The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [90]

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, 88, 89.


But the members of the mystical body of Christ, of the Church, are the Saints and not just those baptized in the Church, which not actualise daily their relation with God, on which God Himself had initiated with them and in them from their Baptism.

From the perspective of personal union with Christ, the Church is formed from Saints and it widens continuous and it will comprise, in definitive, on all the Saints from all ages, fact for which, „until will not come at existence [all the Saints] or until will not arise all well-pleasing [of God], nor the body of Christ is whole, nor the upper world is fill – and this I say that is the Church of God – but many are [between future Saints] today, in world, unbelievers and between those who believe in Christ many are sinners and fornicators, which must to change their life through repentance, many are disobedient and will have to make listeners, many are which must to be born and they to be well-pleasing of God until at the last trumpet.

For must to be born and to be brought at existence all those pre-known and to fill the world above the world of the Church of those first-born, the Jerusalem from the heavenly [Heb. 12, 22-23]. And then will be and the fullness of Christ’s body by the God of the pre-decided, [of those who have] to make alike the image of His Son [Rom. 8, 29]. For these are the sons of light and of His day [I Thes. 5, 5]”[1].

In the passage from here, the Church is presents by Symeon as the number of those Saints pre-known by God, who will sanctify the life and will enter in the upper world of the Kingdom of God.

Conformable to the parable of the tares found in the cornfield of wheat or of the fishes from seine, the formation of Saints does not know, in absolute mode, a linearity of christian life from one end at other of their life, but the Saints are born through the conversion of notorious sinners, while many of the faithful will prove, unfortunately, improper the entry in the bridal chamber.

The intensity and the sincerity of the living of interior relation with God is that which forms the Saints and their existence is not prescribed by a mundane forum but by God Himself.

God is the One who shows His friends, Which glorifies on the Saints, Which makes them known to the believers, and the hierarchy of Church affiliates the divine evidence, shown in different modes in the Church.

But we must not confuse the predecision of the Saints by God, whereof speaks Symeon here,  which is all one with the divine prescience, with the predestination or with the pagan fatalism, in which does not exist real human liberty, men are damned or absolved in dictatorial mode and the whole divine oikonomia of Christ is superfluous.

Symeon does not introduce in the orthodox faith the heresy of predestination, but he emphasizes the aghiological theology of Paul, in which the Saints are presented as the prescients of God and as the sons of the Kingdom of God, how show the three places pauline cited by Symeon, from the passage on which we comment it.

The historical dimension of the Church has its decisive role in the creation of the Church of the top, as long as here are formed the Saints, on earth, and the historic time precursory of the Parousia keeps just of the formation of this number of prescient Saints by God.

In this perspective of the formation of Saints, the history, the time and the space appear as some forming frames of the members of Church, as some frames which presuppose the sanctification of the members of Church and not as a major inconvenient, which would excuse of our lack of personal inghostualization.

The weights of history, the historical pressure of any kind exercised upon us is not a wall in front of personal holiness, but this is realized, with the grace of God, even and when all things seem to be with all against of the ghostual development of the living members of the Church.

The Church is not and can not be swallowed by history, as long as the reality of real personal union with God proves that the secularization or the devalorization of church life in the postmodern world and in any other historical paradigm, are not then some tasteless intellectual presuppositions, made at writing table and which have nothing to do with the living longing after the union with God of believers and with the unchecked aspiration to holiness.

The Church is the people of God in which lives, in conscious mode, the grace of God and which witnesses, without any censorship, the saving truth of the Holy Tradition of Church.

The courage of Saints, the monumentality of their life and their visible role or subterranean in the sanctification of world are ghostually seizable fingerprints of deep mystery of the Church.

The mystery of the Church consists precisely in the greatness of personal relations of God with the Saints and of the Saints between them and of the Saints with all members of the world.

The perfection of the body of Church through Saints does not make from Church an entity which has nothing to do with the damned, with the common sinners.

The growth in holiness of each believer in part comprises the assuming of whole world once with it and does not mean, any moment, a desolidarization of brothers who did not want to believe in God.

The holiness presupposes the solidarization, the assuming all in our life and in our prayers, and a painful prayer for the whole existence.

Talking about the descent of God the Word to us, Symeon presents the entire humanity as on  the daughter of the mutinous against Him, as on a sinful woman, guilty of fornication and killing[2].

And the goodness of God is indicated very expressive by him through the fact, that He preferred a bride fallen, depraved, for that has staked on the justification and its sanctification.


In conclusion, the Saints are not for Symeon some privileged, which have primacy towards others, for that they have certain personal trumps.

Through Baptism we are with all privileged, for that God puts us into a living relation, direct with Himself, from which we can not fall, only if we want to mock us.

The Church is just this complex number of personal relations with Christ and our source of ghostual life means the union with Christ through ecstasy and the impartation with Christ through the Holy Mysteries. And the holiness is the principal characteristic of the members of Church and it creates the unity of the Church.

As everyone to be a living member of Christ’s body, he must stand in the interior unity with Christ and with the Saints from all ages and from everywhere on earth, ie to stand, through,  holiness, in link to both with the Head of the Church, with Christ, but and with the other members of the Church, ie with the Saints before him but and with the contemporary of himself.

[1] SC 122, The Ethical Discourses, I, 8, 3-18, p. 240-242 / Ică jr. 1, p. 138-139.

[2] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 9, 22-25, p. 248 / Idem, p. 141.

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