Barrel Of The Week

Theodoret, the bishop of Cyrrhus from 423 to 457 CE, claimed that he had seen a hermit who had spent ten years in a tub suspended in mid-air from some poles. In 423 CE Simeon Stylites the Elder, who clambered atop a pillar, set a rather eccentric standard for others wishing to practice a form of religious asceticism and had many imitators.       

Compared with that lot, though, South African Vernon Kruger is a mere amateur. He was last heard of 80 feet in the air in a barrel, his home for two months now. He has already broken his own record of 67 days, set twenty-two years ago, and is aiming to stay there for at least 80 days.

Kruger is not there for the sake of his immortal soul. In fact, he can’t remember quite why he is up there. He said in an interview, “I had some good reasons, but I’ve forgotten them since I’ve been up here”. Naturally, he is using social media to keep in touch with the outside world, something which would have made the original Stylites hopping mad.

Standards have slipped, methinks.

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