The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [16]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

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2. 2. 2. The Personalistic Dimension

If in The Theological Discourses, Saint Symeon is connected at the alive treasure of Tradition, presenting the triadological dogma as a spiritual contemplation, in Hymns we are dealing with doxological statements started from the largest communion with Holy Trinity.

In his prayer, the trinitarian God is not a God about Who you talk to others, but with Who you are talking, to Which you adress through the prism of love that links you to Him.

Having the experience of the fact that „the divine light of Trinity is in all” [1] that are in existence, Symeon feels a direct relation with God through the sight of His glory.

In 11, 36-38, He presents Christ as One who opens the heaven and bends/ inclins toward him, together with the Father and the Ghost.

Holy Trinity is known by him as „Fwti. tw/| trisagi.w/|”  (threefold-holy Light)[2], because it is „e;n o;n evn toi/j Trisi. kai. e`n e`ni ta. Tri,a” (one in Three and Three are in one)[3].

The verb paraku,ptw used at 11, 37, with the acceptation to look out/ in outside[4], defines the ecstasy as an act of mercy of the Trinity to the faithful, descenting to him, looking at him.

The Trinity, continues Symeon, is the one Light „that lights my soul more than the sun and shines my mind that is dark”[5].

In the first line, the divine light overwhelms the mind one who sees (right for that it is stronger than the visible sun) but the brightnesses of it illuminates the mind, purifies it. And this cleansing of the dark passions can not be made by the rays of the heavenly star, but only by the divine light ecstatic seen.

Symon emphasizes in this context the reality of the sight of the divine light and its spiritual character, overwhelming and paradoxical in the same time, that to be an initiator in the knowledge of the Trinity.

Thus, „in light of the Ghost concerning those who see, and those who look see in it the Son, and the worthy to see the Son looks the Father [acc. Jn. 14, 9] and who looks to the Father, who contemplates the Father together with the Son”[6].

In outside of the divine light, with other words, we do not know in clear mode, from experience, but only from books, about the eternal communion, interpersonal, of the trinitarian persons, about the being unity of the Trinity and about His the ever-being light that sanctifies us.

The sight of the Trinity’s glory is what brings the true knowledge of God and puts us in an abyssal, paradoxical relation with our God.

Just therefore at tranei/ qewri,a| (the limpid/ clear contemplation)[7] reaches few, for that this contemplation is given to the Son, Who is more-before-of-all-ages with the Father and the Ghost[8].

In the Hymn 15, Symeon specifies the fact, that those receiving the light from the Son are believers and they are not from outside the Church: „Your glory, [the glory] the divine Divinity only believers (pistoi.) see it, while all unbelievers (a;pistoi) seeing You remain blind, the Light of the world!”[9].

The faith in the Trinity is what helps us not to be blinded by too overwhelming evidence of the divine glory. Christ, says Symeon, ever shines on those who see Him[10].

But the scope of the divine sight is not that to take us out of the world and to separate us from the world – as and how the world would be an evil or would the devil work –  but to live in paradoxical mode, both in the world and above the world and the our senses, our relation with Trinity through the sight of His glory.

The Trinity’s light raises us to the divine sight, which is beyond of those felt (tw/n aivsqhtw/n) and of those seen (tw/n o`rwme,nwn) in this world, for that we want to be, always, enlightened by His light and we want to make immortal (avqana,touj) from mortals and gods (qeoi.) who see God[11].

[1] SC 156, Hymns, I, 226, p. 174 / Ică jr. 3, p. 57.

[2] Idem, Hymns, XI, 38, p. 234 / Idem, p. 77.

[3] Idem, Hymns, XI, 39, p. 234 / Ibidem.

[4] Both recent romanian translations of the Hymns translate paraku,ptonta, from SC 156, Hymns, XI, 37, p. 234, wiht: „They bend/ inclin [towards him]”, acc. Ică jr. 3, p. 77 şi Hymns, ed. Stăniloae, p. 361.

[5] SC 156, Hymns, XI, 41-42, p. 234 / Ică jr. 3, p. 77.

[6] Idem, Hymns, XI, 50-53, p. 236 / Ibidem.

[7] Idem, Hymns, XII, 15, p. 244 / Idem, p. 79.

[8] Idem, Hymns, XII, 15-17, p. 244  / Ibidem.

[9] Idem, Hymns, XV, 88-90, p. 284 / Idem, 92.

[10] Idem, Hymns, XV, 96, p. 284 / Ibidem.

[11] Idem, Hymns, XV, 103-108, p. 284-286 / Idem, p. 92-93.

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