The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [8]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

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Saint Symeon has the extraordinary plastic expressions when he wants to express his interiorization with God.

For example, who sees God is clothed with God’s light like a bright garment[1] and that means clothing in Christ[2]; Christ opens the heavens and goes along with the Father and the Ghost, showing Himself to whom is a believer[3]; he eats and feeds beautifully from His sight and unites with Him going beyond the heavens[4]; our union with God/ the sight of God is an ineffable and divine wedding (ga,moj)[5] or called the ecstasy as nourishment of „the bosom of the glory” (tou/ ko,lpouth/j do,xhj)[6] of God.

These examples are just a few eloquent images of the symeonian theological discourse.

But Symeon speaks not only in the antinomic terms of sight and unsight in his theology, but he speaks and in apophatic mode about the divine sight, showing that „more lighting of His is an full unsight (avbleyi,a)”[7] for man.

’Ableyi,a represents at Saint Symeon not a lack of sight, but a heaviness of sight, an uncomprehend of the light by man. ’Ableyi,a must be understood also in the relation with the light received as a gift, as worthy of the sight, in which we see from the divine light as we can grasp on a personal level.

Two other characteristics of the sight of the light which we detach from the symeonian theology is that divine light is seen above the sensation (u`pe.r ai;sqhsin)[8] and that on it we receive through His Ghost (di.a tou/ Pneu,matoj Auvtou/)[9], of Christ.

We see the light spiritually, in other words, not physically. In the symeonian theology the divine sight is not a drop in the sensuality, but a rise, through the Ghost, at the divine light.

Therefore, in Chapters, II, 8, Simeon speaks of the sight as climbing at „the height of the spiritual contemplation” (u;yoj pneumatikh/j qewri,aj)[10].

The glory of the Ghost[11], that we see in ecstasy, is the glory of the Lord (th.n do,xan Kuri,ou)[12] because it is the glory of the Trinity[13].

Whenever Symeon indicates the glory as being of a divine person, he does not envisage an exclusive revendication of it for that divine person. He speaks as in Scripture, confering the possession of the divine light when to the one, when to the other from persons, he knows that the light is commune to the trinitarian persons.

In the research of his theology never be applied the principle of discrimination of the existing theological datas but that of their corroborate. Symeon is revealed as a fully Father of the Church in the measure in that we are approaching, through the experience and the sensation of grace, his spiritual experience and his mystical theology.

Without our real communion with God, his theology has no internal articulation with us and we can not generate than the extremist, deplorable views, with the address at his theology.

And this, because Symeon speaks about Theology as being a full and mystic learning (evpignw,sewj)[14] of us by the grace of God[15], which makes us become the teodidacts[16].

[1] Idem, Chapters, I, 90, p. 67 / Ibidem. The image of the dressing in light as a divine garment is and SC 156, Hymns, XIII, 7, 256; SC 174, Hymns, XXX, 325-326, p. 362 (dressing in the immaterial garment); SC 196, Hymns, XLV, 63, p. 106 (the bright and divine vestment).

[2] Idem, Chapters, II, 8, p. 73 / Idem, p. 392. To see and SC 156, Hymns, XV, 178, p. 292; XV, 214, p. 294; SC 196, Hymns, L, 187-190, p. 170.

[3] SC 156, Hymns, 36-38, p. 234 / Idem, p. 77.

[4] Idem, Hymns, XIII, 67-68, p. 262.

[5] Idem, Hymns, XV, 175, p. 292.

[6] SC 174, Hymns, XXIV, 263, p. 246. To see and SC 196, Hymns, L, 143, p. 166, where the sight of the light is depicted as a feeding from one breast (mazo,j).

[7] SC 51, Chapters, II, 2, p. 71 / Ică jr. 3, p. 390.

[8] Idem, Chapters, II, 2**, p. 71; II, 3, p. 72. In SC 174, Hymns, XVII, 395-396, p. 40, Symeon says that the divine light clothed him in the garment of mind’s sensation (aivsqh,sewj citw/na noera/j), namely gaved him the capacity to seize the light with mind, with a spiritualised mind, transparentised by grace.

[9] Idem, Capitole, II, 3, p. 72 / Ică jr. 3, p. 390.

[10] Idem, Chapters, II, 8, p. 73 / Idem, p. 392. To see and SC 174, XVII, 339, p. 36.

[11] Idem, Chapters, III, 21, p. 86 / Idem, p. 401; SC 156, Hymns, XI, 50, p. 236; SC 174, Hymns, XIX, 53, p. 98 (the grace of the Ghost); XXII, 177, p. 184 (the divine light of the Ghost: fw/j tou/ Pneu,matoj qei/on); XXVII, 67, p. 284 (the light comes from the Holy Ghost); XXXIV, 84, p. 434 (the grace of the Ghost); SC 196, Hymns, XLII, 103-104, p. 44 (the light of the Ghost).

[12] Idem, Chapters, II, 15, p. 75 / Idem, p. 393.

[13] SC 156, Hymns, II, 91, p. 182; SC 174, Hymns, XIX, 56, p. 98 (the grace of Trinity).

[14] SC 174, Hymns, XVIII, 7, p. 74; XXXIV, 82, p. 434 (the exact knowledge: evpignw,sei avkribei/); XL, 95, p. 492.

[15] SC 51, Chapters, II, 15, p. 75 / Idem, p. 393. To see and Idem, Chapters, III, 38, p. 91, where the soul that sees God recognizes Him,Who roses him from the dead.

[16] Idem, Chapters, III, 84, p. 107 / Idem, p. 418. To see and SC 51, Chapters, III, 85, p. 107. Into an article on theme of the understanding of the scriptural text, Father Professor Constantin Coman stressed „the decisive and indispensable contribution of the Holy Ghost to the act of understanding” of the Scripture, acc. Rev. Prof. D.Th. Constantin Coman, About the Recourse of the Systematic Studies at Holy Scripture, rev. Theological Studies, Series III, II (2006), no. 2, p. 189.

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