The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [55]

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, 54.

Our greek font.


In the last passage which I quoted from Chapters appears in face of us a reality of perfection refelt always as personal imperfection.

Namely the indwelling of Holy Trinity in the perfect does not mean a morbid state of jubilation, of vainglorious jubilation, but on the contrary it gives rise to a continually longing toward the coverage that tw|/ avtele,stw| te,lei [end without end][1] of the love of God.

The reaching at end, as says Symeon, the reaching at the perfection in holiness, which is always a personal measure and not one impersonal, does not propagate in us the feeling that we have come to a final satisfactory from point of view personal, but, rather, on that one, that we have not found a beginning [avrch.n] of our longing and of our love for God[2].

For that they can not encompass the perfection of love for God, the perfect have the consciousness that they do not love God[3], for that they do not feel fully fulfilled in their love for God.

This consciousness of impetuous love of the perfect, always refelt as imperfect and deficient, it gives rise to the most profound and incomprehensible humility for those who are not spiritual men, for that Saints consider themselves unworthy of God’s salvation[4].

The sinfulness on which and imputed it the perfect, in definitive, not is only of the level of the grossness, where was  deepened sins of youth and of their ignorance, but, rather, it comes from the feeling of their imperfection in face of the over-completion of God’s glory.

The experiencing of the divine light creates the consciousness of the congenital imperfection of the perfect. They understand in those ecstatic moments, with all their being, that they can never be proper to the divine light, for that they will never to comprehend the greatness of it discoveries.

The Saints’s humility arises from the greatness of the discoveries [II Cor. 12, 7], as to paraphrase on the Divine Paul, from the deep intimacy of them with God, being a charismatic state.

It is not, with precedence, the fruit of remembering of the proper deeds, but, essentially, is an understanding of proper power, a reduced power, to comprehend the glory of God.

The sensing of the grace is the pledge [avrrabw.n][5] and the full certainty [plhrofori,an][6] of our salvation.

In symeonian soteriology this enunciation represents one capital truth for the authentication of an Orthodox faithful.

The Orthodox authentic faithful is the one conscious of the treasure of grace from himself, that does not extinguished the torch of the grace from him and is seer of divine glory through his continual cleaning of passions.

This believer lives in history and is identifiable by other confreres, which they were cleansed of passions and are filled of the Ghost, according as gives witness our Father: „and now are men nonpassionate [avpaqei/j], Saints [a[gioi] and [men] full of divine light [peplhrome,noi tou/ qei,ou fwto,j], that spend in the midst of us and kill their until there all [members of] their earthly [Col. 3, 5] of all uncleanness and passionate lust, that not only that they do not think or to start sometime from themselves to do the evil, but they even when dragged to it by another they do not suffer any change of the unpassion that is proper to them”[7].

Symeon knew from he himself the holiness and he saw and in those who needed Orthodox. He felt not as on an imperious need the reporting to the past of Church for to talk about holiness, for that he confessed openly about the holiness of  Church’s men contemporaries of himself. His theology talks about this continuing reality of holiness in the Church and, implicit, about the holiness of the Church as the Body of Christ.

In the Catechesis 14, that treats just about the reality of spiritual experience, Symeon talks about the absolute consciousness of the one that purifies the passions, about this the divine-human process that occurs in him: the one that puts over his passions „the commandments like some medicines, and the trials as on a hot iron, humbling and crying and requiring boiling the help of God, he sees clearly the grace of the Holy Ghost coming [o`ra/| evnargw/j th.n ca,rin tou/ vAgi,ou Pneu,matoj paragenome,nhn], snatching them and erasing them one by one, until his soul is made with completely free of all this. Because the coming of the Ghost does not make him worthy of freedom [to the passions] just in part, but in accomplished face and clean [telei,wj kai. kaqarw/j]”[8].

The same awareness of the cleaning appears and less later, in the catechesis cited anterior, where Symeon affirms in trenchant mode, that „God, He who dwells in him, teaches on an such man about the future and the present, not through word, but through work, through experience and reality [e;rgw| kai. pei,ra| kai. pra,gmati]. Because God revealing to his mind’s eye, looks him how many wants [He] and how many are useful to him [the faithful], and the other [that exceeds him] convinces him not to seek and nor to search, nor to spy out with curiosity, because even those that God reveals to him and shows them [expressly] he can not looks with shamelessness[9].

Our relation of communion with God is the one in the frame of which we learn from our own illuminations of the grace.

The measure of our spiritual knowledge is given by the measure wherewith God shows us those of His.

What exceeds us, that measure at that we can not reach noway, is one that we do not even want it, for that we can not have the longing by it in our heart, if God would have not attracted us to the boundless horizons of this longing.

In the measure in that we feel an untold wish to God, at a some personal intensity and we see that we can not more than that, for Symeon this thing means that we intuited the measure of our spiritual living.

For that, as said and Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, the sight of God „not means that God is known in perfect mode. He remains and for the Eastern Christian always a mystery. For never the light received from the person of Christ is not a complete understanding of His person and of the Holy Trinity”[10].


Looking the unbeatable chaining of the symeonian reasonings, extracted from direct experience of holiness, we can not reach at an other conclusion than of his and namely at the fact that the personal salvation is a personal advance in holiness, ie in living in and through the grace of God.

Our Father does not grant the monopoly of holiness to a certain categories of believers from the Church, but he confesses one salvation for all, on measure of everyone, as personal sensing of divine glory, as a sacred link with God the Holy and as an eternal communion with Him.

For Saint Symeon the holiness is the normal state, quotidian of the Christian Orthodox, that is learned primarily from the relation alive, gracial and ecstatic with God and not from books or through an exterior mimicry of it.

[1] SC 51, Chapters, I, 7, 11, p. 42 / Ică jr. 3, p. 367.

[2] Idem, Chapters, I, 8, 14-15, p. 42 / Ibidem.

[3] Idem, Chapters, I, 8, 15-17, p. 42 / Ibidem.

[4] Idem, Chapters, I, 8, 17-19, p. 42 / Ibidem.

[5] Idem, Chapters, III, 47, 4, p. 94 / Idem, p. 408.

[6] Idem, Chapters, III, 47, 7, p. 94 / Ibidem.

[7] Idem, Chapters, III, 87, 9-16, p. 108 / Idem, p. 419.

[8] SC 104, The Catechesises, XIV, 88-96, p. 210 / Ică jr. 2, p. 179.

[9] Idem, The Catechesises, XIV, 150-157, p. 216/ Idem, p. 181.

[10] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, The Personal Link with Christ in the Light of Divine Infinity, after Saint Symeon the New Theologian [Legătura personală cu Hristos în lumina infinităţii dumnezeieşti, după Sfântul Simeon Noul Teolog], in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology Studies [Studii de teologie dogmatică ortodoxă],  op. cit., p. 316.

Lasă un răspuns

Adresa ta de email nu va fi publicată. Câmpurile obligatorii sunt marcate cu *