The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [88]

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, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87.


When Symeon talks about the totality of Saints, which must be contemplated as a single man and designates the personal role, distinct, of each in the mystical construction of Church, he regards the Church as on a charismatic institution[1], formed from people full of the Holy Ghost and who feel living members of Christ and manifest this interior life of them through those which they say and do.

The charisms were not received an unconscious mode, wants to tell us Symeon, or without the cleaning of passions of every Saint in part and their union with Christ is a continuous willed annexation of Him, a continuous effort and a continuous desire of to be with Him.

Saint Symeon describes here a real state of personal unity with Christ and not an ideal of mystical communion.

If some of the Saints have the role of hands of Christ, that clean on men, if some bear, through their prayers, the infirmities of the many and convert to the faith on the unbelievers ones, if some feed the Church through their word and others born mystic on the future Saints, through their mystical life and others carry the wickedness burden of men and devils, says in subtext Symeon, each one received the gift after the personal ascetic effort and after the qualities and the personal interior dispositions.

Without the annexation with all of Him, the Saints cannot stand and cannot function in Church as some living members of Christ and any interior detachment from Christ means ruin, death, eternal loss of ours.

The Church is the body of Christ [to soma tis Hristu], says Symeon, and it is the place which takes into a together-harmony  [sinarmologumenon] on all the Saints of God and it is entire [artion] and harmonious [olocliron][2].

With other words, the holiness of the Church is due to the holiness of the Head of Church, of Christ and of interior racordation of those Saints at Christ and the unity of the Church is given by the charismatic unity of relation between Christ and the Saints and of Saints among them.

The personal charisms of the Saints build the unity of the Church in active mode and the divine breath, which every Saint brings in the Church, is a following of personal relation, direct, living with Christ God.

The manifestation of Saints as living members of Christ, as members in which Christ is living and active, is seized by the faithful, both during their live and after their repose, when they come to their Holy Relics as to worship and to receive divine power in their ghostual life[3].

As to argue the affirmation, how that „all the Saints, being members of Christ, make themselves a body of Him and they will make still and in future[4], Symeon brings in its support on Jn. 14, 20; 17, 20, 21, 22, 26[5].

From the johanneic places cited, results that Christ is in active mode present in Saints, that Christ wants the unity of the Church and He realizes it through those who are stuck of Him in interior mode and that He gives those Saints the eternal glory of the Holy Trinity, for that they to be perfect into all.

Is observable how Symeon cites accurate the Scripture, without to force the texts and understands them in their full scriptural sense. He extracts his theology from the depths of Scripture and from the personal revelations which God provokes in his being.

The symeonian conclusion behind of those texts cited is identifiable in two lapidary affirmations and namely: „the mode of union [enoseos tropon] [between God and Saints] is beyond of mind and of all understanding”[6], for that „the union [enosin] which [Christ] has it, in natural [fisicos] face, with His Father, on this He promises that we have it in grace [en hariti], if we want”[7].

The tropos of interior union, whereof speaks John and Symeon here, is a real one for Saints, but both for themselves, and for those who venerate them, is incomprehensible due to its depth unutterable.

Symeon not only that guarantees us the existence of this real union with Christ, citing the Scripture, but he guarantees us and through his proper charismatic link with God, the reality of personal link of Saints with Christ.

If we are attentive at scriptural citations of Symeon and at the interior logic of his discourse, we observe that he has not taken on Saints as paradigm of real union with Christ from the cause of a ghostual elitism or from teologal snobbism, but for that, in thereof being, this union is real and conscientized into a continuous interior rhythm.

But through this, we believe, he did not create a dangerous fissure between members of the Church, dividing on Saints from the regular believers of Church, for that in his soteriological vision and ecclesial cannot exist true believers without having a certain degree of interior holiness.

And, after how we have seen, for Symeon the conscientization of presence of grace in us from Baptism and the full union with God, through the fulfillment of commandments and ascesis, represents the true ethos of orthodox life.

Symeon show us here, in the frame of I, 6, that the triadology and the christology are those which explains the divine-human reality of the Church. Without the real coupling at the grace of Trinity and without to feel us living members, active of Christ, we do not feel the real parts of the body of Christ, of Church and we cannot experience, in personal mode, the relation of great deepness with the Most Holy Trinity, through which we live „the love with which God and the Father loved on His Son, the Only Begotten and [into which], our God…will be in us and Himself the Son of God will be in us[8].

[1] In the introduction at a study dedicated to symeonian ecclesiology, Father Alexander Golitzin said: „the great trust of Saint Symeon stays just into a thinking of charismatic type and – because I have not a better word – into a christian subjective experience on the other part, from which is in objective mode constituted the Church, both as a historical and eschatological reality, existing under the institutional form received from the Apostles, which has never been far from the mind and his heart, for which I find no indication in his operas, through which he would be dreamed, ever, to contest it”, acc. Alexander Golitzin, The Body of Christ: Saint Symeon the New Theologian on Spiritual Life and Hierarchical Church, a conference exposed at Bose, september, 2002, conf.

[2] SC 122, The Ethical Discourses, I, 6, 31-33, p. 226 / Ică jr. 1, p. 133.

[3] Into an article dedicated to the veneration of Holy Relics, Father Professor Constantin Galeriu said, that the Saints bear, „yet from this life an earnest of immortality” in their being and that the veneration which we give it to the Holy Relics comes from the fact, that „exists a continuity between the life from here and the life after death, on the other plane of existence. Is a continuity of dynamic existence, active, not diminished, but always enriched”, conf. Rev. Prof. Constantin Galeriu, The Veneration of the Holy Relics [Cinstirea Sfintelor Moaşte], in The Metropolia of Banat [Mitropolia Banatului] XXX (1980), no. 10-12, p. 643, 648.

[4] SC 122, The Ethical Discourses, I, 6, 38-39, p. 226 / Ică jr. 1, p. 133.

[5] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 6, 44-57, p. 226-228 / Ibidem.

[6] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 6, 59-60, p. 228 / Ibidem.

[7] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 6, 62-64, p. 228 / Ibidem.

[8] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 6, 73-76, p. 228/ Idem, p. 134.

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