The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [77]

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, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76.


In the Hymn 30 Symeon retakes the distinction between the union with Christ through the ecstatic sight of His glory and the union with Christ through the ghostual impartation of Body and His eucharistic Blood:

„This thought union [noeran enosin], [the ecstatic], I already said it in different mode and manifold and the felt union I say that is one of the Mysteries. For cleansed through repentance and through flowings of tears, imparting me by a body deified as God, become through this unspeakable union and I god. […]

 [After how] the body and the soul…are one in two beings, through following, these which are one and two, imparting of Christ and drinking His Blood, uniting through both beings and natures with my God, become and they gods through impartation and are called with the same name, with the name of Who of which imparted in beingly face [usiodos meteshon]”[1].

Symeon can speak with power about the reality of deification, for that this is a personal reality for his Holiness.

It was not an abuse of daring for Symeon and not a grandomania, the fact of to talk about his relation with Christ, as long as this relation is real one or must be thus for all the baptized in Christ.

Symeon does not put the monopoly on a genus of unwonted experience, to which can accede only some of us, but for our Father the union with Christ and the sanctification through Him is a personal characteristic of any orthodox christian in part.

Symeon speaks decent about things which should be quotidian for all and being quotidian,  would be our true subject of discussion, pressing and our all-inclusive subject of discussion.

But for that does not stay the things even so good in Church, Symeon speaks, through the Ghost, and reproves the human ambitions and the human daring of any member of it, but, especially, of clergy, saying to the bishops, which were not experiencing the glory of Trinity and, of otherwise, to the whole clergy, that „remain you unknown My frightening and divine Mysteries, [you, those] who fancied that you hold a bread, which is, of fact, Fire, which despides Me as on a simple bread and seem you that you see and eat just a eating not having My unseen glory”[2].

From this passage is observed, that Symeon  not only that identifies the content of ecstasy with the eucharistic impartation with worthiness, but he asks from those who impart to seize, to fell the grace and to see the light of God.  

Is evident the effort of our Father of conscientizing the abyss of ignorance from the mind of those, which, then and now, they believe that imparting us means to eat something, on Christ, but does not feel any remarkable transformation in our life.

Symeon says unconscious and non-experimental, that unintimation of the Ghost cancels all their ecclesial effort and shows them dead members, ruptured from the trunk of Christ’s Church, even if they, from formal point of view, are inside of Church.

The ecclesial eucharistic experience is a personal event with capital followings, as and the Baptism and the Chrismation, and any elusion of discussion about the feeling of grace in the frame of committing of Holy Mysteries means, of fact, an annulment of the personal soteriology.

This thing he repeats in the Epistle 4, where Symeon says to his apprentice, that the one „does not know in the feeling and the knowledge of soul, that he remains in God and God in him, that one, with safety, did not impart in worthy face with the Mostclean Mysteries.

For how is with possibility as that one, which is united with God not to know this, out if he is not very callous? And if the one who eats the Body and drinks the Blood of Christ has eternal life and at judgment will not come, but has moved from death at life, [then] is evident, that the one who does not know that he has eternal life and he did not pass from death at life, as the one who passes from a darkish room into a luminous one and brilliant, one like this did not know the mystery of God’s iconomy, nor was delighted of eternal life”[3].


The eucharistic experience, in conclusion, does not mean a scriptic taking at acquaintance about what happens then when impart you, but consists in the understanding of what is spend with us in the act of sacramental union with the Lord.

The real union with Christ God means to feel His divinity in us, His glory, to deifying permanent and to be conscious of the gradual deification, daily of our being.

Saint Symeon accentuates in his eucharistic theology the identity of experience between the ecstatic sight and the eucharistic impartation, at which we are called in corpore and which represents the real manifestation of the ecclesiality of our life.

To be in the Church, tells us he, means to live through all pores of our being the wonder of our deification, ie our full raccordation at the life of the Trinity.

[1] SC 174, Hymns, XXX, 463-472, 474-487, p. 372-374 / Ică jr. 3, p. 188-189.

[2] SC 196, Hymns, LVIII, 92-96, p. 284-286 / Idem, p. 292-293.

[3] Epistles, IV, apud Ică jr. 3, p. 352-353.

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