The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [54]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53.

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Into a personal definition of salvation, he says: „salvation is the absolution of all evils and therewith the finding eternal of all the good”[1].

But, whereas he speaks here about what we receive in eternity, however the absolution of passions, of evil and finding the eternal good are experiented starting now and continuing throughout eternity.

As far as we are concerned, to us it is very evident the realistic tone of Saint Symeon in respect of salvation.

For his Holiness there is no salvation of rank one for Saints and salvation of rank two for other believers.

In his theology, salvation has the character of the most sustained communion with God, in that all what happens with us is an interior evidence and in that the holiness is not an exterior mirage to which all run to endless, but, rather, is a conscious interiorization and an ever deeper personal understanding of God’s glory.

Therefore it seems very realistic and believable expressed his soteriology, for that salvation is at Symeon a cornering interior reality, is the foundation of the believer’s personal life and presupposes a continuous supply of details of its living.

Symeon can not talk about an unconscious salvation or indifferent of people as long as the gracial connection with God presupposes its awareness, the joy, the sanctification and the illumination through grace.

Symeonian soteriology is a natural prolongation of his Triadology and of his Christology, where, according as we showed in the preceding sections, God unites through His glory, in conscious mode and fully, with the one that purifies the passions and that fulfills His commandments from a great longing for God[2].

In Chapters I, 7, Symeon speaks about the indwelling Trinity in the perfected ones as about an intensification and more of their longing for God.

He says: „The indwelling in conscious face and felt of the tri-hypostatic Godhead in the perfect ones [toi/j telei,oij] is not a fulfillment of their longing [of God], but rather a beginning and a cause of a longing [for Him] even bigger and stronger”[3].

If the perfect ones the personal holiness seems a continuous state of non-holiness is from itself meaning that Symeon could not speak of a salvation in that the holiness is not present.

To be Saints means for Symeon to stand in grace and always fills us with grace, namely to manifest in normal mode as some Orthodox Christians aware of our relation with God.

What is most confusing for the postmodern reader of Saint Symeon is that to him holiness is not put on a pedestal, at that get only some, but it is the natural mark, quotidian, banal we could say, of an Orthodox Christian life at that we can reach with all.

The universalist character of symeonian soteriology and nontypological in the same time manifests as an organic thing of the Church, forasmuch the entry into the Church through Baptism means the beginning of personal holiness in that you can move forward indefinitely.

For Symeon no one can obstruct our relation with God and the advance in holiness, as long as growth means continuous increase in communion with Him and reception of sustained help from part of His to understand Him and more.

[1] SC 196, Hymns, XLII, 205-206, p. 52 / Ică jr. 3, p. 232.

[2] Commenting the contribution of Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae at understanding of symeonian theology, Father Vasile Pop said into an article of his: „Only loving God and only in consciousness that he is loved by God, the man forward into a life that not ever be satisfied by God”, acc. Rev. Lect. D.Th. Vasile Pop, The Man and God. Hymns of Saint Symeon the New Theologian in writings of Father Dumitru Stăniloae, rev. Theological Horizons II (2001), no. 1, p 72.

[3] SC 51, Chapters, I, 7, 3-6, p. 42 / Ică jr. 3, p. 366.

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