One of those who passed with surprising speed from the secular sphere to the monastic life was Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022)… He describes himself in his writings as having led a dissolute life, but having been guided by a wise old monk, named Symeon Eulabes from the Stoudite monastery in Constantinople.

The old man advised him to say some prayers regularly each night, and in the course of saying them he described how a remarkable visionary experience happened to him, such that he only came back to his senses as day dawned, and he realized he had spent the entire night in ecstasy. He described how he had seen a radiant light suffuse his room as he prayed.