The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [9]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

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In this context he assimilates qewri,a with avpoka,luyij[1]. The revelation is the sight of the light and those who see in the light are designated by Symeon as musthri,wn[2].

Only these mysteries of light represent for Symeon a knowledge of God[3]. It is observable in the symeonian writing and recurrence of the derivatives from fai,nw (to show/ to reveal)[4], from which is designated the divine revelations or the ecstatic sights.

We find in Chapters, II, 16 a formulation of the theological knowledge as an entrance in the divine light[5] or in „tw/| buqw/| tou/ qei,ou fwto,j” („the depth of the divine light”)[6], as in II, 17 or as an „fw/j…evn Fwti.”(„light…in Light”), according as he specificates in II, 18[7].

The knowledge to which we accede through the sight is unspeakable (avporrh,twj)[8].

Accepting both terminology of Sinai and that of Tabor, our Father assimilates and gno,foj with fwto.j[9], both darkness and light designating the glory of God.

And Symeon does not simplify, by these assimilations, the understanding of the ecstasy, but the understanding of the ecstatic terminology. This type of the synthetic understanding of the scriptural and patristic terminology is a constant at Saint Symeon.

Another characteristic of the spiritual life, which often appears at Saint Symeon, is that, the salvation and, in the ultimate instance, the perfection, are realities that do not occur in avgnw,stwj mode, without consciously or unconsciously, but in gnwstw/j mode, consciously[10].

Therefore, for him, the feeling of the grace and the sight of God are absolutely real, conscious, deifying because they are forming, in essence, the personal holiness.

For this fact, we often encounter in his writing references to the internal connection between knowledge and the union, in beingly (ouvsiwdw/j)[11] mode, with light.

Desiring to prevent any puerile accusations against God’s sight, in Chapters, II, 21 he warns of the capital danger of bad allegorisation of Scripture, by which confuses what must to live now an orthodox christian with what must live in the future or in eternity[12].

We, as many are worthy, we see God, says Saint Symeon, but and God sees us[13]. God speaks in ecstatic mode with His friends and gives them all to talk about Him[14].

Those who have seen and see God are the whole people (o`loklh,roij)[15] and they are part of that crush/ a[lusij (gold chain)[16], uninterrupted, of the Saints.

From these cited places, we observe that Symon puts the ecstasy on account of Saints and those who sanctify their life in continuously and, on the other hand, he highlights the fact that the sight of God and the ascetic life full of discernment are those that sanctify us, those that make us, in total mode, of God.

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

In SC 51, Chapters, III, 22, p. 86, Symeon assimilates revelation with contemplation, but brings into the equation and knowledge. He says that God reveals Himself as the worthy and as He is revealed as it is seen by them and the sight of Him means the knowledge of Him.

In other words, the sight means the theological knowledge and the knowledge is on measure of His revelation, the revelation that is on measure of the intimacy with God of those worthy. What wants to point out Saint Symeon is not the reality of the restrictive knowledge of God, but the fact that the act of the knowledge is proportional with our intimacy with God.

To see and Idem, III, 77, p. 104; SC 174, Hymns, XXV, 43, p. 258; XXVIII, 36, p. 296; XXXV, 4, p. 440; SC 196, Hymns, XLIX, 17, p. 148.

[2] Ibidem / Ibidem.

[3] Ibidem / Ibidem.

[4] SC 174, Hymns, XXIV, 255, p. 244; XXV, 10, p. 254; XXV, 47**, p. 258; XXVIII, 36, p. 296; XXVIII, 179, p. 308; XXIX, 90, p. 320; XXXV, 2, p. 440; SC 196, Hymns, XLV, 29, p. 104; XLVIII, 108, p. 138; XLVIII, 137, 152, p. 142; L, 31, p. 158; L, 238, p. 174.

[5] SC 51, Chapters, II, 16, p. 75 / Ibidem.

[6] Idem, Chapters, II, 17, p. 75 / Ibidem.

[7] Idem, Chapters, II, 18, p. 76 / Idem, p. 394.

[8] Idem, Chapters, II, 16, p. 75 / Idem, p. 393.

[9] We refer in this citation at SC 51, Chapters, II, 18, p. 76, where Saint Symeon says that, when the mind is fully covered by darkness and divine light, it reaches at the sight of God.

[10] SC 51, Chapters, II, 20**, p. 77 / Ică jr. 3, p. 394.

To see and SC 174, Hymns, XXIX, 168-169, p. 326 (God dwells in the Saints in conscious [gnwstw/j] and beingly [ouvsiwdwj] mode); XXXIV, 81, p. 435.

[11] SC 196, Hymns, LI, 138, 141, p. 196.

[12] SC 51, Chapters, II, 21, p. 77 / Idem, p. 395.

[13] Idem, Chapters , II, 24, p. 78 / Idem, p. 396.

To see and SC 156, Hymns, I, 161-162, p. 170; VIII, 1-5, p. 214; SC 174, Hymns, XVI, 17, p. 10; XVIII, 97, p. 82; XXX, 386, p. 366.

[14] Ibidem / Ibidem.

[15] Idem, Chapters, III, 5, p. 81 / Idem, p. 398.

[16] Idem, Chapters, III, 4, p. 81 / Ibidem.

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