In the Orthodox Christian faith, Saint
Stylianos* the Hermit is considered the
patron saint of children.
He is special help to children who are ill and to childless
couples. He is also known as a protector of orphans.
He is usually depicted in icons as an elderly bearded man holding a swaddled
St. Stylianos lived in Paphlagonia** in the
latter 6th and 7th century CE.
His day is celebrated on the 26th of November.
In his book on Orthodox Saints*** Fr. George
Paulos makes the claim that "His (Stylianos') was probably the first
day-care center of the world, where mothers could safely leave their
children while tending to other matters of the home".
This quote has been widely copied all over the Internet.
Another Orthodox clergyman charitably called this daycare claim "A bit of a
He said parents left their older children with the saint for a little
counseling, which is quite different than leaving their infants in a
for the entire day.
In any case, it's ironic that Fr. Paulos would unintentionally make the
mental connection between the protector of
orphans and the first daycare!
- His name is sometimes transliterated as "Stylianus" in English.
area of Paphlagonia was located on the northern central Black Sea coast, in
what is now the north central part of modern Turkey.
Saints: Spiritual Profiles for Modern Man, Vol. 4, ©1992, page 144.
English language references on Saint Stylianos are very difficult to find.
If you have information about this saint, please
e-mail it to us.
Daycare and Religion.