The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [28]

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.

Our greek font.


Conscious, the consciousness graceful relation of the believer with God is the foundation of deification.

If we live the Godhead’s brightness in the purity of our soul, says Simeon, then this lampa,j, the divine brightness is „knowledge of the divine and heavenly things (h` gnw/sij tw/n qei,wn kai. ouvrani,wn pragma,twn) given by the Holy Ghost to that who is israelite with the mind”[1], namely seer of God.

The sight of the light is what procures us the spiritual knowledge[2]. Saint Symeon repeats often this thing.

How he repeats, also, and the fact, that only through cogitation on the divine meanings, through full asceticism, spiritual readings and tears we cleanse our soul, for that to receive the divine light[3].

The dynamism of faith is the principal premise of the spiritual life at Saint Symeon. Faith alive or what makes us to be alive for God is the sensation of grace in us and the sight of His glory.

Speaking about the faith, that manifests itself as a fulfillment of God’s commandments, Symeon states that Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers have gained, by such a faith filled with an overwhelming dynamism, „the love of God into the knowledge” (th/j tou/ Qeou/ avga,phj evn gnw,sei)[4] and „the knowledge of God in love” (evn avga,ph| gnw/sin Qeou/)[5].

We stressed the last two citations by the greek text for to clarify and better the fact, that Symeon called the grace right the divine love and presents it, in the Hymn 18, into a majesticness full of enthusiasm, full of divine fervor.

In this Hymn, Symeon shows that the ecstasy is determinant for our cleaning from passions, for that the light seen ecstatic „is shown for little time and it is contracting/ it withdraws, but erases one, just one between the passions of the heart (tw/n paqw/n th/j kardi,aj).

For man can not overcomes the passions, if it did not come in aid and, moreover, it does not chase away all at once.

For the psychical man (o` a;nqrwpoj o` yuciko.j) may not receive all at once the Ghost entire and to become unpassioned (avpaqh.j), but then when he accomplished all those found in his power (ta. eivj du,namin)”[6].

The presence of the Holy Ghost in the believer’s life is an active presence, cleansing, deifying, of which he is conscious[7].

His humbleness consists in the fact, that he feels himself a dwelling of the Trinity’s grace but, in the same time, he is conscious of his defaults, at the fact that he is not always at the measure to delight the Holy Ghost, Who dwells into him.

The union with God, about that speaks Symeon, is a real one, it is an experience lived in overwhelming mode of the believer.

Then when we have an ecstatic sight, „man unites spiritually and physically (e`nou/tai pneumatikw/j te kai. swmatikw/j) with God, because the soul does not separate from the mind, nor the body from the soul, but by a union in the beingly face (ouvsiwdw/j e`nw,sei), man makes himself threehypostatic by grace, a god by adoption (qe,sei qeo,j), made from body, soul and divine Ghost of which he imparts (metei,lhfe)”[8].


We constate therefore, that the ecstatic sight is not at Symeon a collateral theological subject but, on the contrary, it is the foundation of our deification.

The ecstatic sight is lived by the soul in inseparable mode from his own body and the fully man, the whole man is the one in which the Holy Ghost dominates in his being.

Faith alive, full of grace the Ghost is the true faith, because God speaks to His true children, those who are alive for that they stand in the graceful relation with the Living One.

Those who see through the Ghost the Trinity’s glory and feel in they the grace as an alive source of eternal life, they are  believers that must go full of longing towards the permanent dwelling in them of the divine light.

The symeonian theology does not know a spiritual life in which relaxation has a positive side but, on the contrary, continuing desire to more, towards more sight of the light and of understanding of it mysteries, represents the true orthodox-christian interiority.

For that, in the frame of the spiritual experience, after how says Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, „man has the perspective of an eternal advance in the divine light and in his spiritual enrichment[9].

[1] SC 129, The Ethical Discourses, XIV, 184-187, p. 434 / Ică jr. 1, p. 396.

[2] About the theme of the divine sight, that brings us the spiritual knowledge, to see and Ică jr. 1, p 81, p. 82, p. 91, p. 92, p. 100, p. 154; p. 163; p. 255 etc.

[3] SC 129, The Ethical Discourses, XII, 182-184, p. 396 / Ică jr. 1, p. 379. About asceticism as a preamble of sight to see and Ică jr. 1, p. 84; p. 85***, p. 100; p. 204-205; p. 305; p. 338.

[4] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, XV, 156, p. 454 / Idem, p. 405.

[5] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, XV, 158, p. 454 / Ibidem.

[6] SC 174, Hymns, XVIII, 50-57, p. 78 / Ică jr. 3, p. 112.

[7] Father Dușe said, into an article of his dedicated to Saint Symeon: „The deification is a permanent process of ontological transformation, but without that the faithful man to lose his created nature…for that the possibility of union [with God] is given by the status of person of human”, acc. Rev. PhD. Călin-Ioan Duşe, The Deification after Saint Symeon the New Theologian [Îndumnezeirea după Sfântul Simeon Noul Teolog] in rev. Theological Horizons, I (2000), no. 2, p. 117, 124.

And P. Miguel said, into an article about grace at Saint Symeon, that „the sin is solely responsible, after Symeon, for the lack of spiritual experience: the habitation of the Holy Ghost in us can not be but conscious”, acc. P. Miguel, The Consciousness of the Grace after Symeon the New Theologian [La conscience de la grâce selon Siméon le nouveau Théologien], en Irénikon XLII (1969), no. 3, p. 325.

[8] SC 104, The Catechesises, XV, 72-77, p. 288 / Ică jr. 2, p. 186.

About the full man, spiritual, can not be without the Holy Ghost, to see and Ică jr. 1, p. 337**.

[9] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, The Personal Relation with Christ in the Light of Divine Infinity, after Saint Symeon the New Theologian [Legătura personală cu Hristos în lumina infinităţii dumnezeieşti, după Sfântul Simeon Noul Teolog], in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology Studies [Studii de teologie dogmatică ortodoxă], Ed. Metropolitan of Oltenia, Craiova, 1990, p. 316.

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