The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [34]

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, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33.

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2. 4. 2. 3. The Ecstatic Confession and the Validation Comment

In the Ethical Discourse 5, we have a symeonian typical muster of the trenchant testimony of the personal spiritual experience, doubled by a rigorous theological validation, which has no defect of logic or of the hook at mystical Tradition of the Church.

In 5, 251-354[1], Saint Symeon makes a fulminant apology to the divine sight and to the direct theological experience, presenting theology as a consequence of the ecstatic sight.

Symeon begins the experiential explanations, which we wish to comment here, from the traditional syntagma: „the light of knowledge”(fw/j gnw,sewj) [251 line].

He tells his audience, that at the hearing of this syntagma, we must not to understand that we can have a real theological knowledge without the sight of the divine light [251-253 lines].

Not the knowledge is what that produces the light, warns Symeon, but „the light produces in us the knowledge” [254-255 lines].

The gnw/sij/ gnosis/ knowledge or cognizance (thus how we translate, taking as paradigm the liturgic usance) does not have at Symeon than the ecstatic foundation.

The ecstatic knowledge is for him the true knowledge, beingly knowledge, ontological, in that we are fingerprinted by the glory of God.

The knowledge by collecting data, the knowledge as multilateral experience is subsumed for him the knowledge that sight. The one that gives the tone in his relation with his listeners or his hierarchical superiors is the ecstatic experience, that being the promoter of law of his theology.

Without the ecstatic sight we can not know, in real mode,  God. Symeon repeats this thing by every time, he massive making angry those who had no idea about a such experience.

In the text to which we refer, he says: „someone can not know God than only by the sight of the light (mh. dia. th/j qewri,aj) that gushes from Him” [255-257 lines].

Having said that, Symeon emphasized his relation with a living God, with a God who is not an antiquity of the Church, well preserved by its theologians or an impeccable fake, that is covered with eulogies, for as not to know the nonactualness and His inoperability.

Symeon gives testimony about an overwhelming experience of the reality of the Creator of the heaven and of the earth, and he asserts the fact that, his relation with God is one as possible common, quotidian and in no case a relation occasioned just by any celebration or tradition or by his position as priest of the Church.

The God whereof speaks Symeon is living, He is single God and He irradiates us with His glory, that brings us His knowledge.

Bringing in face of his auditorium the paradigm of the witness, the one who can give a testimony about a man or a city only if he saw these [257-262 lines], Symeon concludes: „(also none can not speak) about the above Jerusalem and about the invisible God, Who dwells in it, about the unapproachable glory of His face and about the work and the power of His Most Holy Ghost, so about the light, if he first sees not the light with the eyes of his soul and (if he not) know with exactness the lightings and its works in he himself ”[263-269 lines].

The symeonian syllogism is irrefutable at practical level and contemplative.

You can know and speak about something, only if you have experience that fact. We can not know what we do not know nowise.

[1] Acc. SC 129, The Ethical Discourses,V, 251-354, p. 98-106 / Ică jr. 1, p. 255-258.

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