The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [29]

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.

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2. 4. 2. The Personal Ecstatic Testimonies and their Validation 

Undoubtedly, we can not venture to pronounce, in trenchant mode, on those about the theology of glory without to have ever the experience of the sight of the divine light.

It would be the one between the things of the most embarrassing with possible and a muster of cheap vedettism from our part, to trample a domain so holy and shattering for any humble christian.

Therefore, the symeonian testimonies about his ecstasies, in our opinion, take account the most important thing in the frame of the theology of glory and namely the real understanding, authentic, about how we must deify our whole being.

His ecstatic confessions are not gratuitous, they do not have a stressful morgue, they do not stiff exhibitions of private experiences, but, on the contrary, they are generated by holy conscience, that these ecstatic experiences will be enlightening for those who will listen and read later.

Saint Symeon speaks about of his own sights and of his proper holiness driven by the divine grace, that incited him to speak, to give confidence to those who are cleansed of passions and, especially, to show them that holiness is a reality shockingly beautiful and not a trite story, that happened or not in foretime.

Speaking about the sight of God, Symeon wants to be authentic and less didactic, strongly emphasizing the identity of his ecstatic experience with the ecstatic experience of all previous Saints, without that through this emphasis in force to consider him worthy of God’s mercifulness, which it showed that the sight of His glory.

His confessions are full of humbleness, contentedness, gratitude and a truth conquering.

They are extensive guarantees for a theology of the glory wholly orthodox, because they have „the force an personal unmediated experience”[1].

Thus, in the following sequences of this subchapter, we will punctual excogitate various ecstatic symeonian testimonies, we try to present a clear analysis, internal, in proper terms[2], of theology of glory.


2. 4. 2. 1. The First Ecstasy of Saint Symeon

Without to enter into an exegetics-historicist perspective[3], our research, theological and linguistic in the same time, of the symeonian confessions, leaves from the premise of the indeterminacy of the number of ecstatic experiences, that Saint Symeon had. 

According to a theological consensus statuted at Life, 5, Catechesis 22 is designated as the first ecstatic symeonian confession that we have.

The ecstatic relating is comprised between 88-103 lines[4], being concise and presented, by humbleness, under the name of the young George, who lived in Constantinople and had almost 20 years[5].

The symeonian ecstatic confession is contextualized. It appears as a emphasis of God’s oeconomy with those who fulfill with zeal His will.

Young George, alias Symeon, appears as standing in prayer and saying the prayer of heart, of repentance: „The God, have mercy on me, the sinner!” (88-89 lines).

His desire was the commiseration from part of God, the forgiveness, the discharged from the passions of his being and not the sight of the divine light.

The sight comes as a divine surprise in his life.

Symeon states a single thing regarding the prayer of George: the fact that it was made more with mind than with the mouth (89-90 lines).

Our young man was into a state of mental’s prayer, into a cry of his mind to God. Were preponderating the mind and the heart, the interior effort in front of God and not the articulated words.

The specification of this fact is very important, because the sight comes into a state of interior concentration, of repentance, the interior perception of the light.

The light comes in the time of his prayer, when he was ready to receive it and without any notice from God.

When Symeon begins the relating of the ecstasy of George, he begins abruptly, talking about an e[llamyij qei,a [divine brightness], that comes ai;fnhj, in unexpected mode, that appears suddenly in his being and it shines, being shown coming from above (evpe,fanen a;nwqen) [90 line].

Symeon does not explain to the auditorium the terms communiqued by him. It is presupposed that they had to know what means that divine brightness.

[1] Rev. Prof. John A. McGuckin, The Biblical and Theological Paradigms of the Sight of the Divine Light to Saint Symeon the New Theologian [Paradigmele biblice şi teologice ale vederii luminii dumnezeieşti la Sfântul Simeon Noul Teolog], in Ică jr. 4, p. 420.

[2] Father McGuckin finish his study cited in note above, dedicated the theology of glory at Saint Symeon, with the express desire to continue the internal exegesis of the symeonian ecstasies.

He said: „With all the literary, historical and theological complexities of it, this important collection of epiphany stories, deserves and requires an analysis fuller and more rigorous in their proper terms”, acc. Idem, p. 422.

[3] We believe that the historical perspective of Father McGuckin, with the sight I in 969 [acc. Idem, p. 407] and the sight II in 976 [acc. Idem, p. 410] is interesting, possibly credible, but we tend to believe that we must to punt more on the undated sights, according his expression [acc. Idem, p. 417], namely the current sights in the life of Saint Symeon, of which he confessed the ones he wanted or made ​​a synthesis of them, intended to present the sight as a divine reality in his life.

We do not believe that our Father wanted to make a systematization, a hierarchy, a chronology of his ecstasies, designed to give us a historical perspective on the frequency and the number of them.

We agree that he speaks about a first ecstasy, about how was at the beginning of his ecstatic life. But, then, the things are complicated. We do not know clearly about what ecstasies he speaks, but it is evident that he speaks about realities personal lived.

We tend to give right to Father Golitzin, when he affirms, that „we can not specify the exact number of occasions in which Symeon was visited by the appearing of the divine light. His writings and Life of Niketas suggests that this thing was quite frequently, although it varied in intensity”, acc. Hierom. Alexander Golitzin, Symeon the New Theologian: Life, Epoch, Thinking, in Ică jr. 1, p. 466.

But, both, Father Golitzin [acc. art. cit., p. 466] and Father McGuckin [acc. art. cit., p. 407], designates right the first epiphany relating Catechesis 22, that, the first sees it repeated by Niketas in Life, 5 [acc. Idem, p. 467] and, the second sees it retaked in Catechesises 35 and 36 [acc. Idem, p. 408-409].

Therefore and we will discuss this epiphany relating of Catechesis 22 as the first ecstatic symeonian experience, after how confesses and Saint Niketas [Stethatos] in Life, 5, acc. OC [Orientalia Christiana] 12, V, 1-8, p. 8/ ed. Iliescu, p. 18 and Life, ed. Koutsas, apud. Ică jr. 4, p. 247.

[4] Acc. SC 104, The Catechesises, XXII, 88-103, p. 372 / Ică jr. 2, p. 242.

[5] Idem, The Catechesises, XXII, 22-23, p. 366 / Idem, p. 239.

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