lay many Roman leagues from my home here. It was with true reluctance that I bade Felicia, my wife, lover and servant of many years, farewell and began my torturous journey north, across the great Greek sea in the care of one Antonius; captain, trader and man of the many oceans.
I wish I could tell you that the journey was one of great adventure and heroism, yet sadly I cannot. Upon boarding Antonius’ galley, resplendent in the harbour of Alexandria, we unfurled the sails amid a fair wind and set off upon our momentous journey into the deep blue yonder of the Mediterranean Sea. For four days we glided across a sea of tranquility, the wind buffeting our sails, as if the hand of God himself was guiding us. We passed the true Christian cities of Caesarea, Ptolemais and Tyrus, from which the flames of freedom burnt bright from their mighty walls, without event. On the fifth night we landed upon the beaches of the Syrian coast and feast on our days catch from the abundant seas.
It was upon the dawning of the sixth day, the Sabbath, that disaster befell our small expedition. Little did I know then that such a sign should have driven me back then to the warm, welcoming bed of Felicia and the safety of my palace back in Alexandria. But I paid no heed.
As the morning dawned the skies darkened, threatening us with His rage. Through the progression of the day the seas began to swirl as if monsters grew angered beneath. In a short time the rains began with such intensity that a man’s skin pained upon a droplets touch. The seas grew mightier, roaring and thrashing against our stout ship. Antonius, a braver soul I have yet to meet, did seek to confront and battle this storm. He raged, as if a madman, against natures bombardment, bringing in the sails, battening all hatches and shaking his mighty fist to the Gods.
I for my part knelt before my Lord upon the prow and prayed for our safety and protection through this tempest. But it was to little avail for that day the Lord chose to pay no heed to my words. Near the Island of Cyprus our ship was driven by the raging seas onto a set of dragons teeth, protruding like vicious spikes from beneath the waves. A mighty gash was torn from our hull and the ship, as if in agony, screamed as her body was grounded upon the rocks. All souls on board were washed into the raging torrents of the sea and all, bar I, perished at the bottom of that deep and malevolent ocean.
I awoke the following morning, washed upon the shores of the island, as naked as a newborn save for the cross about my throat. My limbs screamed as if succumbing to the Emperor’s own torturers and my eyes streamed with tears of salt, as if I was emptying myself of the very sea itself. Slowly I became aware of the world around me and through my saline encrusted blur I could make out that before me stood a vision that could only be of heaven herself. Deep olive drenched skin covered a frame of curvaceous beauty, bound by a dress of purest white. Long luxurious black hair fell upon her shoulders and about her neck lay the simplest of wooden crosses, adorned with the reddest of rubies, to match her full embodied lips. When her mouth opened to speak the words fell out with the softest and sweetest of voices.
‘Arise Simeon of Alexandria for the is to be the salvation of the living. The Lord has preserved you for the holiest of tasks’
She moved forward and grasped my arm with soft delicate hands. I hesitated but for a moment, aware of my nakedness within her sight, I cowered against the sodden sand, begging it to bury me within. She smiled upon me and bestowed me with the assurances of a child
‘Fear not your nakedness Simeon of Alexandria, for you, like all, are but a child of the Lord. Indeed were the first in the Garden of Eden not born into their worlds unadorned with garments so as not to hide their innocence? Arise my child today is the first of your rebirth.’
Perturbed by the power and forthright manner of such an apparition I did as she commanded and stood upon my aching feet. Whilst I could not hide the fact of my nakedness I did endeavour to muster enough dignity, as requested of my high office, to cover my modesty before such a holy beauty. Momentarily I was perhaps lost for words fore she again spoke first.
‘Simeon, feel not ashamed of your current situation, you have been saved for the most greatest of tasks. I have chosen you to be the saviour of our faiths most sacred secret. You are a chosen one.’
At that instant of life my reactions sadly were my undoing. My moment of stoical heroism was perhaps undermined by my willingness to faint onto the ground from whence I had only so recently come. Upon my revival, no doubt due to the application of celestial smelling salts, I sought to regain my composure and return to my previously dignified state. The question that followed was conceivably not the well thought out enquiry that one believed it would be;
‘Who are you…..?’
She smiled upon me, a smile so radiant that I felt as if blessed by the Lord himself. She spoke unto me,
‘Yes my son Simeon, I am her, Mary of the Magdalene. I was but once a human as you and I to could not comprehend the divinity of the Lord in human form when first confronted by it. Be calmed Simeon and believe in my Truth’
A few minutes then passed, perhaps ten but not the hour I was later to remember it to be, as I stood dumbstruck, my finger pointing at her with a look of imbecility carved upon my face. Indeed had it not been for the copious strands of saliva winding their way down my chin, one could have mistakenly believed that I had been frozen in time, a memorial to incompetence when dealing with she who must be Mother to us all.
Once my period of temporary insanity had passed I decided that I should convey my full respect to one to Holy. I bowed before her, swirling an imaginary hat from upon my head and offered her the deepest of thanks for my successful rescue and temporary salvation. Of course one does not become Bishop of as an exalted city as Alexandria without learning many important lessons upon thy way, not least the ability to spot, and brutally exploit passages of conversation as had flowed from the immortal Magdalene’s lips. I composed myself once more and in the most honorable of my Bishop’s voices asked
‘May I be as bold to ask, Oh Mary, quite what it is that the Lord has required me, and only me, to achieve in his name?’
‘You may indeed ask Simeon of Alexandria’ Mary replied ‘but the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. Your task remains as much a mystery to me as it does to you, I have but one message to pass unto you.’
She again looked down at me before continuing, her eyes radiating purity and love. It required all of my strength to remain focused on her words and not seek to drown myself into her soul.
‘Your salvation comes at a price. No longer are you Simeon, Bishop of Alexandria for your death at sea will remain so. Your loved ones and your city will mourn your passing as befits a man of your station and you can take solace in this. But you must also come to realise that you will not set mortal eyes upon them again. For once you have achieved your task you will arise to take your place on the Lord’s Right Hand Side as is deserved of one so devote…’
She smiled again and a luxurious luminescence radiated from her, no doubt suggesting that interruption was not a choice at this very point.
‘…Now for your command Simeon. No longer are you to hasten to Nicaea but instead your must head East, to the lands of the Lord and to his holiest of Cities. There you will find a woman who will lead you on your path. She will offer you three choices and it is for you to decide your destiny. She too is one of the chosen few and you must believe in her Simeon, do not doubt her, for that will be your undoing. She will never reveal to others what is your choice but will aid you in your eventual escape.’
It was at this juncture that I chose to interrupt her speech with my own perplexed and exasperated question.
‘Are you to tell me that I must go unto Jerusalem, that home of religious crooks and delinquents who don’t know their pious arses from their sacred elbows and undertake a great act in the name of the Lord, as yet un-described, alongside a woman of vague and circuitous description who I have no means with which to contact nor recognise in the hope of achieving no fame, but rather eternal bliss and the reserving of my very own seat in the kingdom of our Lord?!’
She smiled at me as she answered whilst a look of amazement remained etched upon my very face.
‘Yes Simeon, indeed you are an astute. A good choice has been made, a man of greatness for certain’
And with no fond or formal farewells Mary Magdalene was gone from my sight, no more, leaving be naked as a babe on that beach in Cyprus…
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